MTN, Airtel, Orange SA, and Vodacom have signed a partnership deal with the United Nations to build a mobile platform that delivers COVID-19 information to about 600 Million people in Africa.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary, UN Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe, on Wednesday.
The platform, according to Songwe, will be free to use for nearly half of Africa’s population and if well implemented will be rolled out to Latin America.
She explained that the platform will be available in about 23 African Countries, and will be called the “Africa Communications International Platform.”
The platform went live on Tuesday in some countries posting tips about COVID-19 hotzones, daily updates from government and healthcare groups and symptom checker features.
UN’s Tunde Fafunwa said, “In Africa, the economic impact is now almost greater than the health impact, although we know that infections are still on the rise.
“Personally identifiable information such as mobile numbers will not be passed on from the operators to the Government” he added, talking about possible breach of privacy concerns related with the platform.
“However, we will still be able to identify hotzones through information gathered from features such as the symptom checker.”
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MTN’s CEO, Rob Shutter said: “We were mindful of the realities faced in African Markets where smartphone penetration and internet penetration are low.
“The platform offers services using a combination of text and voice interactions.”
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 27th of September 2020, 126 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,324 confirmed cases.
On the 27th of September 2020, 126 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,011 samples across the country.
To date, 58,324 cases have been confirmed, 49,794 cases have been discharged and 1,108 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 505,556 tests have been carried out as of September 27th, 2020 compared to 502,545 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 27th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,324
- Total Number Discharged – 49,794
- Total Deaths – 1,108
- Total Tests Carried out – 505,556
According to the NCDC, the 126 new cases were reported from 12 states- FCT (30), Lagos (24), Rivers (23), Ogun (13), Katsina (9), Plateau (9), Ondo (6), Kaduna (4), Kwara (4), Imo (2), Bauchi (1), Edo (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,239, followed by Abuja (5,674), Plateau (3,388), Oyo (3,254), Edo (2,624), Kaduna (2,397), Rivers (2,347), Ogun (1,836), Delta (1,802), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,631), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,032), Abia (891), Gombe (864). Katsina (857), Osun (827), Borno (741), and Bauchi (698).
Imo State has recorded 568 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (398), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (237), Anambra (234), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Lagos launches N5 billion support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools
The Governor said the facility will benefit low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
Lagos State government has launched a N5billion support fund to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on low-cost private schools in the state.
This was disclosed by the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu via his Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March.
He said, “With access to funding for privately owned schools and vocational training centres in the state, we are confident that this programme, under the partnership between First Bank Nigeria and Lagos State Education Trust Fund (LSETF) will help accelerate a sustainable return to learning and skills acquisition.”
Today, I launched a N5bn support fund to help reduce the impact of #COVID19 on low-cost private schools in Lagos. The educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March. #EducationMeetsFunding pic.twitter.com/PrKjLhxBXq
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) September 25, 2020
He explained that the facility will benefit 2,000 low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
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“As a responsible Government, we are obligated to provide interventions that would enable learners in schools study in line with the new normal,” the Governor Sanwo-Olu added.
The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said “With this partnership, we are sure that registered educational institutions in Lagos State will have access to funds at subsidised interest rates to meet their needs as they reopen at this auspicious time.”
WHO endorses emergency use of China’s COVID-19 vaccine
China says WHO has approved the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the plans by China to start administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people while clinical trials are still underway.
This disclosure was made by a Chinese Health Commission official, Zheng Zhongwei, during a news conference on Friday, September 25, 2020.
Zheng recalled that China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June. Hundreds of thousands essential workers and other limited groups of people considered at high risk of infection have been given the vaccine, even though its efficacy and safety had not been fully established as Phase 3 clinical trials have not yet been completed.
Zheng at the news conference said, “At End-June, China’s State Council approved a plan of COVID-19 vaccine emergency use program. After the approval, on June 29, we made a communication with the relevant representatives of the WHO Office in China, and obtained support and understanding from WHO.’’
Nairametrics had reported that Chinese Pharmaceutical firms have been quite aggressive about the development of a Covid-19 vaccine with the likes of Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm publicly displaying their vaccine candidate for the first time at a trade fair in Beijing earlier this month.
It was pointed out that China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the US-listed Sinovac Biotech SVA.O, are developing the three vaccines under the state’s emergency use program just as a fourth COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by CanSino Biologics 6185 HK, was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
The WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, while describing it as a temporary solution, said earlier this month in Geneva that national regulatory authorities could approve use of medical products within their own jurisdictions in the current emergency situation.
He emphasized that the long-term solution in the successful development of a Covid-19 vaccine, lay in completion of Phase 3 trials, this is as China has not publicly released full details of its emergency use programme.
Zheng disclosed that China’s annual production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to reach 610 million doses by end-2020 and 1 billion doses by 2021. He said that the price of the vaccine will be affordable for the general public.