Merkel In Quarantine After Meeting Virus-infected Doctor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference on March 11, 2020 in Berlin to comment on the situation of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. AFP

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel was on Sunday in quarantine after meeting a doctor who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as Germany further tightens rules on public gatherings and plots a taboo-breaking package of support for Europe’s top economy.

News of Merkel’s potential exposure to the virus came minutes after she announced a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and further infection control measures.

“The Chancellor has decided to quarantine herself immediately at home. She will be tested regularly in the coming days… (and) fulfil her official business from home,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

Merkel had been slated to lead a cabinet meeting Monday to sign off on a 822-billion-euro ($882 billion) slew of measures to support Europe’s top economy through the shutdowns of public life designed to slow the infection’s spread.

The infected doctor visited Merkel on Friday to vaccinate her against the pneumococcus bacteria.

READ ALSO: US Senator Rand Paul Tests Positive For Coronavirus

It could take some days to determine whether the 65-year-old chancellor is herself infected as “a test would not yet be fully conclusive,” Seibert said.

Merkel showed no apparent symptoms of ill health in Sunday’s televised press conference.

– Robust health –

During her 15-year term in office the chancellor has largely enjoyed robust health, although she suffered repeated shaking spells in public appearances during a summer 2019 heatwave that were never fully explained.

In response to the tremors, she chose to sit on a chair when receiving guests with military honours outside the chancellor’s office in Berlin.

Previously the veteran leader broke her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident in 2014.

It was not immediately clear whether Merkel will isolate herself in a rarely-used official residence in the top floor of the chancellery building or at her personal flat in Berlin’s museum district.

Wearing one of her trademark block-colour blazers, she had been seen doing her own shopping at a local supermarket late Saturday, buying items including wine and toilet paper.

If conservative leader Merkel were incapacitated, her role would be filled by vice-chancellor and finance minister Olaf Scholz of her junior coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Scholz last week isolated himself at home with a heavy cold, but tweeted a day later that he had tested negative for the coronavirus.

– Infection control –

Earlier Sunday, Merkel had announced still-tighter restrictions on public gatherings after a telephone conference with regional leaders that aimed to get Germany’s 16 federal states into a common policy.

The closure of schools and non-essential shops had already been announced.

Businesses like massage studios and hairdressers where people come into close contact will also be shut.

And restaurants will be closed across Germany except for takeaway food.

The measures slated to last initially for two weeks, will be imposed by individual states, which will decide when to roll them out.

Merkel appealed to citizens’ “reason and empathy” in implementing the contact restrictions, saying she had been “very moved” by how closely people had stuck to less stringent measures implemented in recent days.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control authority, said early Sunday the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had grown by almost 2,000 in the previous 24 hours, to 18,610.

So far 55 Germans have died of the disease.

– Economic riposte –

Germany’s all-out support to the economy on the cabinet agenda Monday includes hundreds of billions of euros in potential support for companies and workers.

Much of it will come in the form of state guarantees for bank loans to business and easier access to short-time working and unemployment benefits.

But Berlin also plans to blow through a constitutional rule that limits the size of the federal budget deficit in any one year, with around 156 billion euros in new borrowing.

Ending the crisis “comes first”, Merkel has said, adding “we will see at the end of that where our budget stands”.

AFP

Five Persons Quarantined In Nasarawa Over Coronavirus

 

Five persons who happen to be family members have been quarantined at the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi, Nasarawa State for showing symptoms of the Coronavirus.

Speaking to Channels Television via the telephone on Thursday, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Adamu Yahaya said the family members arrived Keffi Local Government Area from Ogun State today.

He noted that the patients showed some symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 which necessitated the quarantine.

READ ALSO: CAN Declares National Prayers Over Coronavirus

According to him, their specimens have been taken to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratory in Abuja for testing to ascertain if it is the virus or not.

Yahaya explained that they would remain in isolation at the hospital’s isolation centre pending the arrival of results.

“We saw them based on our high level of alertness and suspicion. We have already quarantined them at our isolation centre. We have taken sample today so we are waiting for results,” he said.

This is the first suspected case of COVID-19 in Nasarawa State since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

‘Stay At Home’: Italy’s Quarantine Rules

A nun walks across Piazza del Duomo by the cathedral in downtown Milan on March 10, 2020. Italy imposed unprecedented national restrictions on its 60 million people on March 10, 2020 to control the deadly coronavirus, as China signalled major progress in its own battle against the global epidemic. Miguel MEDINA AFP
A nun walks across Piazza del Duomo by the cathedral in downtown Milan on March 10, 2020. – Italy imposed unprecedented national restrictions on its 60 million people on March 10, 2020 to control the deadly coronavirus, as China signalled major progress in its own battle against the global epidemic. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Italians have been told to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel as quarantine measures were extended to the whole country to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Here are the main points of a government decree signed on Monday night that brings the restrictions into effect until April 3.

– Don’t travel (unless it’s urgent) -From Tuesday, the movements of Italy’s population of 60 million are severely limited. Travel is only allowed for “urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons”.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 must not leave their homes for any reason, while anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms are strongly encouraged to stay at home and limit social contact, including with their doctor.

To avoid work-related travel, public and private companies have been urged to put their staff on leave.

– Gatherings cancelled -The latest decree prohibits “all forms of gatherings in public places or sites open to the public” — going further than the rules that went into force over the weekend in large parts of northern Italy.

Sporting events of all levels and disciplines were cancelled, stopping play in the top-flight Serie A football league.

High-level professional training for top national sports events and competitions organised by international bodies, such as the Olympic Games, may go ahead without spectators. All athletes, coaches and managers will undergo health checks.

Swimming pools, spas, sports halls and wellness centres must not operate, and ski resorts across the country are shut.

– Venues shuttered -To encourage people to stay in, bars and restaurants are only allowed to open between 6 am and 6 pm, and only if it is possible to keep a distance of at least a metre between customers.

All museums and cultural venues are closed, as well as nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos, which have been shut since the weekend.

While supermarkets will remain open, large shopping centres and department stores must close on public holidays and the day before public holidays.

– School’s out -Schools and universities are closed, and all exams cancelled.

Religious institutions will stay open, as long as people can stay a metre from one another — but ceremonies such as marriages, baptisms and funerals are banned.

-AFP

Coronavirus: Three Chinese Nationals Quarantined In Plateau

 

Three Chinese citizens have been quarantined in the Wase town of Plateau State for suspected case of the novel coronavirus.

The Commissioner for Information in Plateau, Dan Manjang, disclosed this to Channels Television on Saturday.

He revealed that the three Chinese citizens, who are workers in a mining site in Wase, flew into Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday.

“The situation right now is that they have been isolated,” Manjang confirmed.

He added, “The three of them came in through Abuja and once we heard that, the Commissioner for Health had to take a proactive measure to send a medical team to Wase to go and investigate.”

 

Manjang explained that they then made their way to Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Thursday.

He, however, said they were being clinically examined by a medical expert deployed by the State Ministry of Health.

According to the commissioner, there is presently no confirmed case of coronavirus in Plateau as it stands.

He was worried that the word ‘quarantine’ could be misconstrued, thereby causing panic among the people.

Manjang assured the people of the state to remain calm and go about their businesses, noting that the case was being investigated.

He said, “The problem that we have is that there is a tendency for people to think that investigation or quarantine, as the case may be, means that there is an outbreak of the virus.

“As far as Plateau case is concerned, there has been no known case of this virus on the Plateau; we just took proactive measures to make sure that we place them (the Chinese nationals) under investigation and that will take 14 days.”

The government, according to the commissioner, awaits the report of the team that was sent to Wase before taking the next step.

Ebola: Nigeria Must Create Legal Policy To Curb Stigmatization – Strategist

EbolaAn Economist and Communication Strategist, Dr. Olaniyi Ibidapo, says stigmatization is one of the effects of any outbreak of diseases which comes out of fear, misinformation or misrepresentation of situations.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he stated that except Nigeria comes up with “a legal policy and awareness creation among the populace, stigmatization would be a serious problem in the future.”

With a background of having done extensive research in Communications strategies with a bias for Health communication, Ibidapo recommended “multidimensional, multifaceted approaches” in sensitizing the populace on the facts about the Ebola Virus.

He explained that this is based on the notion that “the more the approaches, the more the effect of realising the goal.

Most of these approaches are international templates that have not been adequately tested, so you cannot measure the effectiveness immediately. So you cannot rely on one approach,” he said.

Mass media, sensitization and training were among the approaches highlighted by Ibidapo but he noted that the community being involved remained an important feature in all the approaches.

He stated that the prevalence of the Ebola Virus Disease has been within the communities and “whatever the implementations you’re going to take on this Ebola outbreak, communities have to be involved.

When I mean communities, it has to be the religious organisations, the MDAs, the NGOs, the individuals and the corporate bodies. This is the big opportunity for the corporate bodies in Nigeria to take advantage of, because Ebola is everybody’s business now.”

Speaking further on the issue of Ebola stigmatization, Dr. Ibidapo stated that Nigeria would need to improve its health infrastructure as this would help the country.

However, he noted, “Ebola victims need to come out and let people know they are still alive. That is why policy implication has to start because when Government backs it up with a law – Ebola health policy – this will help us in identifying and recognizing that we could curb Ebola spread.”

While he appreciated the Nigerian culture, which he says is communal and does not necessarily encourage the idea of victims coming out, he maintained that an upgrade of Nigeria’s health infrastructure would help build some confidence.

He also highlighted the level illiteracy in Nigeria as another challenge. “The population is huge, a lot of people are educated but are they really informed?”

The Consultant refused to blame citizens for the discriminative attitude towards Ebola survivors as he admitted that indeed fear was responsible for this, but “with information we will understand that once it is cured, it is cured.”

He made reference to a Channels Television report which featured an Ebola survivor who has suffered stigmatization.

As we have seen, he is healthy, he is hale and he is active. The society needs to support him, the Government needs to back him up in terms of establishing a policy, making it a law and making sure that they prosecute any offender.

It is an offence to infringe on the other person’s human rights – rights of association and right to work. It is a serious offence within our system here.”

He called for support for the survivors of the EVD, with emphasis on the need for everybody to be involved.

Ebola Virus Is Not Airborne, Commissioner Insists

The Commissioner For Special Duties, Lagos State, Wale Ahmed has dispelled the notion that the use of face masks prevents the contraction of the ebola virus disease , saying that the disease is not airborne.

He also noted that the Ebola virus cannot be contracted by someone who has just had the symptoms but can be contracted by someone who is visibly sick. “It cannot be transmitted during its incubation period which is between 2-21 days.

Referring to the recent case of a nurse that had contact with the late Patrick Sawyer and escaped to Enugu, but has been brought back to Lagos, the commissioner said that the nurse was not under the care of the isolation centre at Infectious Disease Hospital, rather a  controlled environment;” we have beefed up security with the help of some foreign healthcare workers who have advised on the amendments to be taken in order to prevent such action” mr. ahmed said.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the commissioner acknowledged that certain preventive measures should have been taken at the time the late Patrick Sawyer was at the airport, “If the airport health facilities were working properly Mr. Sawyer shouldn’t have been allowed to leave the airport” he added.

He also added that most of the facilities used at these isolation wards is what has been kept for a later use but had to be used due to the spread of the virus in Lagos.

The Commissioner mentioned that presently there are over 200 people under surveillance both in primary and secondary contact.

He said that primary contact are put under quarantine and are about 200 while the secondary contact are put under observation with people watching over them to check if there is an increase in temperature.