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Brain drain? To control coronavirus, US asks doctors, nurses around the world to apply for visas

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The United States has asked medical professionals seeking to work in America to apply for a work visa at the nearest US Embassy as part of measures to strengthen the health system to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The government in a statement published on www.travel.state.gov on Friday, advised foreign medical professionals already in the US to consult with their sponsor to extend their programmes.

More than 82,000 people have been infected with the virus and nearly 1,2000 have died in the US which is quickly becoming the new epicentre of the outbreak.

The statement read,

“We encourage medical professionals seeking to work in the United States on a work or exchange visitor, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to reach out to the nearest embassy or consulate to request a visa appointment.

“For those foreign medical professionals already in the United States:

J-1 Alien Physicians (medical residents) may consult with their programme sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their programmes in the United States.  Generally, a J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended one year at a time for up to seven years.”

It noted that the expiration date on a US visa did not determine how long one can be in the United States.

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It added,

“Those who need to extend their stay or adjust their visa status must apply with USCIS.  Their website is here:  https://www.uscis.gov/visit-united-states/extend-your-stay

Meanwhile, a company, Golden Royal, has donated a 600-bed facility to the African Development Institute of Research Methodology in Enugu for use in treating coronavirus patients.

The Director of the Institute, Prof Ike Oluka, who disclosed this during the final round of training organized by the institute for 150 health personnel and other volunteers, explained that the fully air-conditioned facility would give comfort to patients, adding that the government alone cannot fight the scourge of COVID-19.

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He stated that members of the response team had been successfully trained and had been sent out to create awareness and sensitize the public on what to do to prevent the spread of the virus.

He said, “The 600-bed facility will really help in the treatment and mitigation of COVID-19 cases. Part of what we are also doing is going around different communities and sensitising the people on how best to stay safe at this critical time.

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“We have also drawn together doctors and nurses from private hospitals across the state who would also help us in talking to people within this period.”

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Reopening of churches: We await further details, says CAN

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Coronavirus: Catholic church in Lagos suspends sprinkling of water, handshakes at mass over virus

The Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] President, Adebayo Oladeji, said the association was awaiting further details on the reopening of churches.

This comes as the Federal Government relaxes restrictions on churches and mosques as coronavirus[COVID-19] pandemic rages.

Oladeji said the Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines.

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He said,

“We want to get the details before we will react fully. But in the interim, it is a welcome development. It is our prayer that God will surely deliver Nigeria from the pandemic in Jesus Name.

“If Christians and Muslims return to their worship places to pray for victory over COVID-19, God will surely answer us. The closure of the worship places is not acceptable to God. We thank God for opening the eyes of our government to the reality.

“The Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines and while waiting for them. We have already directed all churches to keep to the hygienic regulations whenever they meet and to pray for the victory over COVID-19. The new development is as a result of our meeting with the religious leaders.”

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Nigeria Update

COVID-19: Final year students may write exams in July; bars, clubs and gym remain closed

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said final year students in its tertiary institutions may write their examination in July as the Federal Government begins the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions placed on Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

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But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

Schools remain closed, final year students to prepare for exams

He added,

“All schools to remain closed until further evaluation. The Federal Ministry of Education is instructed to work with schools to start the process of preparing students that require exiting exams, to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown. But for the moment, schools are to remain closed.

“I have already mentioned places of worship. Restricted opening will apply subject to the guidelines issued by the PTF as well as the protocols agreed by respective state governments, working with religious leaders.

“Recreational parks and communal sports to remain closed until further evaluation.

He said for funerals, the task force was limiting the crowd to 20 people including family, with physical distancing adhered to, as well as hand washing.

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COVID-19: FG bans street trading, hawking

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had approved the relaxation of restriction placed on churches and mosques starting from Tuesday.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

He said,

In terms of general movements, persons may go out for work, go out to buy necessary foods and for exercise, provided they abide by the curfew hours. Movement between local government areas is strongly discouraged unless for critical reasons such as health care and work.

“I will like to emphasise that it is still safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. The pandemic is not over in this country and the relaxation of some of the rules does not mean that it is safer to go out. If you do not need to go out, please continue to stay at home.

“Hawking and street trading is also prohibited and we will be looking into this in greater detail with state authorities.”

“With interstate travels, movement across state boundaries remains restricted other than the free movement of goods and essential travels. Security services are requested to please cooperate with members of the public and ensure that goods are provided with free passage, as this particular phase is directed at ensuring the economy starts moving again.

“With intrastate travel, we will implement new travel processes for areas of the country with high-burden local government areas, and this will be restricted to essential travels.”

The task force coordinator listed the new guidelines for reopening of offices in the public and private sectors.

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He said,

“For the industry and labour sectors, in terms of working hours, normal working hours will apply to offices other than government offices, provided this is kept within (outside) the curfew hours of 10pm to 4am. Offices are to maintain working at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining the two-metre physical distancing.

“For government offices, they can open between the hours of 9am and 2pm. So, no changes in opening hours but can work from Monday to Friday. Prior to this, we allowed three working days. However, all persons within the Grade Levels of 14 and above at both the federal and state governments will be allowed to come to work.”

 

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