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Coronavirus

Covid-19: WHO team to probe origin of Coronavirus refused entry by China

WHO has disclosed that a team probing the origin of the Coronavirus pandemic was denied entry into China.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said that China has denied entry into the country, a team probing the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic, thereby throwing the expert mission into disarray at the last minute, despite months of negotiations.

According to a report from CNN, this disclosure was made by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a rare criticism by the UN health agency on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

READ: COVID-19: Experts say change in weather and lowering of guard responsible for second wave

The WHO boss said 2 scientists on the United Nations team had already left their home countries for Wuhan, China, when they were informed that Chinese officials had not approved the necessary permissions to enter the country after arrangements had been jointly agreed with China in advance.

A number of experts were due to arrive in China this week for the delicate, much-expected inquiry into establishing how and where the virus got transmitted from animals to humans.

READ: President Donald Trump extends green card and visa ban due to pandemic

What the WHO Director-General is saying

Tedros in a news conference in Geneva said, “I am very disappointed with this news. I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team.”

He said, ‘’WHO was eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible” and that he had been given assurances that Beijing was speeding up the internal procedure for “the earliest possible deployment.”

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READ: China’s economy bounces back from COVID-19 slump, with a growth of 4.9% in Q3 2020

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On his part, the Executive Director of WHO’s health emergencies program, Dr Michael Ryan, said there was an issue with visas and one team member had already returned home. The other was waiting in transit in a third country.

It is widely believed that China is determined to control the origin story of the virus, which has recorded over 1.8 million casualties around the world and devastated global economies, as they have so far resisted pressure for an independent investigation.

READ: EIB provides €50 million support for African pharmaceutical products

The spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, in a press briefing on Wednesday said that China had always held an open, transparent and responsible attitude on tracing the origin of the virus.

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Hua pointed out that China had previously welcomed WHO experts into the country and said that the UN investigation team and Chinese experts have maintained frequent interactions which include 4 video meetings between October and December.

Hua said, “In order to ensure that the international expert group that comes to China can work smoothly, it is needed to fulfil the necessary procedures and make relevant specific arrangements. The two sides are still negotiating about this.’’

READ: China to overtake United States as the world’s biggest economy in 2028

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the first cases of the coronavirus identified in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, prompting criticisms of the uncoordinated, secretive handling by Chinese authorities which led to its spread outside China.
  • The United States and Australia were at the forefront of China’s handling of the initial stages of the pandemic, accusing Beijing of downplaying its severity and preventing an effective response until it became too late.
  • US President Donald Trump, who called the pandemic China virus, has repeatedly blamed China for the global pandemic and announced that the US would terminate its relationship with WHO, over allegations of conspiracy with the Chinese authorities to mislead the world.
  • In May 2020, the WHO agreed to hold an inquiry into the global response to the pandemic after more than 100 countries signed a resolution calling for an independent probe.
  • The visit by WHO-led experts was seen as a very critical way to resolve this dilemma and seek clear answers on how the virus started.
  • As countries around the world are now struggling to deal with the outbreak of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, China appears to be rebounding, last month reporting positive economic growth for the second quarter in a row.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 21st of April 2021, 65 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 164,488 confirmed cases.

On the 21st of April 2021, 65 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 164,488 cases have been confirmed, 154,441 cases have been discharged and 2,061 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

A total of 1.84 million tests have been carried out as of 21st April 20th, 2021 compared to 1.81 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 21st April 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 164,488
  • Total Number Discharged – 154,441
  • Total Deaths – 2,061
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,838,174

According to the NCDC, the 65 new cases are reported from 11 states- Lagos (41), Kaduna (6), Kano (3), Rivers (3), Plateau (3), Akwa Ibom (2), Imo (2), Oyo (2), Edo (1), Bauchi (1), and Osun (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 58,209, followed by Abuja (19,754), Plateau (9,049), Kaduna (9,036), Rivers (7,070), Oyo (6,842), Edo (4,898), Ogun (4,647), Kano (3,942), Ondo (3,226), Kwara (3,120), Delta (2,617), Osun (2,572), Nasarawa (2,380), Enugu (2,281), Katsina (2,097), Gombe (2,034), Ebonyi (2,020), Anambra (1,909), Akwa Ibom (1,843), and Abia (1,683).

Imo State has recorded 1,655 cases, Bauchi (1,540), Borno (1,337), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (1,063), Niger (930), Taraba (910), Bayelsa (885), Ekiti (869), Sokoto (775), Jigawa (527), Kebbi (450), Cross River (394), Yobe (365), Zamfara (240), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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.

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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.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

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Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.

On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVX Astrazeneca/Oxford covid-19 vaccines.

On Saturday, 6th March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo received vaccination against the covid-19 as the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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Coronavirus

FG explains how the Covid-19 vaccines work and their composition

The NPHCDA Director said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action.

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The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has explained the composition of the Covid-19 vaccines and how they work.

This is as some of them have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and some countries, while others are still at different phases of clinical trials for possible approval.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this insight was given by the Executive Director/Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who said there were several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

READ: African Union signs deal for 400 million Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine

He said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action such as the inactivated or weakened virus vaccines.

He explained that the idea behind the formulation of an inactivated or weakened virus vaccine is to elicit an immune response without causing the disease itself. Shuaib also said there were protein-based vaccines, which used harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the Covid-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.

He added that the viral vector vaccines used a virus that had been genetically engineered to produce coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response and not give rise to the disease.

Going further, Shuaib pointed out that the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) vaccines employed a cutting-edge approach that used genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that safely prompted an immune response.

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READ: China publicly presents its COVID-19 vaccines, 2 doses to cost below $146

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that on March 2, 2021, Nigeria received the first set of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute in India and shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
  • A few days ago, the Executive Director of NPHCDA disclosed that a total of 8,491 Nigerians have reacted adversely to the AstraZeneca inoculation since the exercise began on March 15.
  • He said that Nigeria recorded 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI), presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
  • About 1.09 million Nigerians have so far been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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