As part of efforts in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19, policymakers across the globe are increasingly taking more stringent measures, ranging from imposing travel restrictions, shutting down airports as well as closure of borders.
Notably, world powers such as the United States, Russia, China, Germany, United Kingdom and France have all imposed travel restrictions. In Africa, Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana and Algeria are amongst the list of countries that have also followed suit with travel ban.
For Nigeria, the Federal Government announced on Wednesday it had restricted entry into the country for travellers from 13 countries (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands). The restriction is expected to take effect on March 21 and will be in place until further notice. The Federal government also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these countries.
While we applaud the decision of the government, we think it could have been put in place earlier as we understand that travellers from high-risk countries have been coming into the country, which poses a great risk to widespread contamination.
As of March 19, the country’s National Centre for Disease Control announced that four new cases of the virus had been discovered in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to twelve. Notably, many of the new cases involved nationals who arrived from the USA and the UK.
In a related development, we highlight that the National Youth Service Corps on Wednesday also announced the suspension of the ongoing orientation for the 2020 Batch A corps members.
The Lagos and Ogun state governments have also announced an immediate ban of all high-density gatherings that would bring together 50 or more persons such as social clubs, halls, cinemas, night clubs, restaurants, cafes, and sport arenas. Furthermore, schools in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja have suspended activities for now while several businesses have begun to work from home.
To effectively contain the spread of the virus and prevent a nationwide outbreak, we think the government needs to enhance the capacity of the health workers to detect cases promptly, improve health care facilities at the quarantine centres and work on techniques to better track all persons who have come in contact with those that have tested positive. We understand that about 3,000 persons are being tracked.
Furthermore, we believe the government should take a cue from experiences of other countries by shutting non-essential economic activities for a reasonable period to curtail avenues for sustained spread of the virus. Along with the ban, relief packages should be made available for poor households whose income stream would be affected by the shut down.
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Just-in: Air Peace to recall some sacked pilots after Minister’s intervention
Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots, giving its staff the best remuneration package.
Air Peace would soon recall some of the pilots that were sacked recently. This coming after the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had intervened.
This was disclosed by the Ministry of Aviation via its Twitter handle on Tuesday.
The recall was the fall-out of an intervention meeting called by the Minister between the airline management and the leadership of the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) held in his office on Tuesday.
Back story: Nairametrics reported as Nigerians woke up to the news that Air Peace had sacked about 70 pilots under its employment across its fleet and also reduced staff salaries by 40%. The airline said the exercise was due to the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on its business.
It added that the move was made to protect the majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in the future, as well as ensuring the survival of the airline.
In the verbal agreement, Chairman, Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema acceded to the Minister’s appeal for the recall of the maximum number of pilots that the airline can accommodate without going under.
Chairman, NAAPE, Galadima Abednego explained that as a union it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, and further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.
On his own, Onyema expressed his sadness and disappointment over what he called the ingratitude of some of the airline’s pilots after everything is done to make them comfortable on their jobs.
He recalled how Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots and an equal number of aircraft engineers, giving its staff the best remuneration package within the sector only for them to disappoint at a time their understanding was needed.
He however commended Senator Hadi Sirika for providing the required leadership to the industry and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.
The Aviation Minister called for the understanding of everyone, especially the Labour unions, of the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.
AIR PEACE TO RECALL SOME SACKED PILOTS, AS SIRIKA INTERVENES
Respite has come the way of some of the pilots recently sacked by the management of Air Peace, as many of them would soon be recalled to their jobs.
— Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria (@fmaviationng) August 11, 2020
He commended Chief Onyema for his enormous contributions in developing the industry, but appealed to him to recall the maximum number of the sacked pilots that the airline can comfortably accommodate in the prevailing circumstances to which airline operator agreed.
WHO gives condition for approving Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine as the vaccine gets a name
Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V for the foreign markets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that any form of approval of prequalification of the Russian vaccine will require rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.
This disclosure was made by the spokesman of the WHO, Tarik Jasarevic, during a United Nations briefing in Geneva about clinical trials.
He said that the UN health agency and the Russian health authorities are currently discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Tarik Jasarevic, during the UN briefing in Geneva said, “We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.”
Meanwhile, in a related development, Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V and it is available for foreign markets. The name references the world’s first satellite, which marked a symbolic accomplishment for the USSR during the cold war and space race era. Now, the Russian Government basks in its success at becoming the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19.
The head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) pointed out that Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly registered COVID-19 vaccine.
Nairametrics had earlier reported today the announcement of the registration of the first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who made the disclosure during a televised government meeting, said that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than 2 months of human testing.
However, the speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some western countries and international scientists to question whether the Russian government is putting national prestige ahead of solid science and safety.
Nigeria signs African Trade Insurance Agency agreement
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched to provide risk solutions for investors.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the instrument of accession agreement for Nigeria for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency. This was announced by the Federal Government on Monday night.
President @MBuhari has signed the instrument of accession of the agreement for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency; sequel to the directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), that the instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) August 10, 2020
The agreement is coming after the Federal Executive Council ordered that an instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched in 2001, to provide risk solutions for investors, after the East African economic Union (COMESA) executed a World bank funded study to discover why Africa does not attract more Foreign Direct Investments.
The organization said it added credit insurance to its portfolio in 2006 after its members identified global trade as a major pillar of growth in the continent which has seen it grow as a market leader for risk mitigation in Africa. The ATI also attracts funding from the African Development Bank and World Bank
Nigeria joining the agreement would provide Nigeria with the necessary insurance financing to increase investment inflows into the country and improve economic productivity.