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STF commander calls for objective reportage

Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has called on journalists in the state to be objective and professional in reporting security matters.

Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has called on journalists in the state to be objective and professional in reporting security matters.

Okonkwo gave the advice in a familiarisation meeting with some journalists and heads of media organisations in the state on Thursday in Jos.

Newsmen report that Okonkwo, on Tuesday assumed duty as the 12th commander of the operation.

Okonkwo replaced Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, who has been deployed to the Nigeria Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.

The new commander urged reporters to first consider national security and the interest of the people when reporting, adding that they should their facts clear before going to the press.

“I want to thank you for the support you have rendered to my predecessor. I urge you to extend same to me. But I want to urge you to be objective and professional when reporting our activities.

“National security is very important and it should be our collective concern, focus and interest. I am not saying you should hide anything, but try and get your facts clear before going to press,” he said.

The commander promised to work closely with media practitioners in the state, adding that officers and men of the task force would be friendly to Journalists.

He promised to synergise with other security agencies in the state toward ending the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state.

“My operation will mostly be in the field and we shall synergise with other security agencies to end all forms of insecurity in our area of operations.

“It will not be easy, but we shall try our best and God’s willing insecurity here will be a thing of the past,” he said.

Okonkwo promised to build on the feats achieved by his predecessor, adding that he would continue with the modest achievements.

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Nigeria records 22 new coronavirus cases, total now 276

National Public Health Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja - NCDC - Coronavirus - Covid-19 -- 1

Nigeria has recorded twenty-two new cases of coronavirus.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Wednesday evening that fifteen of the cases are Lagos, four in FCT, two in Bauchi and one is Edo

The new cases bring the total number to 276 in Nigeria.

According to NCDC, “Twenty-two new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria: 15 in Lagos, 4 in the FCT, 2 in Bauchi, 1 in Edo

As at 09:00pm 8th April there are 276 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Fourty-four have been discharged with six deaths”

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Chinese medics can’t attend to our patients – Nigerian doctors

Following the arrival of the 15-member Chinese medical team, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) have declared they will not allow the Chinese attend or touch any patient.

Following the arrival of the 15-member Chinese medical team, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) have declared they will not allow the Chinese attend or touch any patient.

They describe any attempt by the Chinese medical team to manage any patient as unethical and illegal.

Asides the donation of equipment by Chinese worth about $1.5m, including test kits, ventilators, disinfection machine, disposable medical masks, N95 masks, medicines, rubber gloves, protective gowns, goggles, face shields, infra-red thermometers and other critical care items, the 15-man medical team have specialties in infectious disease, respiratory illness, intensive care, cardiology, neurology, general surgery and anesthesiology.

President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, told newsmen: “Our stand has not changed and we still insist that there is nothing that they (Chinese) want to offer that can improve what we have on ground.

“There are so many things that we need to put into consideration because it is a war affecting ordinary Nigerians, and sometimes you look at the risk and benefits.

“Our members will look at what is on ground; if we are doing what we are doing and they (Chinese) do not interfere with us, we will continue doing what we are doing for Nigerians.

“We cannot now precipitously make a decision. We are an Association that is bounded by ethics, and rules. In a very short while, you will hear our decision”

In the same vein, President of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD), Dr. Sokomba Aliyu, said: “The representatives of the government had stated some days back that the Chinese experts are coming to donate some personal protective equipment – ventilators etc. for us. We do not have anything against people coming to make donations. They also stated that they are coming to install those ventilators they brought with them, which again we do not have problems with.

“But we have categorically stated that the Chinese can’t attend to any Nigerian for whatever reason because this is unethical and illegal. The Chinese do not have the license to practice in Nigeria. And we do not need their hands as we are not overwhelmed and can take care of our patients.

“So far, they have also stated that they are not coming to attend to patients, so we cannot say categorically if their words are anything to go by. While they have gone ahead to welcome the Chinese, we are hopeful that the Chinese will have nothing to do with our patients because if they proceed to involve the Chinese in the management of our patients, we will just leave the patients for the Chinese to continue managing.

“As it is now, we are going to be watchful and wait for them to see how far they are engaging the Chinese, and to what extent they are going to be managing our patients.

“If they proceed to get them to do whatever it is with our patients, then, we will just let them have the patients and whatever comes out of it will be squarely traceable to the Chinese involvement in the management of our patients”.

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Lagos records third coronavirus death

Lagos State Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Isolation Centre

The Lagos State Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced the death of a 66-year-old Briton, making him the third COVID-19 related deaths recorded in the state.

The ministry through its verified Twitter account said that the deceased travelled from India via Dubai to Lagos on March 17.

The ministry, however, did not disclose further information about the medical history of the deceased patient.

Giving an update of cases in the state, it said that it has 130 confirmed cases – 93 active, 32 discharged, two evacuated, and three dead.

Earlier, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that Nigeria currently has 254 confirmed cases, 44 of the cases have been discharged with six deaths recorded thus far.

Data from the Africa Centre For Disease Control (AfricaCDC), shows that as at April 7, there were 10,252 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 492 deaths, and 989 recoveries in Africa.

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Javier Tebas: La Liga players should expect coronavirus wage cuts

La Liga players have been told it should be normal for them to have their salaries reduced because everyone else is being impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

La Liga players have been told it should be “normal” for them to have their salaries reduced because everyone else is being impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

With elite European football at a standstill due to Covid-19, much debate has surrounded the topic of player wages and whether or not their salaries should be reduced while no fixtures are taking place, in order to save the clubs money and protect the livelihoods of less wealthy non-playing staff.

Serie A clubs have voted unanimously to implement cuts of up to a third of players’ yearly wages, while some teams from other countries around Europe are making their own decisions on the matter, with Atletico Madrid confirming players had accepted a 70 per cent reduction.

Atletico’s stance is by no means a standard in La Liga, but league president Javier Tebas thinks some form of sacrifice should be made across the board and believes that will be achieved in the coming days.

“We are in a moment of exceptional, unpredictable, and enormous-impact crisis,” he said in a teleconference with foreign media on Tuesday. “Everyone loses money, it seems normal to me that players’ salaries are also reduced. In Spain we did not find an agreement with the union, our negotiations ran aground yesterday [Monday].

“At the moment, eight La Liga clubs [across the first and second divisions] have requested ERTE [Temporary Employment Regulation File], but in the next few days all our teams will activate salary reduction protocols, either through ERTE or with individual agreements with their players.

“Spanish football does not intend to resort to state aid, we must be economically independent.”

Tebas also confirmed La Liga’s desire to resume the season – if possible – on the final weekend of May, meaning the campaign would likely extend beyond June 30.

While that would be problematic in terms of the next transfer window and the expirations of some contracts or loans at the end of June, Tebas is confident modifications will be possible.

“It will be necessary to alter the contracts of the players that expire on June 30, as well as the various loan agreements,” he said. “It is not simple, but not so complicated. I think that the players will agree and that the different leagues will find a solution that complies with general regulations.

“It is clear that the current transfer window dates, from July 1 to September 1, will not be suitable and should be changed, but I can’t say much more.

“We will have to see the recommendations of FIFA and adjust the market to the current conditions generated by the coronavirus, which are decidedly exceptional.”

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Minister: Seven coronavirus patients discharged in Abuja, 39 may follow soon

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello

Seven patients who recently tested positive for Coronavirus and housed in the COVID-19 Isolation Centre in Abuja have been discharged after fully recovering from the dreaded virus.

In a statement made available by to newsmen on Tuesday evening and signed by the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, he revealed that in no distance time, 39 patients who are still on admission would be discharged.

Commending the health personnel for their dedication to duty in spite of the pandemic, the minister said: “Let me begin by appreciating the high level of compliance so far exhibited by residents of the FCT with regard to the 14-day restriction of movement as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, with a view to curbing the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This restriction was necessitated by the need to contain the spread of the virus within our community in order to safeguard lives.

“The level of compliance from residents, is proof that we all understand the magnitude of the challenge before us and we are ready to come together to fight this enemy, so we can return to our normal way of life as quickly as possible.

“Since the outbreak of the first Covid-19 case in the FCT, I have been kept abreast daily on the condition of the patients. I am delighted to announce that the first set of patients, totalling 7, are ready to be discharged after their final tests results returned negative.

“Also, our dedicated and exceptional medical staff are doing their best to ensure the recovery and discharge of the remaining 39 patients. We cannot thank them enough for their efforts and we will always continue to encourage and support them.

“Let me also remind our residents that the FCTA is fully committed to fighting this pandemic. We are not sparing any resources at our disposal in ensuring effective containment of the virus, and also in protecting the welfare of our people. And as long as we remain united in this fight, we will surely emerge victoriously.

“May I inform the residence of FCT that as part of measures put in place in addressing this pandemic, an emergency call centre is fully operational 24/7 on the following numbers: 08099936312, 08099936313 and 112. Also, to support the effort of the NCDC, a collection centre has been established and can be reached on the following numbers: 09062433363, 09062433565.

“Finally, I would like to enjoin every one of us to continue to diligently abide by the COVID-19 preventive guidelines. May I also reiterate that any breach of this guideline by any person(s), will be considered a danger to Public Health interest and will be dealt with as such, under the provision of the law. Fighting Covid-19 together is our collective goal and responsibility.”

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Coronavirus: No way Liverpool won’t be Premier League champions – UEFA chief

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin can see “no way” that Liverpool could finish the season without the Premier League title.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin can see “no way” that Liverpool could finish the season without the Premier League title.

Ceferin said on Monday that Liverpool would surely win the Premier League title if this season continues but if the coronavirus pandemic does cancel the remaining games then there would be no option to null and void the season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City with eight games remaining.

“I see no way for Liverpool to stay untitled. If the championship resumes, they will almost certainly win it – theoretically, it has not yet reached the guaranteed level, but it is practically close,” Ceferin told Slovenian sports daily Ekipa.

“However, if it could not be played, it would also be necessary to announce the results in some way and find some key on how the champions should be determined. And, of course, again I do not see a scenario in which that would not be Liverpool.

“I understand that fans will be disappointed if it happens in an empty stadium or even at the green table, but I believe they will win the title one way or another.”

Ceferin says he is hopeful the leagues in Italy and Spain will also resume, the two countries are the most affected in Europe from COVID-19 so far.

He added: “I’m an optimist. I am optimistic that we will see the conclusion of the Spanish championship, I am optimistic that we will see the conclusion of the Italian one, and I am optimistic in general.

“Of course, I cannot guarantee anything, I cannot promise anything. It will all depend on the situation in the individual countries, it will all depend on whether the circumstances are good enough for you to avoid endangering anyone by playing football.”

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Speaker Gbajabiamila: Chinese doctors must be quaratined

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), has announced the demise of a former member of the house, Rep. Tony Okey. 7

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday insisted the Chinese doctors coming to help in the fight against COVID-19 must first be quarantined for 14 days and comply with all relevant laws in the country.

Speaking at a meeting between the Ministers of Health and the leadership of the House of Representatives, the Speaker said the Ministry must ensure that that the Chinese medical personnel undergo the necessary checks as provided by Nigeria.

Gbajabiamila said the measure became necessary to allay fears expressed by many Nigerians, adding that the meeting was conveyed following widespread complaints that trailed the announcement of the coming of some Chinese medical personnel to assist Nigeria.

The Speaker said: “There are a lot of complaints about why we are bringing in Chinese doctors. It is incumbent on us, as lawmakers, to intervene, following the concerns of our constituents to understand the issues and get the right information to them.

“Our duty is to protect the Nigerian people, and every opportunity to increase our knowledge will not be thrown away.

“Having listened to you, what we are taking away from this meeting is that Nigeria needs this intervention from the Chinese. But you have to make it mandatory that they observe all the protocols laid down for the disease.

“As you have explained that they won’t have direct contact with Nigerian patients, you have to make sure that they go through our official immigration laws and they have to get work permit waivers because they are coming here to work.

“Also, they have to be quarantined for 14 days as stipulated by the protocol, and you have to educate Nigerians about this to avoid misconceptions. We have laws and they must be complied with”.

The Speaker said the information gap about the Chinese gesture was regrettable and should be addressed immediately.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the Chinese doctors were not coming on the invitation of the Government but on the arrangement of a group of Chinese companies based in Nigeria as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The Minister explained that being a novel disease, which every country is trying to understand, Nigeria will benefit tremendously from the gesture because existing health facilities and personnel in Nigeria to tackle the disease are inadequate.

Minister of State for Health, Olorunnibe Mamora, explained that the Chinese doctors are mainly experts in molecular laboratory testing, adding that Nigeria has only two indigenous experts in that field serving the seven laboratory centres.

Mamora said the Chinese doctors are expected to help in setting up molecular laboratories around the country as well as upgrade and reconfigure existing ones.

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New York increases fine for violating social distancing guidelines to $1,000

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York will postpone its April 28th presidential primary election until June 23rd, as the Empire State deals with the largest coronavirus outbreak in the US, the New York Times reports.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, on Monday said that fines for violating social distancing guidelines would be increased from $500 to $1,000.

Cuomo also extended a shutdown in the epicenter of America’s deadly coronavirus pandemic until near the end of the month.

He said the COVID-19 death rate in the state was “effectively flat” for the past two days but announced that schools and non-essential businesses must stay shut until April 29.

“Now is not the time to be lax,” he told reporters, adding that fines for violating social distancing guidelines would be increased from $500 to $1,000.

The outbreak has killed 4,758 people in New York state as of Monday morning, Cuomo said, an increase of 599 from Sunday.

On Saturday, New York announced 630 deaths in one day — it’s highest daily total of the epidemic so far.

Cuomo said the number of daily deaths had been levelling off since, suggesting the state may be at the peak of its crisis.

“It is hopeful but it is also inconclusive,” he said, warning that the death rate could increase again.

He said it would be a “mistake” to relax restrictions on movement too early.

“If the curve is turning it’s because the rate of infection is going down, if the rate of infection is going down it’s because social distancing is working.

“If we are plateauing then we are plateauing at a very high level and there’s tremendous stress on the health care system,” Cuomo added.

New York has borne the brunt of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

Across the country there have been almost 339,000 cases, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.

In New York state, there have been almost 131,000, Cuomo said.

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