Abducted Doctor, Nurse Regain Freedom In Ogun  

A map of Ogun, a state in south-west Nigeria.


The Ogun State Police Command has confirmed the release of a doctor and a nurse abducted on April 7.

This was confirmed on Tuesday by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi.

He however could not confirm if the family members of the victims paid ransom to secure the release of the health workers who regained their freedom in the early hours of today.

The doctor and nurse were identified as Oladunni Odetola and Mrs Bamgbose respectively.

Adetola, who is the head of General Hospital, Imeko, Imeko-Afon Local Government Area,  alongside the nurse Bamgbose were kidnapped on Wednesday last week on Abeokuta – Imeko road.

It was gathered that the gunmen had emerged from the bush at Olubo village and whisked away  their victims.

Their abductors subsequently demanded ₦20m ransom, a development which allegedly led to fundraising among the health workers in the state in order to secure the release of their colleagues.

READ ALSO: Policeman Fired For Attempted Murder Of Lady Friend

Sequel to this, the State Chairman of NMA, Ogunlaja Oladayo also confirmed their release after about six days in captivity.

“Yes, they have been released early this morning,” he said.

When asked if the ransom was paid, Oladayo responded “I don’t have any information on that.”

Meanwhile, the medical doctors and nurses in Ogun State have announced the withdrawal of services in protest against the abduction of their colleagues.

The no-work protest takes effect from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

In a letter jointly addressed to the Commissioner of Health, Dr Tomi Coker, they accused the government of non-committal to securing the release of the abducted health workers.

The letter titled “Notification of Withdrawal of Service” was dated April 12, and jointly signed by the State NMA Chairman, Oladayo Ogunlaja and the State Chairman of NANNM, Roseline Solarin.

They described the kidnapping of the health workers as “disheartening, repugnant and unacceptable,” adding that that the government’s approach of “not negotiating with the kidnappers have left us to believe our lives and security is of no essence to this government.”

The leadership, therefore, declared withdrawal of service by the doctors and nurses, from all public health institutions in the state, effective from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

“The strike will continue until the safety of our members is guaranteed,” the leadership added.

The letter reads partly: “In the light of the above, it glaring that the safety of the Health workers is no longer guaranteed.

“The joint committee of NMA and NANNM resolved as follows: Lives of our members which the government cannot guarantee is sacrosanct.

“The Government has not shown enough commitment to the safe release of our incarcerated members.

“Immediate withdrawal of the services of our members from all institutions until the safety of our members is guaranteed, effective from 12 midnight, 13th April 2021.

“We hope that the government will make the security of lives and properties a matter of priority and see to it immediately.”

Ondo Doctors Embark On Indefinite Strike

A map of Ondo, a state in south-west Nigeria.


Doctors working in Ondo State government-owned hospitals have embarked on indefinite strike action.

They are rejecting the payment of half-salaries for workers.

Spokesperson of the Ondo Government Doctors Forum, Omolayo Olubosede, revealed this while addressing newsmen in Akure, the State capital.

The doctors have placed a five-point demand before the state government, including the Immediate payment of full salary arrears and the replacement of doctors who left service.

Other demands include the payment of COVID-19 allowances, the implementation of skipping allowances, and the implementation of group Life Insurance.

Police Foil Kidnap Attempt On Bayelsa Doctor, Arrest Five Suspects

File photo of a Police patrol vans.


The police authorities in Bayelsa State have foiled the kidnap of a medical doctor working at the General Hospital in Odi, Kolokuma/ Opukuma Local Government Area of the state.

According to a statement issued by police public relations officer, Asinim Butswat, the state command arrested five suspects in connection with the incident.

“Credible intelligence revealed that some suspected kidnappers conspired among themselves, went to the Quarters of the Doctor at General hospital Odi, on 10 September 2020, to kidnap him but met his absence,” the statement partly read.

Butswat said the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, ordered the Anti-Kidnapping Unit to track down the perpetrators of the crime.

The suspects apprehended were Sunny Ubaka, Inerepamo Ikati, Pereowei John, Osamedike Daniel, Sambo Olawei have their age brackets between 21 and 26 years.

According to the police spokesman, they all confessed to the crime, adding that investigation is ongoing.

Butswat also asked residents of the state to avail the police of timely information to reduce the level of criminality in the state.

Group Asks Buhari To Secure Release Of Abducted Cross River Doctor

The victim said to have been kidnapped on Friday night, Dr Vivien Otu.


The Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria in Cross River State has asked the First Lady, Aisha Buhari to secure the release of Dr Vivien Otu said to have been abducted in Cross River State.

In a statement issued on Sunday by its President, Bassey Nakanda, the group described the kidnap of the victim as condemnable.

The association also called on the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen; the Wife of the Cross River state Governor, Dr Linda Ayade and the Director General of Women Development Centre, Mrs Mary Ekpere Eta to come to their aid in ensuring the immediate release of Dr Otu from captivity.

The female medical practitioners regretted that the victim is the 16th doctor to be abducted within the last few years in Cross River.

“It is even worst when the victim is a woman and it affects the entire populace. Healthcare delivery is affected as all doctors feel threatened, discouraged, and demoralised.

“As women and mothers, we hereby call on the state government, security agencies and relevant authorities to leave no stone unturned in bringing to an end this incessant occurrence among medical doctors and other citizens of the state and to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Otu.

“We also cry out to the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of Cross River Governor, Dr Linda Ayade, Minister of Women Affairs, Director General of Women Development Centre and others to rise up and defend womanhood by employing their positions to ensure speedy and unconditional release of Dr Otu.

READ ALSO: Ghana’s Akufo-Addo To Engage President Buhari Over Maltreatment Of Nigerians, Others

“We are also calling on all Civil Society Organisations, especially the International Federation of Female Lawyers, the National Association of Women Journalists and Female Society Organisations to loud their voices to the cry for the release of Dr Otu,” the statement partly read.

The group also asked Governor Ben Ayade to grant assent to the anti-kidnapping bill which was passed by the Cross-River House of Assembly.

Their demand comes two days after the victim was abducted on Marian Road in Calabar.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Irene Ugbo confirmed the kidnap to Channels Television via a phone conversation.

According to her, the State Police Command swung into actions to ensure the release of the kidnapped female doctor.

Lagos Responds To Medical Guild’s Demands, Asks Doctors To Resume Work

The Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, flanked by his colleagues at a press conference in Lagos on July 12, 2020.


The Lagos State government has responded to the issues raised by members of the Medical Guild who are on a three-day warning strike.

In a statement on Monday, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, faulted the decision of the doctors to embark on industrial action and asked them to return to work.

He explained that this was because the government had convened a meeting with stakeholders in the health sector over the issues raised.

Omotoso said that despite wrong claims by the guild, the government has been extremely supportive of health workers, especially those at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

He added that the government has started paying extra special COVID-19 allowances for frontline workers who were involved directly with the Lagos State COVID-19 Response.

READ ALSO: Lagos Doctors To Begin Warning Strike

File: Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, speaks during an interview on Sunrise Daily on January 28, 2020.


On the disparity in doctors’ salaries, the commissioner attributed it to the skipping policy adopted by some federal institutions, as the new minimum wage in Lagos placed all members of the state above the federal level.

The doctors had raised concerns over heavy taxation of health workers, request for residential quarters, hazard allowance for health workers, and COVID-19 insurance cover, among other things.

Omotoso, responded to each issue raised and assured the residents that while negotiation was ongoing, services at all state-owned health facilities could still be accessed.

Read the full statement below:






Urges Striking Doctors To Return Back To Work


A joint meeting between the Honourable Commissioners for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle and the Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola as well as all the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Health, Establishment and Information, was held on Sunday the 12th July, with the Medical Guild, Association of Resident Doctors and relevant stakeholders on the proposed warning strike.

The meeting was convened at the instance of the Hon. Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions after a series of meetings held at the instance of the Head of Service on behalf of stakeholders in the State Government with the representatives of the Medical Guild, National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD), LASUTH branch and other relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the issues underlying the strike called by the Medical Guild.

The Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo who appreciated the government for convening the meeting outlined the position of the Guild on the various issues which include; Shortage of doctors in the State, Heavy Taxation of Health Workers, Request for Residential Quarters, Entry Point Skipping Policy for Doctors, Hazard Allowance for Health Workers, COVID-19 Insurance Cover, Medical Residency Programme, Personal Protection Equipment, Involvement of the Guild in COVID-19 Response Committee amongst others.

It is pertinent to note that the State Government expresses extreme disappointment that the Guild continued with their warning strike despite a series of engagements with the State Government aimed at resolving some of the grievances raised, noting that many issues have already been resolved, whilst unresolved issues are still being deliberated upon.

It is worrisome that some members of this noble profession would down tool at a time when their services are mostly required. We believe this action is insensitive and lacks empathy which our profession epitomises.

The State Government, therefore, requests the members of the medical Guild who embarked on a three-day warning strike today to return back to work.

It is therefore imperative to correctly state the facts and action on the major issues raised by the Guild with respect to some issues affecting the frontline and indeed all health care personnel.

Health workers being unceremoniously dismissed from the isolation centres.

Mr Governor has been extremely supportive of health workers being mindful of the extreme sacrifices that healthcare professionals are demonstrating in the COVID-19 response. We are currently rotating our health workers who are engaged in providing care at the isolation facilities. They are not being dismissed; this is wrong information. Healthcare professionals are returning to their primary posting for the following reasons:

To reduce fatigue and burn out amongst health workers

To build capacity for treatment of COVID-19 across the health workforce

To ensure that as many health workers as possible benefit from the additional allowances

Non-payment of COVID19 Allowances for May and June

LASG started paying extra special COVID-19 allowances for frontline workers who are involved directly with the Lagos State COVID-19 response. This was put in place before any other State in the nation with payments as high as N672,000 per month in addition to their normal remuneration packages for each cadre and which represents financial incentives over and above that paid by the Federal counterparts.

In fact, where discrepancies exist between Federal and State allowances, Lagos State has paid the difference to ensure parity. Payments for March and April were made on time however in order to ensure uniformity and accuracy of the allowances, due diligence measures had to be put in place before subsequent month’s payments were approved.

As we speak, these payments have been approved and being received by the workforce. Additionally, all healthcare professionals receive a hazard allowance which has been temporarily increased by 400% at the discretion of Mr Governor periodically during this period.

Disparity in Salary for Doctors

The Skipping Policy adopted by some Federal institutions is responsible for this, as the new Minimum wage in Lagos State places all members of the State above the Federal level. Information received from Federal Government Medical Centres indicates that the Skipping Policy which places the Federal counterparts one Grade Level above the State is the basis of this disparity.

It is important to note that this is not in conformity with the Scheme of Service agreed by the National Council of Establishment and is a subject of litigation in the Federal Court of Appeal and therefore the State Government cannot implement such a policy until Judgment is delivered.

Heavy Taxation of Health Workers

It was made clear to the Guild that the Personal Income Tax Act is standard to all and calculated on the basis of the tax table. A meeting has been scheduled with Officials of LIRS for this week with a view to exploring ways of reducing the tax burden. Mr Governor has also approved the exemption of the Hazard allowance from tax for State health workers.

The Lagos State government, recognizing that the State is at the epicenter of the COVID pandemic in the nation has gone over and beyond its duty of care to ensure that the welfare of the Medical workers in the State is placed as top priority. Apart from the above measures, the following measures have also been put in place:

Fast track testing of Health workers

One day, every week, has been set aside exclusively for testing healthcare professionals and a senior staff of the lab has been assigned to it. Emergency testing of health workers can be arranged by a call to the officer in charge of health worker testing in the lab.

Separate isolation centre for health workers who test positive – an isolation centre has been opened in Agidingbi to cater exclusively for the care of healthcare professionals.

Inclusion of Medical Guild in Emmergency Operation Center (EOC) – The members of the Guild have always been part of the EOC, and their participation has been strengthened recently.

House officers April Increment in hazard allowance – all house officers. They have all been paid an increase in hazard allowance.

Accommodation of Health Workers – From the beginning of COVID19 we have accommodated all frontline health workers in hotels at great cost and provided three meals a day and transportation to and from the hotel

Insurance for health workers – All frontline health workers in isolation centres have been insured by a consortium of insurance companies. All Lagos State civil servants including all health workers have been insured by LASACO. This represents double insurance over and above standard civil service insurance.

Shortage of health workers – Mr Governor has given approval for Health Service Commission to employ over 760 health workers of which at least 400 are doctors.

However, due to the pandemic, we have had to adjust the recruitment procedure, but the process is ongoing and we are expecting to conclude the first batch of recruitment within a month from now.

Construction of Doctors Quarters in LASUTH – work has commenced to ensure Doctor’s Quarters are built in LASUTH as well as a new strategic policy to increase and improve housing across all State Secondary Healthcare Facilities.


The State government will continue to play its part in ensuring the battle over COVID is won, under the able leadership of Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and urge the Guild to continue to take full advantage of the dispute resolution processes provided by the State to resolve all issues bearing in mind that these are unusual times for the nation and the entire world.

The government, therefore, wishes to assure citizens that while negotiation is ongoing, services at all state-owned health facilities can still be accessed.


Mr Gbenga Omotoso

Commissioner for Information & Strategy

13th July 2020

Police Arrest Kidnap Suspects Who Killed Doctor, Others After N7.5m Ransom

Police Engage Suspected Kidnappers On Kaduna-Abuja Highway, Kill Nine
A file photo of police officers on patrol.



Police operatives of the Intelligence Response Team have arrested two suspects for the kidnap of a medical doctor, Audu Benedict, his son, and one of his associates in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday said the victims were travelling from Taraba State to Abuja on March 10, 2019, before the incident.

He disclosed that the suspects – Henry Gwa, 25, and Terhile Tsavbe, 30, – who both hail from Benue State, were arrested on June 6 and 11 this year following an intense search for the victims and manhunt for the perpetrators by the police team.

“Investigations revealed that the criminal gang collected N7.5 million as ransom from the families of the victims as a condition for their release.

“The suspects forced late Dr Audu Benedict to issue them a cheque of N500,000 which they cashed in a commercial bank in Gboko town, Benue State,” the police spokesman said.

He added that despite collecting the sum, the suspects killed the three victims and had them buried in a shallow grave at Gawa in Katsina-ala LGA of Benue.

According to Mba, efforts are being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large and the police team is on the verge of exhuming the remains of the slain victims.

In a similar development, he said 25 other criminal suspects were arrested for their involvement in varying cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and illegal possession of prohibited firearms.

The police spokesman described the suspects as members of high-profile criminal gangs terrorising communities and major highways of the North-Central and North-West states of the country.

“Exhibits recovered by the police team from the suspects include six AK47 rifles, three locally fabricated pump action guns, one locally fabricated pistol, two Dane guns, 55 rounds of AK47 ammunition, four empty magazines, one laptop computer, and one Toyota Corolla car with REG No. MKD 13 RC,” he said.

Mba said all the suspects would be charged to court at the conclusion of investigations while the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has given assurance that the battle against criminal elements in the country was a continuous one.

He also called for all hands to be on deck towards decisive victory and reclaiming the public space from the criminal elements.

Gunmen Kill Medical Doctor In Zamfara

A file photo of late Dr Enoch Okpara.



Gunmen have killed Dr Enoch Okpara, a medical doctor at the Federal Medical Centre in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Zamfara, Mohammed Shehu, confirmed the killing to Channels Television on Monday.

He revealed that the body of late Okpara, who was a consultant obstetrics/gynaecologist, was discovered at his residence in Mareri area of Gusau on Saturday.

Shehu said the late medical doctor was declared missing two days before his death, stressing that the police were already on the trail of the attackers with a view to bringing them to justice.

He added that the Criminal Investigation Department of the Zamfara State Police Command has launched an investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Zamfara has condemned the brutal killing of their colleague, describing it as inhuman and barbaric.

The NMA Vice Chairman in the state, Dr Mannir Bature, decried that Okpara’s killing was a clear case of assassination, adding that he was brutalised by his assailants who later burned his body.

Bature said the doctor was last seen at work on Thursday last week until his body was discovered on Saturday evening when they broke into his apartment.

According to him, the burnt body of the deceased was discovered in the courtyard of his compound while bloodstains were seen on the walls of the room.

Pregnant Doctor Dies Of COVID-19 In Algeria

Cemetery workers wearing protective gear bury a coronavirus victim at a cemetery on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg on May 6, 2020. OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP
iMAGE USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Cemetery workers wearing protective gear bury a coronavirus victim at a cemetery on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg on May 6, 2020. PHOTO: OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP

The death of a pregnant Algerian doctor from the COVID-19 disease after she was denied maternity leave has sparked an uproar and prompted the dismissal of a hospital director.

Health Minister Abderrahman Benbouzid sacked the director of the Ras El Oued hospital in eastern Algeria after Wafa Boudissa succumbed to COVID-19, a source close to the case told AFP.

The 28-year-old doctor was eight months pregnant and worked at the IC surgery unit of the hospital when she died on Friday.

She had asked the hospital chief, who was not named, for early maternity leave, but he refused to let her take any time off.

Colleagues of the victim had backed her request and signed a petition in solidarity, one of them said.

Benbouzid on Saturday ordered an investigation into the death of Boudissa and, in an unprecedented move, tasked the inspector general of the health ministry to head the probe.

The source close to the case said that anyone found directly responsible for her death could face trial for negligent homicide.

State television meanwhile broadcast footage showing Benbouzid visiting the hospital and then Boudissa’s family home to offer his condolences.

In the footage, Benbouzid said he could not comprehend why a pregnant woman was forced to work, while Boudissa’s co-workers denounced those behind her death.

A presidential decree released at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic had stated that pregnant women and those raising children were among individuals allowed to take exceptional leave from work.

According to officially declared figures, Algeria has registered 6,821 cases of coronavirus, including 542 deaths, since February.


German Doctor Warns Footballers Of ‘Irreversible’ Damage From COVID-19

(L-R) French midfielder Corentin Tolisso, Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Spanish defender Alvaro Odriozola and French defender Lucas Hernandez wear face masks as they arrive for a training session of the German first division Bundesliga football club FC Bayern Munich on May 13, 2020 at the Bayern’s campus in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP.


Despite rigid hygiene guidelines for the restart of the Bundesliga this weekend, a leading German sports doctor has warned footballers are still at risk of suffering “irreversible” and potentially career-ending lung damage from the coronavirus.

With Europe’s other top leagues at least a month away from resuming, the German Football League (DFL) has drawn up strict rules for when games restart this Saturday.

Matches will be played behind closed doors, with only a limited number of media and officials allowed to attend.

The key games see second-placed Borussia Dortmund at home to Schalke in Saturday’s derby and leaders Bayern Munich, who are four points clear, visiting Union Berlin on Sunday.

Players have been told to limit contact, even on the pitch, and must avoid pre-match handshakes and hugs to celebrate goals.

The DFL says while no plan could ever be “100 percent safe”, the guidelines aim to create a playing environment with a low, “medically-justifiable risk”.

However, professor Wilhelm Bloch, from the German Sports University in Cologne, warns that contracting the coronavirus has the potential to end a player’s career.

READ ALSO: EU Offers Vaccine Hope As WHO Warns Virus Here To Stay 

“There is a risk that top athletes may lose their level of performance and never regain it,” Bloch told AFP in a phone interview.

“Generally, the physical makeup, immune system and cardiovascular system of elite athletes means that the risk to them is low.

“However, we do not know at this time whether even minor infections, or even mild symptoms, do not cause damage, such as minor scarring of the lungs after an inflammation.

“This damage may be irreversible, or may last a very long time before the body repairs it.

“We’ve already had players infected in Europe and we’ll soon know if they recover their full potential.”

– Increased injury risk –

Bloch said it is near impossible to estimate what the risk is to footballers in Germany, which currently has 172,239 recorded cases of the virus and over 7,700 deaths.

“Players are not in total quarantine, they are with their families, even if they have been instructed to limit contact,” he said.

“And there are also risks during matches.

“They will all be tested, but not all the coronavirus tests work perfectly. There is a relatively large margin of error.”

The sports doctor says another concern is injuries to players, given their lack of match fitness since the league stopped in mid-March.

“Obviously, the players are not optimally prepared,” Bloch said, with clubs only resuming full team training last week.

“Depending on the degree of preparation, the risk of injury increases.

“We can expect that the players will be more prone to injuries.

“We will see muscle injuries, but also injuries to the musculoskeletal system and tendons.

“You can’t compare it with the start of the season.

“At the beginning of the season they normally have a very intensive training period, then a short break so that the body can regenerate, and then they attack the season.

“Now, that hasn’t been possible for all the teams.”

Bloch also wonders how players can be expected to throw themselves into tackles after weeks of being told to observe social distancing.

“I’m not a psychologist, it’s difficult to assess, but I think it’s going to be a difficult transition and it won’t necessarily be good for their performance,” said Bloch.

“It’s also going to be one of those factors that you have to consider and one of the risk factors for injury.”


COVID-19: New York Hospital Doctor Prepares For The Worst

Medical supplies and beds are seen inside a tent as volunteers from the International Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse set up an Emergency Field Hospital for patients suffering from the coronavirus in Central Park across Fifth Avenue from Mt. Sinai Hospital on March 30, 2020 in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP.


With the rapid rise of hospitalizations and a health system nearly at capacity, New York doctor Shamit Patel is preparing for the worst over the next few days, all while hoping he won’t have to start choosing which coronavirus patients to treat.

Just 10 days ago, only half of the 46-year-old internist’s patients at Beth Israel — one of the Mount Sinai hospitals in Manhattan — were suffering from COVID-19.

“We’re not over capacity yet, but we’re planning for it to go over capacity,” he said, adding he thinks the hospital has “planned well.”

The wave of virus patients at Beth Israel corresponds to the one inundating New York City, which shot from 463 confirmed cases two weeks ago to 36,000 on Monday.

“At the rate that I’m seeing, the peak could be anywhere from end of this week to sometime next week,” said Patel.

Under extreme pressure for the past two weeks, he is preparing for the worst, even if “it’s something that we hope we don’t have to see.”

For Patel, the worst would be a situation similar to that in certain regions of Italy, where the health system is so overwhelmed that it can no longer take care of all patients.

READ ALSO: Global Lockdown Tightens As Coronavirus Deaths Mount

“You’re gonna have to be a little quicker in seeing and assessing and getting the treatment plan for each patient,” Patel predicted, noting they “may have to double or triple the number of patients you’re seeing.”

But, he added worriedly, “you can’t really go more than triple the number of patients you’re seeing in a day and provide effective treatment.”

– ‘Picking and choosing’ –

In addition to the limitations of healthcare personnel, Patel is worried about a potential shortage of equipment, particularly of ventilators. New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio talk daily about the need for the machines.

“If you get a surge of patients coming in, and you only have a limited number of ventilators, you can’t necessarily ventilate patients,” Patel said. “And then you have to start picking and choosing.”

Outside of the hospital, Patel is also worried about transmitting the virus to his family. He lives with his 80-year-old father, who suffers from Parkinson’s, and his aunt, who has cancer.

“I don’t want to come back here and actually give it to them because I don’t think they would do well at all,” he said.

He maintains the minimum two meter (six-foot) distance and uses antibacterial wipes generously, while ensuring his relatives have enough food.

“I stay pretty much in my room,” Patel explained, “and then I’ll go out there and periodically check on them.”

But stress and anxiety are ever-present, both at work and at home for Patel and his colleagues, who are running a marathon, as governor Cuomo put it.

“If it’s something that kicks in, then it goes down after it peaks, then we can sustain it for a little while,” Patel said. “But all hands on deck for months on end is something that’s hard to sustain.”

“This is going to be a long and drawn out battle.”


First French Doctor Dies As Coronavirus Death Toll Rockets

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.



The first French doctor battling the coronavirus has died as the death toll in the country spiralled to 674 Sunday.

With the outbreak spreading to eight regions — and 112 more dying in a single day — authorities admitted their count does not include those who died at home and in old people’s homes.

“We are looking at an epidemic that is widening and escalating,” the head of the health service Jerome Salomon said.

With hospital flooded with 7,240 victims, the military are having to transfer some from the worst-hit areas.

“The virus kills and it is continuing to kill,” Salomon added.

The 67-year-old emergency room medic who died worked at Compiegne hospital, north of Paris, the town’s mayor told AFP.

He was hailed as a hero by his family for coming back from holiday to treat the first major outbreak in the country.

Mayor Philippe Marini said that Madagascar-born Jean-Jacques Razafindranazy “came back to work voluntarily to treat people and knew he was taking a risk”.

– Calls for curfew –

His wife, a family doctor, is now also sick with the virus and has been quarantined at home.

Dr Razafindranazy’s death came as controversy raged over a shortage of protective gear for medical staff in some parts of France.

Despite Health Minister Olivier Veran saying more than 250 million masks had been ordered, some doctors and nurses have complained that they have had to do without.

READ ALSO: China’s COVID-19 Strategy: A Model For The World?

The French government is also under pressure from doctors’ unions to impose a total nationwide curfew, with some cities, including Nice and Perpignan, already banning people from going out.

With authorities expected to extend the lockdown beyond the end of March, doctors want it tightened to “at a minimum” stopping people going out to jog or exercise.

Parliament toughened fines for people who break the current confinement measures late Saturday. Repeat offenders now face six months in prison and a fine of 3,700 euros ($3,950).

– Shortage of masks –

Dr Razafindranazy died on Saturday in a hospital in the northern city of Lille, with his son paying an emotional tribute to him on Facebook.

“He was passionate about his work and chose not to retire. He has left a family behind him who will never forget him,” he added.

The family also warned that “this illness is extremely serious and must not be taken lightly”.

Marini said Dr Razafindranazy “would soon have been 68” and had treated some of the first cases in the Oise department, the first area in France to be badly hit by COVID-19.

He was infected in early March, the mayor added.

A quarter of the more than 7,200 people now in hospital with the virus are in intensive care.

Veran said many medical staff who contract the virus could in fact be getting infected outside of their work, while adding that protection for frontline staff was “absolutely indispensable”.

But doctors and nurses were losing patience, with the Frederic Adnet, the head of an emergency department at Seine-Saint-Denis in the northern suburbs of Paris, saying supplies of protective clothing were clearly under strain.

“We know we are exposed,” he told French television. “We know a number of us are going to contract it and there will be a price to pay… with protective gear cruelly lacking.”


Doctor Receives Award For Easing Coma Survivors’ Return

In this photograph taken on January 14, 2020, Belgian neurologist Steven Laureys (2L) visits a patient at The University Hospital Centre in Liege.  KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP


Not all patients who fall into a coma return, and when they do it can mark a moment of joy for their loved ones — but their troubles are rarely over. 

Often, brain damage leaves them paralysed or unable to communicate.

Belgian neurologist Steven Laureys has dedicated himself to the question of how to improve the lives of the formerly comatose, and of their families.

And on Thursday, his work was recognised with a million-euro ($1.1 million) grant from the King Baudouin Foundation, presented by the Belgian king’s sister, Princess Astrid.

The award will support the work of Laureys’ world-class Coma Science Group at the University Hospital of Liege, in the south of the country.

“Our ignorance about the brain is enormous,” Laureys told AFP at his clinic, lamenting that the patients that he sees have been “neglected” by medical science.

Laureys, who leads a team of 30 researchers, sees a “silent epidemic” of cases of patients who were revived from a coma but with their consciousness limited to varying degrees.

Around 150 cases a year are recorded in Belgium alone. Some leave intensive care able to open their eyes, but only move in reaction to outside stimuli.

In other, rarer, cases full consciousness returns but the patient’s body remains paralysed, limiting or preventing two-way communication with carers and loved ones.

The possibilities for treatment are limited, but the 51-year-old doctor says the royal grant will help his team study one promising route — the use of the drug apomorphine.

Bike crash 


Already used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and in tackling some addictions, apomorphine could prove effective in the “gentle and gradual” treatment of brain damage.

“For patients with brain injuries, there’s no current treatment that has proven truly effective. If we find one, that will make a great difference to patients’ quality of life,” said researcher Leandro Sanz.

Laureys’ group tackles Belgium’s toughest cases, those where a head trauma, brain haemorrhage or cardiac arrest plunges a patient into a coma and causes serious brain damage.

One of their most celebrated cases was that of Belgian professional cyclist Stig Broeckx, who was involved in a catastrophic crash in May 2016 on the Tour of Belgium.

He suffered several brain injuries and spent six months in a coma. Today, he can ride a bike once more.

“He regained motor control and intellectual function, he’s a true athlete with great motivation,” said Laureys.

Thursday’s ceremony saw Laureys awarded the Generet Prize, a grant from the King Baudouin Foundation named after the former Belgian monarch that manages 44.8 million euros in donations.

The first edition of the prize in 2018 went to Professor Miikka Vikkula, a Finnish specialist in vascular medicine working in Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain.