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Coronavirus

Premier League gets resumption date, end-date indefinite

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English football will be suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus crisis, but the current season can be extended indefinitely, the English game’s governing bodies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The Football Association, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game bodies, along with players and managers associations, agreed to extend the formal end-date for the 2019/2020 season in a bid to complete the campaign.

“We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so,” the organisations said following a video conference meeting on Thursday.

Last week all elite soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, Football League (EFL) and Women’s Super League (WSL), were suspended until Apr 4.

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With non-league, youth and amateur football having also subsequently suspended play, the English game is in a state of total shutdown.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA agreed on Tuesday to postpone Euro 2020 for a year, clearing space in the calendar for domestic competitions to finish – if the public health situation allows.

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FA rules say the season should end by June 1, but the decision was taken to extend that into the summer.

“The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority,” the joint statement said.

“We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow.”

Source: Reuters

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Nigeria records 544 new cases of COVID-19, total now 28,711

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Nigeria’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, on Friday, increased to 28,711 as 544 new infections were announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The NCDC disclosed this on its verified Twitter handle on Wednesday night. it also said that 199 of the new infections were recorded in Lagos.

On the 5th of July 2020, 544 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria. No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

“Till date, 28711 cases have been confirmed, 11665 cases have been discharged and 645 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 544 new cases are reported from 19 states; Lagos-199 Ebonyi-65 Oyo-47 Ondo-46 Ogun-31 Edo-30 FCT-28 Katsina-25 Plateau-15 Bayelsa-11 Kaduna-10 Adamawa-10 Akwa Ibom-8 Gombe-7 Kano-4 Taraba-3 Rivers-2 Abia-2 Ekiti-1,” the NCDC said.

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Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in coronavirus cases

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Madagascar has placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in coronavirus infections.

This is coming two months after the restrictions were eased.

“The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown,” the presidency said in a statement.

No traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until July 20.

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A strict curfew will be imposed on street movement by people.

“Only one person per household is allowed to go out into the street between 6:00 am (0400 GMT) and 12:00 pm (1000 GMT),” said the statement.

The measures have been taken “because of the spread of the epidemic and the increase of COVID-19 cases,” it added.

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Used to registering dozens of coronavirus cases a day, Madagascar has in recent days seen an exponential rise in daily numbers, jumping to a record 216 cases on Saturday.

The latest tally came after 675 people were tested.

Nearly 24,000 tests have so far been conducted on the impoverished island.

By Sunday the country had a cumulative 2,728 cases, including 29 deaths since the virus was first detected on the Indian Ocean island on March 20.

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All government meetings will now be held via video conferencing, while court hearings have been suspended.

In April, President Andry Rajoelina launched a local herbal concoction he claimed prevents and cures the novel coronavirus.

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COVID-19: Preach message of hope to reduce burden on Nigerians, expert urges clerics

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Dr. Abdullahi Shuaib, former Co-Chairman of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Lagos, has urged religious leaders to prioritize messages of hope in their sermon to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on the people.

Shuaib, also the Chief Executive Officer of Jaiz Foundation, made the call on Sunday at a virtual Faith Leaders’ Dialogue Forum organized by Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace in collaboration with Faith for Peace Initiative.

The Newsmen reports that the theme of the dialogue forum is: “Roles of Faith and Inter-Faith Communities in Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery’’.

According to him, there is the need for religious leaders to provide spiritual tonic that will rekindle the hope of their subjects in God, considering the devastating effects of the COVID-19 on the socio-economic activities of the people.

Shuaib urged religious leaders to constantly preach the message of hope to their followers for them to have a strong faith to recover all they had lost.

He lauded the initiative of faith-based organizations in providing palliatives to the less privileged, saying that more would be necessary, after the pandemic but in a more coordinated manner.

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“They need not duplicate their activities but complement one another.

”If one is addressing the economic aspects, others can look at the areas of human and health development,’’ Shuaib said.

He called on religious leaders to see themselves as development partners in the areas of provision of foods to the people, saying many people were starving.

Shuaib also urged the NIREC to see to the establishment of an Inter-Faith COVID-19 Council that would coordinate the responses of the Faith and Inter-Faith communities to the coronavirus crisis in Nigeria.

Also speaking, Apostle Nyeneime Andy, National President, Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), was surprised that some persons were still doubting the existence of the disease in the country.

According to him, the number of such individuals tagging the disease as a scam will have reduced, if the government had carried religious leaders along from the onset, considering their influence and closeness to the people.

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“Government should see religious leaders as partners in fighting the virus because of their influence on people.

”In fact, people would have taken the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 more seriously and the idea of the virus is a scam would be minimal if some religious leaders have been part of the task force,’’ Nyeneime said.

On her part, Hajia Halimah Jibri, National Amirah, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), said the COVID-19 had made the citizens be vulnerable and called on religious leaders to use their resources to empower them.

“This is the time to use both Zakaat and Tithe to build individuals and to give hope to the hopeless people,’’ she said.

In his remark, the Executive Secretary, NIREC, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, noted that the COVID-19 had challenged the faith.

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He noted it that it was as a result of this that the council took prayers as essential, as it beat all imaginations how a virus could shut down the entire world.

Rev. Sis. Agatha Chikelue, the Chief host of the program and the Executive Director, Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace, noted that the COVID-19 was not a respecter of color, race, or religion, as it had wreaked havoc on peoples’ livelihood.

Chikelue said there was the need for an interfaith collaboration on how people could bounce back.

Malam Tajudeen Alabede, the Convener of the Dialogue Forum and Director, Faith for Peace Initiative, said the Coronavirus pandemic had brought untold hardship on the masses.

Alabede said that the inter-faith community, being a critical stakeholder, had a role to play in the economic recovery of the people.

Other speakers at the one-day forum called on the inter-faith community to team up and produce policy recommendations to government that would improve the economy after the COVID-19

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