‘I Need To Continue Working Hard’: Osimhen Pledges More After Sampdoria Brace

Osimhen is expected to lead Napoli’s push for the Serie A. Photo: Napoli website.

 

Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen says he is determined to do better following a stunning start to the season. 

The Nigerian scored a brace as Napoli outclassed Sampdoria 4-0 in a Serie A game on Thursday evening to take his goal tally in all competitions to five.

But Osimhen, who admitted the impact of the COVID-19 and injury on his performance last season, has expressed readiness to continue working hard for the remainder of the campaign.

“Last year I had COVID and then got a bad injury. I’m in good shape this season,” the 2015 U-17 World Cup winner told Napoli’s website, one week after he netted a brace against Leicester City in a Europa League game.

“I’m training consistently and I’m listening to the advice the coach gives me and the help I get from the team. I’m pleased with what I’m doing but I know I need to continue working hard. We all need to continue down this track.”

READ ALSO: Football Must Do More To Combat Racism Than The Take Knee – Lukaku

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure

‘Victor Is Doing Well’

File photo: Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (L) vies with Granada’s Spanish defender German Sanchez during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Granada FC and Napoli at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on February 18, 2021.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

On Thursday,  he opened the scoring chart in the 10th minute after beating  goalkeeper Emil Audero and completed his brace five minutes into the second half before Piotr Zielinski sealed the win for the Parthenopeans. 

Shortly after the match, an excited Osimhen singled out the club’s coach, Luciano Spalleti for praise following his impressive form this term.

“I’m really happy,” he added.  “It was important for me to start the season well and I want to thank the coach for his confidence in me. I’m honored to play for this club.”

Osimhen’s recent form, reminiscent of his start to life in Naples, has also caught Spalletti’s attention.

The Italian, 62, lauded the Nigerian’s technical abilities and commitment to doing more.

“Victor is doing well and working hard for every ball,” the coach said. “He finishes his chances very well. I think we did well to read the game, both when there were challenges and when there were more positive moments.”

Before the Sampdoria game, the 22-year-old was also on target as Napoli thrashed Udinese in another league match on Monday.

Osimhen began his Serie A career in the 2020/2021 season following a reported £45m switch from Ligue 1 side, Lille.

In the 2019/2020 campaign, his debut season in France, he netted 18 goals in 38 games.

 

 

 

Biden Says US Not Seeking ‘Cold War’ As He Vows To Lead

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as delivers remarks on the U.S. military’s ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on August 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Joe Biden (File Photo) Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Joe Biden told the world on Tuesday that the United States is not seeking a new Cold War with China as he vowed to pivot from post-9/11 conflicts and take a global leadership role on crises from climate to Covid.

Addressing the UN General Assembly for the first time as President, Biden promised to work to advance democracy and alliances, despite friction with Europe over France’s loss of a mega-contract.

The Biden administration has identified a rising and authoritarian China as the paramount challenge of the 21st century, but in his United Nations debut, he made clear he was not trying to sow divisions.

“We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” Biden said.

“The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to share challenges even if we have intense disagreement in other areas.”

Biden did not mention China by name, other than voicing alarm about human rights in Xinjiang, where experts say more than one million people from the Uyghur and other mostly Muslim populations are incarcerated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to address the General Assembly later Tuesday but by video in light of Covid-19 precautions.

Biden declared himself to be the first US president in 20 years not to be running a war after his controversial pullout of troops from Afghanistan, where the Taliban swiftly took over.

Instead, America is “opening a new era of relentless diplomacy” in which military power must be the “tool of last resort.”

“The mission must be clear and achievable, undertaken with informed consent of the American people and whenever possible in partnership with our allies,” Biden said from the UN rostrum where previous US presidents, notably including George W. Bush, have pushed for military action.

‘Recipe For Trouble’

Opening the General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of growing divisions between the United States and China and urged dialogue.

“I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence — and ultimately two different military and geopolitical strategies,” Guterres said.

“This is a recipe for trouble. It would be far less predictable than the Cold War.”

The UN General Assembly is meeting in person for the first time in two years but at limited capacity and with pandemic precautions.

The measures include replacing the microphone after each speaker — likely welcome news for the 78-year-old Biden who spoke after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who defied guidance only to attend if vaccinated.

Biden has called a virtual summit on Wednesday on defeating the pandemic and teased that he will announce “additional commitments.”

“We seek to advance the fight against Covid-19 and hold ourselves accountable around specific targets on three key challenges: saving lives now, vaccinating the world, and building back better,” Biden said.

He also said Washington would double financing on climate change — a key element in reaching an ambitious new accord in November at a UN conference in Glasgow as temperatures and severe weather rise dangerously.

The United Nations says there is a $20 billion shortfall in the $100 billion fund that developed countries promised to mobilize annually from 2020-2025 for helping poorer nations adapt to climate change.

Friction With Europe

Biden will end a busy diplomatic week with an unprecedented four-way summit at the White House with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan — the so-called “Quad” widely seen as a united front against China.

But Biden’s efforts to shore up alliances have faced one sudden and strong hurdle: France.

Paris recalled its ambassador to Washington in fury after Australia canceled a multibillion-dollar contract for French conventional submarines in favor of US nuclear versions as part of a new alliance announced with Washington and London.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said he will not meet one-on-one in New York with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and has described Biden’s diplomatic style as “brutality.”

The White House appears confident it can calm the spat, with Biden set to speak by telephone to French President Emmanuel Macron, who is not attending UNGA due to Covid precautions.

But German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who openly rejoiced in Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump, voiced solidarity with France and called the submarine decision “disappointing.”

“I was never under any illusion that we wouldn’t have problems with the new American president,” he told reporters.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, who is expected to address the assembly on Friday, is among about a hundred world leaders who attended the opening ceremony today.

COVID Jab Safe For Children Aged 5-11, Says Pfizer

This file photo taken on May 8, 2021, shows vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Paris, amid the campaign of vaccination against the coronavirus.

 

Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday said trial results showed their coronavirus vaccine was safe and produced a robust immune response in children aged five to 11, adding that they would seek regulatory approval shortly.

The vaccine would be administered at a lower dosage than for people over 12, they said.

“In participants five to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralising antibody responses,” US giant Pfizer and its German partner said in a joint statement.

They plan to submit their data to regulatory bodies in the European Union, the United States and around the world “as soon as possible”.

The trial results are the first of their kind for children under 12, with a Moderna trial for six-11 year olds still ongoing.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are already being administered to adolescents over 12 and adults in countries around the globe.

Although children are considered less at risk of severe Covid, there are concerns that the highly contagious Delta variant could lead to more serious cases.

Innoculating children is also seen as key to keeping schools open and helping end the pandemic.

“We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, noting that “since July, paediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the US”.

Kids in the 5-11 age trial group received a two-dose regimen of 10 microgrammes in the trial, compared with 30 microgrammes for older age groups, the companies said. The shots were given 21 days apart.

The 10 microgramme dose was “carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety, tolerability and immunogenicity” for that age group, the statement said.

– Under-5s before year-end –
The side effects were “generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age”, it added.

Among the most commonly reported side effects in the past have been pain and swelling at the injection site as well as headache, chills and fever.

Israel has already given special authorisation to vaccinate children aged 5-11 who are “at significant risk of serious illness or death” from Covid, using the Pfizer jab at the lower dosage.

Pfizer and BioNTech are also trialling their vaccine on infants aged six months to two years, and on children aged two to five.

The topline results for those trials are expected “as soon as” the fourth quarter of this year, the companies said.

All together, up to 4,500 children aged six months to 11 years have enrolled in the Pfizer-BioNTech trials in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain.

Like its Moderna rival, the Pfizer jab is based on novel mRNA technology that delivers genetic instructions to cells to build the coronavirus spike protein, in order to evoke antibodies when bodies encounter the real virus.

Rivers State Leads As Nigeria Records 460 Fresh COVID-19 Cases

PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Nigeria has recorded 460 fresh COVID-19 cases, with Rivers State topping the latest daily infection count.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed this in its report on Monday.

Cases recorded in 14 states across the country include – Rivers (164), Lagos (139), Edo (61), FCT (37), Bayelsa (20), Oyo (14), Plateau (7), Ogun (6), Anambra (4), Benue (4), Enugu (2), Cross River (1), and Kaduna (1).

The development now brings the total confirmed cases in the country to 191,805.

178,492 have, however, been discharged while 2,455 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

According to the NCDC, a multi-sectoral National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level (2), continues to coordinate the national response activities.

 

Confirmed Cases by State

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos72,5845,41966,561604
FCT20,57146019,936175
Rivers10,3331,2838,923127
Kaduna9,226249,13666
Plateau9,186729,05559
Oyo8,0966477,287162
Edo5,4023164,891195
Ogun5,2501735,00176
Kano4,044133,921110
Akwa Ibom3,9847423,20042
Ondo3,9683223,57571
Kwara3,5563873,11257
Delta2,9142832,55675
Osun2,691392,57379
Enugu2,558-22,53129
Nasarawa2,414302,34539
Gombe2,23942,19144
Katsina2,164292,10035
Anambra2,050631,96819
Ebonyi2,048132,00332
Abia1,79461,76424
Imo1,710221,65038
Bauchi1,55321,53417
Ekiti1,4473031,12915
Benue1,41701,39324
Borno1,34401,30638
Adamawa1,13661,09832
Taraba1,062271,01124
Bayelsa1,0499293027
Niger9663291420
Sokoto796276628
Jigawa5622552116
Yobe50124909
Cross River4761344221
Kebbi458943316
Zamfara25102438
Kogi5032

FG Receives 699,760 Doses Of Astrazeneca Vaccine

 

The Federal Government has received 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, donated by the UK government.

According to the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, the donation is part of the 80 million doses the country had pledged to support the COVID-19 fight.

“The UK was one of the first countries to back COVAX with £548m. We have consistently pushed for a global effort that helps every country receive the vaccine against COVID-19. I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive 699, 760 doses, donated by the UK, in their second batch of the vaccine through COVAX,” Atkinson said.

She called on citizens to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines and get herd immunity against the virus.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said the vaccines will be deployed immediately, with priority on those who already took the first jab.

Read Also: COVID-19 Vaccines: Next Step Of Response Will Depend On Health Workers – Ihekweazu

He also warned citizens against mixing vaccines.

Before deployment, the vaccines are expected to undergo revalidation by NAFDAC.

The Federal Government on Monday commenced the administration of new vaccines marking the start of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The second phase of the vaccination programme was breathed into life after the US donated over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The need for the rollout of the second batch of the vaccines has become crucial as Nigeria gradually returns to seeing a spike in infections.

Only about one per cent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, so far.

As of Monday, Nigeria recorded 584 new cases of COVID-19, with four deaths.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in its daily report.

Data for the day showed that Lagos maintained the highest number of infections (201), followed by Rivers with 149 cases and the Federal Capital Territory with 82 infections.

Other states with cases are Ondo (73), Ekiti (17), Cross River (13), Oyo (11), Ogun (9), Delta (8), Osun (8), Bayelsa (4), Kaduna (4), Kano (2), Kwara (2), and Sokoto (1).

Nigeria Threatens To Review Relationship With Indonesia After Assault On Diplomat

 

The Federal Government has threatened to review its relationship with Indonesia if it fails to bring the Indonesian immigration officials that assaulted a Nigerian diplomat to book.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this at a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

Nigeria has also summoned its ambassador to Indonesia to give a detailed account of the assault, which has sparked outrage after a video of it went viral.

“There was absolutely no justification whatsoever for this kind of behaviour against not only a Nigerian diplomat but any Nigerian at all. It was totally unacceptable,” the Minister said.

“What we’ve decided to do is to recall (for consultations immediately), our Nigerian ambassador in Jakarta in Indonesia and we will have full consultations at the highest level and decide what next steps to take including a review of our relations with Indonesia”.

Mr Onyeama’s briefing follows Monday’s statement by his Ministry condemning the assault.

In that statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria has apologised and that the immigration officials involved had also visited the Nigerian Embassy in Indonesia to apologise to the diplomat.

But Mr Onyeama told journalists in Abuja that the Federal Government wanted stronger action to be taken by the Indonesian Government.

The officials must be sanctioned, he said, adding that Indonesia’s failure to do so will have consequences for the relationship between both countries.

Shocking Assault

A video of the incident which went viral showed at least three men, identified later as immigration officials, in a vehicle assaulting the Nigerian diplomat and ignoring his screams of pain.

While two of the men held his hands and pinned him down in the backseat, another freely assaulted his unprotected head as he cried out in pain.


Watch the video below (Viewer discretion advised).

“The unfortunate incident is against international law and the Vienna Conventions governing Diplomatic and Consular Relations between states,” the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in its statement on Monday.

It also noted that the Ambassador of Indonesia to Nigeria who was summoned by the Foreign Affairs Minister had apologised.

“The Ambassador explained what he understood happened and apologised unreservedly on behalf of the Government of Indonesia. The Nigerian Government has sent an official protest to the Government of Indonesia,” the ministry said.

Biden Marks ‘Independence’ From COVID, But Pandemic Woes Persist

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden(not shown) make their way to board Air Force One before departing from New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware on July 4, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

President Joe Biden prepared to throw a huge Independence Day party Sunday to hail America’s defeat of Covid-19, amid lingering concern that pockets of the country with low vaccination rates remain in the grip of the pandemic.

The president and First Lady Jill Biden will welcome 1,000 military personnel and their families, plus essential workers, for the largest event at the White House since he took office.

A fireworks display that traditionally draws thousands to the National Mall — echoed by similar events across the country — will allow the president to mark what he is calling “independence from this virus.”

A White House official said in a statement the president would celebrate progress against the virus but note that the job is “far from over.”

“He will urge every American to join the fight — to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated — and reiterate his administration’s redoubled efforts to boost vaccinations,” the official added.

During last year’s holiday, with the pandemic near its summer peak and towns across America reeling from protests over racism and police brutality, Washington saw a fraction of the visitors it usually welcomes.

After leading the world in Covid deaths, however — more than 600,000 — the United States has emerged as a model for getting the coronavirus under control.

With hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 down 90 percent since January and the country largely reopened, the message from the South Lawn will be unmistakable: what a difference a year makes.

“We do have a lot to celebrate. We are much further along than I think anyone anticipated in this fight against the pandemic,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told ABC.

‘More Contagious’

But jubilation will be tempered by the White House falling just short of its much-promoted vaccination goal of getting seven in 10 adults their first shot by Independence Day.

Opponents of the White House event have voiced concern that images of nationwide partying could send the wrong message, with only 46 percent of Americans fully inoculated, and areas with low vaccination take-up awash with the highly contagious Delta variant.

Public health officials have highlighted swaths of rural America where hospitals are starting to fill up again, especially in Utah, Missouri, Arkansas and Wyoming.

Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, told NBC unvaccinated people now account for 99.2 percent of Covid-19 deaths.

The celebration will be another chance for Biden to talk up the country’s economic outlook as he walks a tightrope on his legislative priorities going into the summer.

Negotiations continue on a bipartisan infrastructure deal and fractious debate within his Democratic Party looms on a much broader spending package that has no support from Republicans.

The president visited a cherry farm in Michigan on Saturday to tout a positive June employment report hailed as a sign of America’s economic resurgence.

‘American Dream’

The administration has also sent cabinet secretaries and other officials to sports events, cookouts and festivals nationwide as part of its “America’s Back Together” celebration.

The White House — at least outwardly — continues to brim with confidence. Six in 10 respondents in a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News give Biden positive ratings for his handling of the pandemic.

Images of a crowded South Lawn will be reflected in scenes of celebration across the country, with New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and other cities all putting on their own shows.

On the west coast, San Diego was readying to stage one of the largest July 4 parties in the country, with fireworks discharged from four barges around the bay.

California Senator Alex Padilla called Independence Day “a reminder of the American dream.”

“The best way to celebrate Independence Day is by taking a moment to acknowledge all the hard work that it took to get here,” he said.

Netanyahu Eyes Vaccine Win As Israel Heads For Fourth Vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a visit to the COVID-19 vaccination facility in Jerusalem on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Marc Israel SELLEM / POOL / AFP)

 

When Israel this month holds its fourth election in less than two years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hope goodwill from a world-beating Covid vaccination campaign can finally secure him an elusive majority government.

The last time Israelis went to the polls just a year ago, they delivered a result that had already become familiar: neither the right-wing Netanyahu nor his centrist challenger Benny Gantz had enough support for a parliamentary majority.

The world, and Israeli politics, have since been upended by the pandemic. Just weeks after the last election, Israel entered the first of three coronavirus lockdowns.

In May, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving premier, and Gantz formed a unity government, declaring that the public health threat required political stability.

But their coalition, which had been set to last three years, collapsed in December when Netanyahu’s refusal to approve a 2021 budget forced new elections, to be held on March 23.

Netanyahu, a wily political veteran, is now hoping he can sneak over the line thanks to the inoculation drive.

The 71-year-old also hopes for a boost from having clinched historic normalisation deals with four Arab states — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — agreements he claims mark a new era in the Middle East.

But despite Netanyahu’s apparent successes, polls point to another indecisive result, with the premier so far lacking a clear path to form a government.

– ‘Vaccine nation’ –

Israel, a country of about nine million people, has given the two recommended jabs of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to around four million residents, an inoculation pace envied by many nations.

Netanyahu has been happy to take the credit for boldly reaching out early to drug-makers with approved vaccines.

“Do you know how many presidents and prime ministers call Pfizer and Moderna? They don’t answer. But when it’s me, they take the call,” he said days ago.

“I convinced them that Israel would be a model country to roll out the vaccine: who else will do that? Definitely not (Yair) Lapid, (Naftali) Bennett and Gideon (Saar),” he proclaimed, referring to his main election challengers.

Israel secured a large vaccine stock from Pfizer because its highly digitised medical system enabled it to offer the company fast, precious data on the product’s impact.

Netanyahu has repeatedly visited vaccination centres and adopted the phrase “Vaccine Nation”, a play on the “Start-up Nation” tag Israel acquired because of its burgeoning high-tech sector.

But some voters also blame Netanyahu for the painful lockdowns.

His political allies, ultra-Orthodox Jews, have flouted restrictions — often with a muted police response — fuelling transmission while many other citizens were following the rules.

– Right-wing pitch –

As the vaccine edges Israel out of the pandemic, its political landscape is shifting.

Gantz’s supporters punished him for entering a Netanyahu-led government and his fractured Blue and White party may not even get enough votes to qualify for parliament.

Netanyahu’s former partner, Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party, has emerged as his main challenger, polls show.

And a former prominent member of Netanyahu’s Likud, Gideon Saar, has formed his own party to run against the premier.

Seeking to make up any lost ground, Netanyahu has tried to appeal to Arab voters, despite having disparaged them in past campaigns and backing a 2018 law that downgraded Arabic’s status as an official language.

For all that has changed since the last election, a single question for voters has again dominated this year’s campaign: are you for Netanyahu or against him?

The electorate is “divided between those who want Netanyahu to continue to another term in office and those who hope to see him finally head home”, the head of the Israel Democracy Institute think-tank, Yohanan Plesner, told AFP.

Seeking to shore up his right-wing support in the campaign’s final days, Netanyahu on Sunday visited Kfar Etzion, a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Settlers, who live in communities widely regarded as illegal under international law, are also being courted by Netanyahu’s right-wing rivals, Saar and Bennett.

Netanyahu recalled visiting Kfar Etzion in its early days, some 50 years ago, and lauded the “wonderful pioneering activity” of his audience.

He warned voters that straying from Likud would be a “terrible mistake” that could produce a left-wing government.

“Vote Likud,” he told them. “We will create a strong, stable, right wing government.”

AFP

Denmark’s Primary School Children Return To Classes

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen welcomes pupils at Allerslev Skole in Lejre, on the island of Sealand, Denmark, on February 8, 2021, as primary school pupils are back in schools throughout the country. – Primary schools reopen in Denmark on February 8, 2021. (Photo by Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP)

 

Nearly 300,000 primary school pupils in Denmark returned to their classes on Monday after five weeks at home, a first step in relaxing the Nordic country’s strict virus curb measures.

This particular start of the new school year however comes with some sanitary caveats, such as no mixing of different classes to limit transmission.

Meals must be eaten in the classroom, but masks are not compulsory for students and teachers.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing my friends and my teacher again, and then I can’t wait to get rid of my family,” third grader Charlie Boll Ostergaard from Copenhagen told the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Denmark’s 5.8 million people have been under a strict partial lockdown regime since Christmas.

READ ALSO: French Health Minister Encourages Use Of AstraZeneca Jab

Non-essential shops, bars and restaurants, cultural venues, colleges, high schools and universities are closed and gatherings of more than five people are banned.

The country has seen a reduction in new cases recently, but many of the current restrictions will remain in place for the time being.

“Older students will be able to return to school when we have complete control of the epidemic,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to a school, without giving any details about the potential timetable.

“Although on the surface the figures look good in Denmark, the British mutation is here and will soon be the most dominant,” she added, referring to the more infectious coronavirus strain discovered in the UK in November.

Denmark recorded 435 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number to 202,306 since the start of the pandemic, with more than 2,200 deaths.

AFP

Trump Contracts COVID: Here’s What We Know And What We Don’t

US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland' on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)
File photo: US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland’ on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)

 

President Donald Trump’s diagnosis as COVID-19 positive adds extraordinary drama to an already fast-moving and tumultuous US election campaign.

Here is a summary of the current state of events:

– Where is Trump now? –

Trump will spend the coming days in a military hospital just outside Washington to undergo treatment for the coronavirus, but will continue to work, the White House said Friday.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Trump “will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”

The president’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said earlier in the day that all previously announced campaign events ahead of the November 3 election would be held virtually or postponed.

The positive Covid-19 test also raises questions about whether two debates with Democrat Joe Biden later this month will go ahead as planned.

– What treatment is he receiving? –

White House physician Sean Conley said that the president was “fatigued but in good spirits” and was taking an experimental Covid-19 treatment.

Trump received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, Conley said in a letter.

The treatment is undergoing clinical trials but is not yet approved by regulators.

Later on Friday, McEnany said Trump was receiving the anti-viral drug Remdesivir following consultation with specialists. The president was “not requiring any supplemental oxygen,” she said in a statement late Friday.

Earlier in the day Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said that the president had “mild symptoms.”

As a 74-year-old man, Trump is “at higher risk for severe illness” from the virus, according to the US health agency CDC.

Trump will be monitored closely for the wide range of common symptoms which include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle ache and headache.

– What are his symptoms? –

On Thursday, Trump did not immediately isolate after his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive.

Instead, he boarded a plane to New Jersey, where he attended a fundraiser at his golf club and delivered a speech surrounded by dozens of people before returning to the White House.

The New York Times quoted unnamed sources saying Trump showed mild symptoms at the Thursday night event, seeming lethargic.

One source told the paper he had displayed cold-like symptoms.

– How did he get it? –

It is unknown how Trump contracted the coronavirus, but he has defied medical advice by seldom wearing a mask and often meeting with large groups of people.

White House alarm bells started to ring when Hicks tested positive. She is a central figure in Trump’s inner circle and travelled with him several times over the last week.

She was also closely involved in his preparations for Tuesday’s debate against Biden. At the televised event, many of Trump’s guests did not wear masks.

– Who else in the White House has it? –

Vice President Mike Pence, who would step in if Trump falls seriously ill, tested negative on Friday, as did Trump’s teenage son Barron.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law who are top White House advisors, also tested negative, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Former White House top aid Kellyanne Conway, however, announced late Friday she had tested positive with “mild” symptoms.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tested positive several days ago, it was announced Friday.

Trump’s campaign manager 42-year-old Stepien also said Friday he had tested positive, US media reported, and was in quarantine with mild symptoms.

Many other senior politicians, officials and military officers who work or visit the White House were getting tested on Friday.

Edo Governorship Election In Pictures

 

Over 480,000 Edo residents, came out to partake in the state governorship election on Saturday.

This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the COVID-19 era.

To ensure a safe exercise, INEC officials were on the ground to enforce the use of face masks as part of COVID-19 guidelines.

Security officials were also deployed to a free, fair and safe exercise.

Below are major sights from the Edo State governorship election.

 

Voters Begin To Vote

 

Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu Vote

 

 

Read Also: [Edo 2020] Mild Tension As Fight Breaks Out At Polling Unit

Mild Tension As Fight Breaks Out At Polling Unit In Oredo LGA

Slow Motion Recovery: Cautious Hollywood Edges Back To Work

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 13: PAM & NMA Magnet Coordinator Ali Nezu (L) disinfects the New Media Academy Magnet center at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. With over 734,000 enrolled students, the Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest public school system in California and the 2nd largest public school district in the United States. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images/AFP

 

When veteran Hollywood actor Gregg Daniel was offered an audition for a new movie in Los Angeles, he nearly didn’t show up — the pandemic was well underway, and “no one was shooting.”

“I almost hesitated even going to the audition,” said Daniel. “I’m African-American, I’m over 50 and disproportionately black people were dying of COVID-19… but the script was so good, and I’m an actor at heart.”

Fast-forward to today, and Daniel has completed boxing drama “7th & Union,” filmed in the streets of the eerily quiet California entertainment capital.

Thanks to relentless testing, on-set “COVID officers,” sanitation stations and enforced social distancing between takes, “everything went smoothly” and safely, said executive producer Jolene Rodriguez.

Yet it is one of just a handful of film productions to resume in Hollywood since Governor Gavin Newsom gave the green light back in June.

Health fears, uncertainty and a second wave of coronavirus cases have meant few movie producers braving a return so far — with some heading elsewhere or even overseas.

No US state has suffered more than California, which has so far recorded more than 610,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 11,000 deaths.

“At one point we were like… ‘Do we hold off for the safety of people?'” said Rodriguez. “But it ended up where we were able to pull it off.”

– Cautious optimism –

Permits to film in Los Angeles remain stalled at one-third of usual numbers, according to nonprofit FilmLA — and the vast majority of those are for making advertisements and reality television.

The main hold-up for movie studios is talks between employers and unions to agree on a new set of standard, industry-wide safety protocols.

“We’ve been working on it for many, many weeks… there are a lot of complicated issues,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief operating officer of actors guild SAG-AFTRA, which has joined forces with Hollywood’s directors, technicians and Teamsters unions.

Among discussions are daily testing for actors performing “the more dangerous work from a COVID perspective,” such as intimate sex or fight scenes.

Once negotiations are completed — a deal is expected by next month — the major problem of coronavirus insurance persists.

The cost of restarting a production only to shut down again due to an outbreak is so high that insurers are excluding COVID-related claims from new policies.

“What we’re hearing… is that there’s going to need to be governmental involvement,” said Crabtree-Ireland, pointing to similar measures in California to incentivize earthquake coverage.

“There are discussions going on at both federal and state levels about how that might happen.”

– Creative locations –

For now, the trickle of film productions going ahead need to be approved by unions on a case-by-case basis — leading to wrangling over issues such as the frequency and type of COVID testing, especially on low-budget shoots.

A “cottage industry of boutique testing companies” have sprung up to service film sets that can’t afford in-house testing, said Crabtree-Ireland.

Meanwhile, producers have learned to be creative about filming locations, with busy public areas not feasible, said FilmLA president Paul Audley.

“Writers are really clever — so we know some of the shows may be writing for areas that are more isolated, like an industrial area,” he told AFP.

Another, far riskier approach has sprung up — filming without permission at all.

“Right now, the number one complaint that we’ve had on the books is for illegal filming,” said Audley, adding that coronavirus-wary Los Angeles residents are more vigilant than ever in reporting guerrilla shoots.

Still, despite the growth of other filming hubs such as the state of Georgia — where mogul Tyler Perry has set up a self-contained, 330-acre (133-hectare) production “campus” — many filmmakers appear determined to remain in Los Angeles.

The silver screen’s spiritual home boasts an abundance of support services, including six companies dedicated to movie-set recycling and garbage disposal alone, said Audley.

“Our members prefer to work close to home, and I think especially in times of uncertainty like this they feel more comfortable,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

“In terms of what the prospects for Los Angeles are, I wouldn’t suggest anyone should count LA out.”

AFP