CACOVID Explains Why Distribution Of COVID-19 Palliatives Was Delayed, Urges Citizens To Stop Looting

Some residents with palliatives looted from a warehouse in Gwagwalada, Abuja on Monday, October 27, 2020.

 

The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has explained why the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives was delayed in some states.

The private sector-led organisation in reaction to the looting of COVID-19 palliatives from warehouses across Nigeria called for calm and revealed that most of the state governments did not receive complete delivery of items allotted to them early enough.

CACOVID explained that as at the time they embarked on the palliatives effort in April, they decided to procure the food directly from the manufacturers, to avoid a distortion of prices in the market.

They added that the food package was designed such that each of the nearly two million vulnerable families received: 10kg bag of rice, 5kg bag of garri/maize flour/semolina, 1 carton of pasta, 2 cartons of noodles, 5kg of sugar and 1kg of salt.

“Unfortunately, the very large size of the order, and the production cycle required to meet the demand, caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence the resulting delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.

“For instance, rice had to be milled, semolina and maize flour had to be processed, noodles and pasta had to be manufactured, and sugar had to be refined.

“As such, the first deliveries could not start until June. However, as of October 2020, a sizeable portion of the items had been delivered but yet to be distributed by the governors. Although various states and the FCT had commenced flag-off of the distribution of the food items since early August, some could not conclude the distribution as they were yet to receive complete deliveries of the items allotted to them,” the statement issued on Monday on behalf of CACOVID by Central Bank of Nigeria’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi explained.

The group said further that although various states and the FCT had commenced flag-off of the distribution of the food items since early August, some could not conclude the distribution as they were yet to receive complete deliveries of the items allotted to them.

“In the interest of transparency and accountability, CACOVID will, in due course, be providing the full delivery schedule and flag-off dates by each state,” Nwanisobi said further.

“Given that the states and local government authorities oversee all relief efforts in their jurisdictions and know their citizens best, we had worked with each governor and the Minister of the FCT, utilising a combination of our protocols and their existing structures and processes to ensure food items reach the intended beneficiaries. We also appointed an independent monitoring team to ensure that the items would be delivered as intended,” the group said.

The group noted that not every warehouse in Nigeria that contains palliatives is affiliated to the CACOVID donation, given that the states, the federal government, and other organisations also made donations.

FIFA Chief Infantino Tests Positive For COVID-19

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup. RHONA WISE / AFP.
FILE PHOTO: FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has contracted coronavirus, the world’s governing body announced on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old has mild symptoms and will remain in isolation for a further 10 days.

“All people who came into contact with the FIFA President during the last few days have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps,” the body said.

“FIFA sincerely wishes President Infantino a speedy recovery,” it added.

Infantino’s last public appearances was at FIFA’s Compliance Summit which ended on October 16 when all attendees were present via video.

Cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the body’s base, Switzerland, have doubled from one week to the next throughout October.

The country’s government is expected to decide Wednesday on new measures to control the spread of the virus.

The spread of the illness has cast doubt over Wednesday’s potential meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League after the Juventus attacker tested positive for the illness earlier this month.

AFP

France Braces For Tougher Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Soar

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (C), flanked by French Health Minister Olivier Veran (L), speaks to medical staff during a visit to Marseille, southern France, on October 24, 2020.  AFP

 

France could announce tougher measures later this week to bring the coronavirus under control after the number of daily cases topped 50,000 for the first time, government sources suggested on Monday.

President Emmanuel Macron will gather his top ministers Tuesday to review efforts to curtail the outbreak, his office said.

Prime minister, Jean Castex, will then hold talks with political chiefs and labour union officials before ministers gather for another meeting with Macron on Wednesday.

The meetings will focus on “the tougher measures under consideration to manage the health crisis,” an official in Castex’s office told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Macron has also called off a visit to a nuclear power plant in eastern France on Wednesday because of the spiralling number of Covid-19 cases, his office said.

Tighter restrictions announced in several European countries have fuelled speculation that France will also have to clamp down further on an outbreak that is again filling hospitals to the brim.

On October 17, a nighttime curfew came into effect for Paris and several other cities where virus cases are soaring, affecting some 46 million people, and bars nationwide have been ordered to close.

The government has said it wants to avoid another outright lockdown like the one imposed for two months last spring when intensive care units were overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

Yet the exponential rise in new cases could force authorities to take more drastic action to ensure social distancing, the head of the government’s medical advisory panel said Monday.

“We knew that we would have this second wave, but we are surprised at the severity of what we’ve seen over the past 10 days,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy told RTL radio.

He said there were two options for getting the new outbreak under control — make the curfew come into effect before the current time of 9:00 pm and extend its reach, or else impose a lockdown but allow schools to remain open.

“This second wave will probably be worse than the first one,” Delfraissy said, adding that “many of our fellow citizens don’t yet realise what’s coming.”

On Sunday, the national health agency said 17 per cent of people being tested for the virus are now positive, up from 4.5 per cent in early September.

It said 52,010 Covid-19 cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours, and 116 deaths, bringing the total to 34,761 since the start of the outbreak.

AFP

COVID-19: ‘We Cannot Give Up,’ Says WHO Chief

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference following a WHO Emergency committee to discuss whether the Coronavirus, the SARS-like virus, outbreak that began in China constitutes an international health emergency, on January 30, 2020 in Geneva. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference in Geneva. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

The World Health Organization chief insisted Monday that it was still possible to rein in Covid-19 even in places with surging outbreaks, warning against giving up the fight.

“We must not give up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

He acknowledged that after months of battling the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives globally, a certain level of “pandemic fatigue” had set in.

“It’s tough and the fatigue is real,” Tedros said.

But we cannot give up,” he added, urging leaders to “balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods”.

“When leaders act quickly, the virus can be suppressed,” he insisted.

His comment came a day after US President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN that the administration’s focus had moved to mitigation, not stamping out the virus.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations,” Meadows said, comparing the more deadly Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.

Tedros said that giving up on virus controls was “dangerous.”

When asked about the comments, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan insisted that while mitigation of the effects of the pandemic were vital, efforts to beat the virus could not be abandoned.

“We should not give up on trying to suppress transmission,” he said.

AFP

Melbourne Lifts Lockdown After Zero New COVID-19 Cases

A woman prays on St Kilda Beach in Melbourne on October 26, 2020, as Australian health officials reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths in Victoria state, which has spent months under onerous restrictions after becoming the epicentre of the country’s second wave.
William WEST / AFP

 

Australia’s second-biggest city will this week exit its coronavirus lockdown following nearly four months under onerous restrictions, authorities announced Monday, after no new daily cases or deaths were recorded.

Stay-at-home orders for Melbourne’s five million residents will be lifted from midnight Tuesday into Wednesday while restaurants, beauty salons, and retail stores will be permitted to throw open their doors.

Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state recorded the first 24-hour period without any new Covid-19 cases since June 8 — before security bungles at quarantine hotels housing returned international travelers sparked a major outbreak in July.

Announcing the much-anticipated relaxing of restrictions, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews’ voice cracked as he declared it an “emotional day”.

“This has been a very difficult year. And Victorians have given a lot and I’m proud of every single one of them,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Asked if ale-loving Victorians could now “get on the beers”, Andrews said he “might go a little higher up the shelf”.

Jubilant social media users declared the return to zero cases and deaths “Donut Day”, with the hashtag trending as Twitter users posted selfies with the sweet treats in celebration.

Melbourne in the summer became the epicentre of the country’s second coronavirus wave, with new daily cases rising above 700 in August when the rest of Australia was already rolling back restrictions.

Some curbs were already lifted last week, allowing haircuts and golf games to return, but further easing planned for Sunday was delayed by 24 hours to assess thousands of test results after a small outbreak in the city’s north.

Andrews said all the tests had returned negative.

“It was worth waiting to be absolutely confident to be sure that our team had their arms around those positive cases and fundamental control of the outbreak — and that is exactly what these numbers show us,” he said.

Pressure had been mounting for weeks on state authorities to allow the city more freedoms, with a litany of rules remaining in place as they took a cautious approach to reopen despite the falling number of cases.

The rest of Victoria state is already enjoying fewer restrictions, with gyms set to reopen and outdoor live music to resume from Tuesday.

Restrictions on travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be lifted from November 8, with a 25-kilometre (15-mile) travel radius for city residents also set to be removed the same day.

The state remains cut off from the rest of Australia, where regional authorities have largely taken a hyper-vigilant response to Covid-19 such as maintaining internal border restrictions.

Those measures have attracted criticism from some quarters.

On Sunday, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison took a partisan swipe at Andrews’ centre-left government, claiming Victoria’s restrictions had caused “1,000 job losses per day”.

Overall, Australia has been relatively successful in containing the spread of the coronavirus, with about 27,500 cases and 905 deaths in a population of 25 million.

The country also maintains strict controls on its international borders to prevent transmission of the virus from overseas, which has left tens of thousands of its own citizens stranded abroad.

Authorities now hope to remove internal travel restrictions, bring more Australians home from overseas, and create “travel bubbles” with other countries that have curbed the virus — all while continuing to maintain low case numbers.

-AFP

Ronaldinho Tests Positive For COVID-19

FILES) In this file photo taken on August 25, 2020 Former football star Ronaldinho (C) is pictured upon arriving on a private jet at El Galeao airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following more than five months in detention in Paraguay over a fake passport scandal. /AFP FILE PHOTO

 

Former Brazil playmaker Ronaldinho said on Sunday he had contracted coronavirus but had no symptoms.

The 40-year-old ex-Barcelona and AC Milan midfielder, who won the Champions League and World Cup in an illustrious career, will remain in isolation in a Belo Horizonte hotel.

“Hi friends, family, fans, I took a Covid-19 test and the result was positive, I’m doing well, I’m asymptomatic for now,” he said in a video posted on Instagram.

In August, Ronaldinho returned to Brazil following more than five months in detention in Paraguay over a fake passport scandal.

The former Ballon d’Or winner and his brother had both been held for a month in jail and another four months under house arrest in a hotel in Asuncion.

Brazil has registered more than 156,000 deaths from coronavirus, behind only the US in terms of fatalities.

-AFP

Top Aide To Pence Tests Positive For COVID-19

In this file photo taken on January 15, 2020 Chief of Staff to the Vice President Marc Short (L) is seen before the signing of a trade agreement between the US and China during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

US Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, a spokesman said, the latest in a list of figures connected to Donald Trump’s administration to do so.

Marc Short began quarantine and was assisting in the contract tracing process, Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement.

“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for Covid-19 today, and remain in good health,” he added.

Pence, who has been campaigning ahead of the November 3 election, will maintain his current schedule in consultation with White House doctors, said the spokesman.

A surge in Covid-19 cases led to the United States reaching a record number of daily infections for a second day running on Saturday, with nearly 89,000 new cases.

A list of people connected to the White House have contracted the virus, including President Trump, who was hospitalized before recovering.

Trump has downplayed the seriousness of the virus, calling for businesses to reopen so the economy can recover.

Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent in the upcoming polls, has repeatedly criticized Trump’s handling of the health crisis.

The virus has claimed more than 224,000 American lives.

AFP

Chile Surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 Cases On Eve Of Referendum

Doctor Moyra Lopez holds an iPad for a terminal patient to listen to a farewell message from his relatives, at the so-called ‘humanized farewell’ room at the Barros Luco Hospital, in Santiago, July 22, 2020. Martin BERNETTI / AFP

 

Chile’s coronavirus case total has now surpassed half a million, authorities said Saturday, as the country prepares to go to the polls for a referendum on whether to replace the Pinochet-era constitution.

“We have to act with much responsibility in this plebiscite,” health undersecretary Paula Daza told reporters as she delivered an update on the pandemic on the eve of the vote.

The health ministry registered 1,631 new infections and 48 deaths in the past 24 hours, meaning Chile has recorded 500,542 cases and nearly 14,000 deaths since March 3.

The situation has remained stable in recent months, though infections are increasing in rural areas in the south.

Authorities have introduced special health measures in voting stations to try to ensure public safety during Sunday’s referendum.

Tables, chairs and other furniture have been disinfected, and voting hours have been extended to give people more time to enter and leave polling centers and avoid overcrowding.

At the National Stadium in Santiago, which is expected to welcome around 300,000 voters, disinfection teams have been spraying the facilities with copper nanoparticles, which have proved effective in destroying the virus.

“This, the largest voting center in the country, is being sanitized to assure people that they can attend tomorrow without fear of getting infected,” said Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica.

Every voting table will be equipped with disinfectant gel, and staff at the centers will wear a mask, gloves and a face shield.

Voters must enter the center unaccompanied, and bring their own pen to mark their choice.

Chile is slowly emerging from more than seven months of lockdown, but borders and schools remain closed and night curfews remain in place.

AFP

Iran Hit By Record 337 Virus Deaths In Single Day

An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020. A plane carrying UN medical experts and aid touched down on March 2, 2020, in Iran on a mission to help it tackle the world’s second-deadliest outbreak of coronavirus as European powers said they would send further help. KOOSHA MAHSHID FALAHI / MIZAN NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

Iran on Monday announced 337 deaths from the novel coronavirus, a record high for a single day in the Middle East country hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Today we are facing a larger wave of this virus and we have to fight it,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised meeting with health officials.

Rouhani called on the health ministry to increase the number of daily Covid-19 tests, to help reduce the spread of infections.

The latest deaths brought to 30,712 the total number of fatalities since Iran reported its first coronavirus cases in February.

Iran’s previous record death toll for a day was 279 announced last Wednesday.

Iran said the total number of infections in the country reached 534,631 on Monday, with 4,251 people testing positive in the past 24 hours.

Deaths and infections from the virus have been on a rising trajectory in Iran and recorded several new highs since early September.

 

File photo: Iranian medical personnel, wearing protective gear, work at the quartine ward of a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020.  KOOSHA MAHSHID FALAHI / MIZAN NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

“One of the key solutions is identifying the infected as quickly as possible, isolating them as quickly as possible, and thus to reduce the need for hospitalisations and also reduce mortality,” Rouhani said.

“It’s not a problem if infections go up (due to increased testing), but it is important that the death rate does not.”

The virus figures were also likely to be higher than officially reported, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi acknowledged last week, primarily due to testing and reporting protocols.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said the latest spike in deaths was “unprecedented” and a result of poor compliance with health and mask protocols.

University student Ali Mohammadi agreed that the public were flouting health regulations ever since the economy gradually reopened.

“People are being less careful, whatever job they have. And they can’t really be blamed since the government has not helped them,” the 22-year-old told AFP.

“The main reason that numbers go up is that people either have to go to work and bring food to the table, or stay home and don’t contract the virus but die from hunger,” said a programmer named Sina Rouhani.

It is “like a saw stuck in a body. No way forward, no way back,” he added.

Iran is struggling with economic difficulties due to crippling sanctions reimposed by US President Donald Trump in 2018, after he unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

Earlier this month, Iran began imposing fines for the first time for breaches of health rules in the capital.

Tehran and four major cities were partially sealed off from last Thursday to midday Sunday in a bid to dissuade Iranians from travelling during holidays.

Authorities in the capital ordered the closure of most public places from October 3.

AFP

Enforce Quarantine To Crush Pandemic, Says WHO

A file photo of World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
A file photo of World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

 

Contacts of people confirmed to have coronavirus should be properly quarantined, the World Health Organization said on Monday, as the pandemic surges in Europe and North America.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan linked soaring transmission rates in the northern hemisphere to the failure to implement the vital step rigorously.

He said if he could have one wish, it would be to ensure “every contact of a confirmed case is in quarantine for the appropriate period”.

“I do not believe that has occurred systematically, anywhere,” he told a virtual press conference from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, saying it was “a good part of the reason why we’re seeing such high numbers”.

This picture taken on April 24, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva next to their headquarters, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
This picture taken on April 24, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva next to their headquarters, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Ryan said that about half of the 48 countries in the UN health agency’s European region had seen roughly 50 percent increases in cases within the past week — and hospitalisations and death rates were beginning to track those rises.

However, there was hope that deaths and serious cases would not reach the levels seen earlier this year.

Ryan said the average age of sufferers was now much younger, treatment had improved and those infected may have been exposed to lower doses of the virus because of physical distancing and mask wearing.

– ‘Breakneck speed’ –

The tally of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide passed 40 million on Monday, with more than 1.1 million deaths.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against people getting fed up with the pandemic and the measures imposed to control it.

“We’re in this for the long haul, but there is hope that if we make smart choices together, we can keep cases down,” he said.

“I know there is a fatigue but the virus has shown that when we let our guard down, it can surge back at breakneck speed and threaten hospitals and health systems.”

The WHO says 42 potential vaccines are now being tested on humans, of which 10 have reached the third and final stage.

A further 156 are being worked on in laboratories with a view to human testing.

Typically, only around one in 10 candidate drugs make it through the trials.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that while one or two trials may report data by the end of the year, most would start to do so in early 2021.

High-risk groups across all countries would get the first doses, probably in mid-2021, she said.

“There are some of the vaccines, certainly, that are showing promising results even amongst older people,” Swaminathan said, referring to drugs that have completed second-stage tests.

Meanwhile, the WHO teamed up with Kim Sledge from the US disco group Sister Sledge for a remake of their 1979 hit “We Are Family”, to stress the UN health agency’s call for global solidarity.

AFP

Coronavirus Survives On Skin Five Times Longer Than Flu – Study

In this file picture taken on March 26, 2020 a researcher works on the diagnosis of suspected coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. – Clinical trials in Brazil of a Chinese-made vaccine against COVID-19 have shown “promising” results, and a widespread vaccination campaign could begin as early as December, the governor of Sao Paulo state said on September 9, 2020. (Photo by Douglas MAGNO / AFP)

 

The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

“The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes Covid-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic,” it said.

The research team tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.

Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitisers.

“The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk,” the study said.

The study backs World Health Organization guidance for regular and thorough hand washing to limit transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people around the world since it first emerged in China late last year.

AFP

Nigeria Reports Record 4,253 COVID-19 Recoveries, 113 New Cases

A photo of beds at one of the isolation centres in Lagos. Photo: [email protected]

 

One hundred and thirteen new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Nigeria, as the nation reports a record figure of recovery.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in a late-night tweet on Saturday.

It noted that the new infections were reported from 13 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The latest data from the health agency reveal that Lagos has 37 more cases, the highest tally recorded in the day.

Kaduna, Ogun, Plateau, Taraba, and Rivers made up the top five states after Lagos, recording 16, 11, 11, eight, and seven more cases respectively.

Similarly, FCT has six, Enugu reported four, Niger has four, Edo got three, Delta and Imo recorded two each, while Benue and Kano have a case each.

 

The new cases have raised the total number of infections in the country to 61,307.

On the positive note, a record 4,253 number of recovered patients were discharged, although the death toll rose to 1,123 after four more casualties were reported.

While Nigeria now has 56,557 discharged cases, the NCDC explained that the newly recovered patients included 4,161 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with new case management guidelines.