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FG won’t take Emirates airline’s discriminatory profiling of Nigeria – Minister

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By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the federal government would not back down on its protest against discriminatory profiling of Nigeria by Emirates Airlines.The minister said this at a briefing by COVID-19 Presidential Steering Committee in Abuja.


He said the civil aviation is guided by agreements and international cooperation that are binding on all parties.“It is only one aviation. So, we found this position to be discriminatory against our nation and is therefore unacceptable. They claimed the reason they are taking this stance against Nigeria is because there are fake results. And I said, there are fake results as well in UAE, Germany, Italy and other countries in the world but Nigeria has gone ahead to address it by ensuring fake results are easily detected even from the phone,” he said.

He said the death rate in some African countries like Ghana and Rwanda was also higher, but the United Arab Emirates has not treated these countries the same way it is treating Nigeria.“Nigeria’s infection rate as well as death rates is far less than other countries like Ghana, Italy that UAE is allowing into their country but chose to be discriminatory, so their action is country specific.
“Ghanaians, Rwandans can go to Dubai direct while Nigerians cannot. So this is country specific and we will not accept it. We cannot be the only country that is isolated.
“In one of our discussions, they mentioned South Africa. In their case, they wrote and demanded that they be included, so it is by choice. It is not Nigeria’s choice that we should be excluded and discriminated against. So the update is that we will escalate the matter and we are sure they will withdraw this very soon,” he said.


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Coronavirus

FEC approves N836 million augmentation for 38 coronavirus oxygen plants

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The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday
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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N836 million as augmentation for the establishment of oxygen production plants for COVID-19 pandemic intervention across the country.

Newsmen report that the council had in June approved N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.

Newsmen report that the approval in June followed the Presidential Steering Committee’s (PSC) announcement to increase oxygen reserve capacity in the event of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, on behalf of the Minister of Health, said the approval of the upward review followed a memo presented by the minister of health to the council.

The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja.

The minister said: “The Minister of Health also presented a memo seeking for an upward review for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants all over the country.

“You will remember in June, the Federal Executive Council, actually approved the sum of N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.

“Regrettably, the four companies also came back recently with the same complaints ranging from fluctuation in the foreign exchange and the scarcity of the material all over the world as a result of COVID-19.

“So, he presented a memo for augmentation in the sum of N836 million and this was also approved today.

Mohammed disclosed that the council also approved revised estimate costs and extension of the contract of the consultants supervising the Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project from an initial sum of N98 million to N302.8 million.

“The Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project in Bagwai Local Government Area of Kano State actually was commenced, the initial contract was actually awarded in the year 2005.

“And due to several logistics problems, the project is still on and just recently the FEC actually approved an augmentation of the entire contract and that means also that the mandate of the consultant supervising the construction would also have to be reviewed.

“So, now the total cost for the consultancy is N302. 9 million.’’

Source: (NAN)


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Coronavirus

‘Lagos COVID-19 related deaths hit 506’

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By Oluwafunke Ishola 

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the number of persons in the state that  died from COVID-19 related complications had increased to 506. 

Abayomi said this through his Facebook account @ProfAkinolaAbayomi on Sunday, while giving the state’s COVID-19 update for Aug. 20.

He said that 11 persons died from COVID-19 related complications on the reported day, increasing the state’s fatality figure from the virus to 506.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls  that deaths,  recorded between Aug. 1 to Aug. 20,  accounted for 122 out of the 506 total deaths recorded in the state, since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The 11 deaths recorded on Aug. 20,  represented  the second highest number of daily deaths recorded in the state, as the state had earlier recorded 13 deaths on Aug.10.

Abayomi disclosed that the state recorded 239 new COVID-19 infections,  out of the 2,750 tests conducted on Friday, bringing the state’s total infections to 70,563.

The commissioner also said 4,387 persons with active COVID-19 cases,  were receiving treatment under the state’s home-based care.

He added that 227 COVID-19 infected patients were being managed at the state’s isolation centres.

According to him, 60,716 of the infected persons had so far, recovered in communities, while 4,716 recovered in the state’s COVID-19 isolation centres.

The commissioner added that the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state since the outbreak of the pandemic, stood at 662,826.

Earlier, Abayomi had said that the battle to defeat the pandemic was still on and Lagos was currently in a third wave of the pandemic.

He added that it was not certain,  if this would be the last wave, or whether there would be more waves or live with COVID-19 as a factor of life.  

“As we all know, Lagos state is currently running home-based care in the management of COVID-19 cases. 

“The state do not have enough bed spaces to isolate patients and this is not peculiar to Lagos state alone,” he said. 

He noted that the state was currently under stress in the management of the pandemic.

Abayomi said  there was a critical need to strike a balance, between managing a public health crisis and COVID – proofing the economy,  to ensure the state’s economy was active. (NAN)


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Africa

South Africa reports 14,728 new COVID-19 infections, 384 new deaths.

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Citizens wait in the queue at Mitchell's Plain CHC to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on July 31, 2021 in Mitchell's Plain, South Africa.
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Citizens wait in the queue at Mitchell’s Plain CHC to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on July 31, 2021 in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa.

South Africa’s health ministry on Wednesday reported 14,728 daily new COVID-19 infections, taking the country’s total number of cases to 2,638,981.

The ministry also reported 384 deaths, taking the total number of virus-related fatalities to 78,377.

The country is the hardest-hit by the pandemic in Africa, accounting for 35.88 per cent of the continent’s caseload and 42.20 per cent of its fatalities.

Gauteng province has registered the highest number of cases and deaths, with 892,734 infections and 18,269 fatalities.

The Western Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal provinces are also hard hit, each having reported more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases.

The Western Cape Province has recorded 17,091 deaths while Kwa Zulu Natal has 12,768.

South Africa however boasts of a 91 percent recovery rate, as 2,402,020 patients successfully recovered from the disease. Active cases stood at 158,584.

The government is undertaking a nationwide vaccination campaign in efforts to contain further spread of the virus.

By Wednesday, 9,962,111 vaccines had been administered.

Source:(CGTN)


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