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Photos: Family, colleagues, attend Precious Owolabi’s burial in Zaria

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Precious Owolabi

Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps member who died from a gunshot wound sustained while covering the clash between the police and Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on Monday in Abuja has been buried.

Owolabi, 23, who was until his death, an NYSC member with Channels TV was giving a befitting burial by the management of NYSC at the Wusasa cemetery, Zaria.

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It was gathered that his NYSC colleagues sang the NYSC anthem to bid him farewell. The Director-General of NYSC was represented by a Director in the corps, the Nation reports.

Also in attendance were some members of his family.

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Photo credit: The Nation

Coronavirus

WHO calls for equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines in Africa

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa has joined immunisation experts in urging the international community and countries to take concrete actions to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as researchers around the world race to find effective protection against the virus.

WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo made the call in a statement posted on its website.

It said WHO urged international community and countries in Africa to take concrete actions to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as researchers around the world race to find effective protection against the virus.

The statement quoted, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, as saying “it is clear that as the international community comes together to develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.

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“Equity must be a central focus of these efforts.

“Too often, African countries end up at the back of the queue for new technologies, including vaccines. These life-saving products must be available to everyone, not only those who can afford to pay.”

WHO and partners launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to speed up the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

It brings together leaders of government, global health organisations civil society groups, businesses and philanthropies to form a plan for an equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO is collaborating with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to ensure a fair allocation of vaccines to all countries.

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The collaboration is aimed at delivering two billion doses globally for high-risk populations, including one billion for low and middle-income countries.

According to the statement, the African Union has endorsed the need for Africa to develop a framework to actively engage in the development and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Countries can take steps now that will strengthen health systems, improve immunisation delivery, and pave the way for the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“These include: mobilising financial resources; strengthening local vaccine manufacturing, and regulatory, supply and distribution systems; building workforce skills and knowledge; enhancing outreach services; and listening to community concerns to counter misinformation.’’

Meanwhile, the WHO regional office, on its official Twitter account @WHOAFRO said  Africa had  recorded over 520,000 confirmed cases as at July 9, 2020.

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“There are over 520,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 250,000 recoveries and 12,000 deaths,’’ it said.

The regional office stated that South Africa has 224,665 cases and 3,602 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 30,249 confirmed cases and 684 deaths, while Ghana has 22,822 confirmed cases and 129 deaths.

It added that Gambia, Seychelles and Lesotho were countries currently with the lowest confirmed cases in the region as Gambia had 55 confirmed cases with three deaths.

Seychelles had 94 reported cases with no death while Lesotho had 134 reported cases and one death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lagos residents should get ready for imminent floods – Government

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Residents of four local government areas in Lagos State, especially those living on flood plains, were on Thursday told to vacate their homes immediately.

Those in 15 other councils also got the warning.

Environment and Water Resources Commissioner Tunji Bello listed the councils to be worse-hit as Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Ibeju-Lekki and Ikorodu.

Bello explained that the local governments have been identified as “highly probable flood risk in 2020”.

In a statement, Mr Bello said the four listed councils will witness high intensity rainfall between now and September.

He urged residents with structures in low land areas to relocate without delay to avoid any untoward incident that may come with flooding and loss of lives and properties.

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Quoting from the Annual Flood Outlook released by the Hydrological Services Agency on May 28, Bello identified 15 other local government areas as those at flood risk this year.

The local government areas put on the red alert are: Lagos Island, Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin, Ikeja, Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Apapa, Ojo, Oshodi/Isolo, Agege, Ifako Ijaiye, Badagry, Surulere and Ajeromi-Ifelodun.

Bello assured that the ministry would intensify ongoing efforts at clearing silted drains as exemplified by the efforts of the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) all over the black spots in the state.

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He advised residents to refrain from indiscriminate discharge of waste and to stop patronising itinerant cart pushers

The commissioner described as unimaginable, the heaps of pet plastic bottles, styro foams and solid waste being excavated daily from drainage channels in Mushin, Idi Oro, Idi Araba, LUTH and Mile 2, among other areas within the Lagos metropolis.

Relying on investigation, Bello said some traders dump waste from their daily sales and articles in the markets into the drains, thus inhibiting free flow of water into its channels.

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He urged residents to desist from clogging drainage channels with refuse, especially those already cleaned up, adding that the unpatriotic act of some residents is putting the lives of those working on the drains in danger.

Bello warned that anyone caught in the act will face the full wrath of the law.

He assured that the government was working tirelessly to restore drainage alignment in areas where sand-filling activities were carried out to enhance water transportation.

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Nigeria has developed COVID-19 testing kit, says FG

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The Federal Government on Thursday announced the indigenous development and validation of RNA-Swift, a test kit for the identification of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19.

It said the move was to accelerate the capacity to test people and help effectively manage the coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, announced this during a press conference in Abuja.

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He said:

“The RNA-Swift has amazing precision for the detection of SARS-COV-2 and will be commercially available at a price that places it ahead of competitors in terms of sensitivity and affordability.”

The minister told reporters that in the coming months, five million farmers would be tested with the RNA-Swift kits from the first 10 million kits to be produced.

“I want to confirm to you that the RNA-Swift product team is in consultation with the African Development Bank for the funding of an African-wide testing programme for COVID-19 and the establishment for RNA-Swift production in Nigeria,” he stated.

The PUNCH

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