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Covid-19: Canada withdraws from 2020 Olympics as Australia eyes postponement to 2021

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Canada became the first country to boycott the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic and Australia told its athletes to prepare for an Olympics next year as Japan and the IOC flagged the prospect of a postponement for the first time.

Opposition to holding the Games in July rose sharply over the weekend with major stakeholders such as U.S. Track and Field and UK Athletics, along with some national Olympic committees, calling for a delay because of the pandemic.

Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Committees raised the ante considerably, however, when they said they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo if the Games went ahead as scheduled.

Under mounting pressure to postpone the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government had on Sunday and Monday had only partially shifted their position that the Games would go ahead as planned.

Martin Richard, communications chief for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, said the Canadians had been watching for a decision from the IOC on Sunday about postponing the Games and decided to withdraw when none came.

“The world is facing a crisis and this is more important than any other sport event,” Richard told Reuters from Ottawa.

“We decided that was the right thing to do.”

Richard said for Paralympic athletes, some of whom had underlying conditions, it would be risky to expose them if the virus was not contained.

“We felt it was unethical to have them be put in that position,” he said, adding that Canada had had not been alone in applying pressure on the IOC to postpone.

More than 14,600 people have died globally since the coronavirus outbreak began.

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On Sunday, the IOC said it would hold discussions over the next four weeks that would include an option of putting back the July 24 start date or even moving the Games by a year or more.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament on Monday postponing the Olympics may become an option if holding the Games in its “complete form” became impossible.

“If that becomes difficult, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games, given the Olympic principle of putting the health of athletes first,” he said.

Abe also said calling off the Games entirely was not an option, echoing the IOC position in its statement that cancellation “was not on the agenda”.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori later said organisers would consider postponement as one of many scenarios they aim to have ready in the next four weeks.

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There were no plans to change the start of the Olympic torch relay on March 26, organisers said.

AUSTRALIA AIMS FOR 2021

While many Canadian athletes and officials welcomed the COC’s move, others were not happy.

“I believe in the safety of our lives but this is premature,” Sage Watson, the reigning Pan American champion in the 400 metres hurdles, tweeted.

Soon after the COC move, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) released a statement saying it had told its athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Games taking place in 2021.

“The AOC (Executive Board) unanimously agreed that an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad,” read the statement.

“The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their national federations.”

ALTERNATE SCENARIOS

Canada’s boycott will add to growing pressure on the IOC to alter the schedule after criticism from a slew of current and former athletes with health concerns.

“YESSSSSS CANADA!!!!!!! pulls out of OLYMPICS UNLESS IOC POSTPONE!!!,” tweeted U.S. former Olympian Lolo Jones. “OUR HEALTH IS MORE important than sport. Hopefully the UNITED STATES is next.”

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said it would not be commenting on Sunday about Canada’s decision.

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Earlier, the USOPC had welcomed the IOC’s statement but said more clarity was needed for athletes.

“The progress reflected in today’s IOC update … is an important step in providing clarity but our athlete community continues to face enormous ambiguity surrounding the 2020 Games in Tokyo,” USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland and athletes advisory council chair Han Xiao said in a statement.

The Olympics have never been postponed or cancelled during peacetime but the IOC’s decision to even consider postponement was met with relief from several major stakeholders, including World Athletics, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and major national Olympic committees.

The last major boycott of the Olympics was when the Soviet bloc stayed away from the 1984 Los Angeles Games, although North Korea and Cuba skipped the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

“As an Olympian, feeling for Team Canada athletes and coaches who have worked so hard … I know these decisions will impact many beyond sport,” tweeted Charmaine Crooks, a five-time Canadian Olympic sprinter and former IOC member. “Health first.”

Reuters

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Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital confirms first case of COVID-19

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Authorities of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, have confirmed that one case of coronavirus has been recorded in the hospital.

Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, disclosed this on Monday, NAN reports.

Igwegbe said the patient was diagnosed with the virus following a test upon getting to the hospital.

According to him, the test result was released on May 23.

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He also said that the patient was immediately moved to one of the isolation centres in Anambra State for treatment.

He said,

“The patient was quickly moved from our isolation ward to the Anambra State Treatment Centre last night for care and treatment.

“The patient, a male trader resident in Onitsha was admitted to the isolation ward following proper triage on his presentation on May 20.

“Specimen for test was taken the following day and sent to Irrua.”

The CMD further stated that a suspect was earlier taken in, but test sample was not taken before the patient died.

“That was a probable case, the patient showed some symptoms but sample was not taken before the patient died.

“So we have only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in NAUTH so far,” he added.

However, he said that all the necessary precautions were taken and all those that attended to the confirmed patient used Personal Protection Equipment.

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He also gave an assurance that the hospital would remain vigilant.

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Niger state: They only gave us food no drugs- Covid-19 patients call out state govt

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Niger state: They only gave us food no drugs- Covid-19 patients call out state govt
Niger state government has been called out by Covid-19 patients recently discharged from the Minna Isolation centre over the alleged poor treatments meted to them at the isolation centre.
According to The Nation, some of the patients who spoke to newsmen revealed that since their arrival at the isolation centre, they have not received any single drugs for the treatment of the disease.

One of the discharged patients who was picked up from Zumba in Shiroro local government said that he was tested positive and quarantined at the isolation centre and that he was expecting to be treated and given drugs throughout his stay at the isolation centre but none was administered to him.

“I expected that I will undergo some treatment, but apart from food, nothing was given to me in the form of treatment. They did not give me a single drug.

“They only give us food every day that is all. No single drug, not even paracetamol was given to me throughout the 14 days”, he said.

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He further disclosed that his mother and other relations who were also picked up and quarantined with him were also treated shabbily.

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He stated that after their discharge, they were not provided with transportation and were told to find their way adding that money for transportation was not given to them.

“They just came and asked us to go. They did not tell us how we would move neither did they consider that we may not have any money to transport us home.

“We trekked from the isolation centre at the back of the police secondary school to the main road. From there, we trekked to Dutsen Kuran Gwari before someone assisted us to Sabon Gari junction.

“It was at Sabon Gari that a commercial vehicle carried us to Zumba before we now borrowed money from our people to pay the driver”.

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COVID-19: I recovered but lost my means of livelihood, says Ebonyi driver

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A commercial bus driver in Ebonyi has shared his experience with coronavirus [Covid-19] disease.

WuzupNigeria reports that Mr. Friday Ibeh was one of four patients treated and discharged by the Ebonyi State government on Sunday.

According to him, when he contracted the virus, he was always weak and constantly sleeping.

He said:

“I was so weak when the disease held me. I was sleeping too much; at times four times, at times five times and even more than that in a day. Without the state government who took me to this isolation centre and treated me, I would have been a dead man.

“I am a transporter and the thing didn’t allow me to drive again; it made me so weak. I was sleeping on steering while driving before I was taken to this isolation centre a month ago. But now, I am very strong and ready to start my work again.”

However, for the father of six it is not yet Uhuru as he has lost his means of livelihood – the Sienna vehicle.

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Ibeh said the vehicle was on hire purchase and the owner had since taken possession of the vehicle.

Ibeh and three others were discharged yesterday from the state isolation centre at Unity Square, Abakaliki, bringing the total number of discharged patients to six.

This came as the number of cases of the virus in the state has risen to 22.

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A team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) witnessed the discharge of the four patients.

Dr. Majinger Ibeneme, Pillar head, case management of the NCDC in the state, said all the patients at the isolation centre were stable.

Ibeneme observed that the state government had put in place all the necessary facilities to combat the disease.

He said:

“We are here because of the discharge of four patients. It is amazing the amount of work the governor has committed in the fight against this monster. So far, we discharged two before now, we are discharging four again today.

“Every patient here is stable and Ebonyi State government committed a lot in building the infrastructure. They have also committed a lot in beefing up the human resources; they made our work very easy. When we arrived here, we just have to conduct drills mostly because the capacity, the infrastructure was already on ground”.

 

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