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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.’’
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.
Covid-19: 70% of doctors in Nigeria are infected – NARD
NARD has claimed that the majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has claimed that majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.
This is according to Dr Adejo Arome, NARD’s First Vice President while speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday.
Arome said that almost 70% of its members in “clinical practice” are infected with Covid-19. He also lamented that “almost all the doctors in the UCH Pediatrics Department, Lafia in Nasarawa State, had been infected with COVID-19.”
Dr Arome noted that he had been personally exposed to COVID-19 but could not be tested due to lack of access to a testing facility.
He also complained that some hospitals do not only lack hand gloves, they give one face mask to each of their doctors to use for two days.
The association noted that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its members and non-disclosure of true symptoms of sickness by people seeking treatment is contributing to this infection rate.
NARD is, thus, appealing to the government to come up with policies that would make it unlawful for patients to hide their medical conditions.
What they are saying
Arome, speaking on Channels TV, illustrated the challenges facing doctors in this pandemic era. He said:
“I must tell you that the morale among we doctors is very low at this point in time. It is so disheartening that the number of health workers being infected with Covid-19 is increasing daily – and it seems nothing is being done to reduce this number.
I heard that almost all the doctors in certain health facilities, including the UCH are infected. It is like that every day and I believe that every doctor in clinical practice should have been exposed to Covid-19.
Apart from PPE, people are not being truthful. They go to one hospital the doctor there tells them this is what I’m suspecting and when they are told what is wrong, they run away praying and thinking that they will get a different diagnosis elsewhere.
“I think it is high time the Federal Government stepped up and brought out policies that will make it unlawful for patients and their relatives to come to the hospital and lie to doctors because by so doing, they are currently exposing us and our families.
“In a pandemic, every patient coming into your consulting room is suspected to have COVID-19 until proven otherwise. But the truth is when we don’t have everything that we need to work with, you don’t expect the doctor that is treating the patients not to examine them.
“You will go to some hospitals and they will give a doctor one face mask for two days. You don’t even have gloves. You keep on writing prescriptions for patients to buy gloves and you as a doctor will feel bad because some people don’t even have food to eat, so why should you be writing them prescriptions to be buying gloves?
“Once one of us gets exposed, that person ends up exposing more than 4,000 patients because the doctor-patient ratio in this country is one to about 4,000 patients.”
What you should know
The weekly epidemiological report of COVID-19 situation by the NCDC shows that:
- Lagos has the highest number of covid-19 related deaths – 271 (18.9%).
- Edo State recorded 127( 8.9%) deaths out the 1,435 so far in the country.
- The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has 118 (8.2%)
According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Sunday 24th January 2021
- The total number of cases stood at 121,566.
- The total number of death stood at 1,497.
- The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,258,534.
Lagos State already making contacts with vaccine manufacturers – Sanwo-Olu
Governor Sanwo-Olu has stated that the Lagos State Government has commenced talks with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state has started talks with vaccine manufactures, citing that the state will only work with frontline suppliers.
This was disclosed by the Governor during an interview on Channels TV on Sunday evening.
“We want the Federal government to take the lead and rightfully so, as a sovereign they have all of the protocol and contacts to make that happen.
“We are conversing, we have a meeting on Tuesday with PTF and NCDC under the Federal umbrella. We want the nation to take the lead (vaccine procurement) and as a state, we are giving them that space, because they are a sovereign they can have that conversation,” the Governor said.
The Governor stated that Lagos has started conversations with companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer and will skip the operations of middlemen so as not to run foul of protocols.
“But other than that, as a sub-national, we are also taking our destiny to our hands, we have started conversations with some of the vaccine manufacturers,
“Pfizer, for example, we have made contact with them. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, I have made contacts with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet
“We are making our own sub-national contacts, parts of the things that will come out of it is that once we see what the nation is doing because this is something that we do not want to deal with middlemen or people that are not the frontline suppliers,
“We don’t want to run foul of the protocols, but we have started making contacts at board level with the manufacturers.
“How that will work out, we still have a week or 2, but we have started making contacts already,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos does not have to vaccinate the 20 million population, but “The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50-60% of your population.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last week that the Governor warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos has seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-liter cylinders per day to 350 six-liter cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
- The Governor added that Lagos is closely monitoring plans by the FG to acquire vaccines and said the State has also resumed discussion with potential manufacturers. He also said the State is building its own regulatory framework for vaccine distribution.
Covid-19: EU says it will force vaccine companies to respect supply contract
The EU has said that it will push pharmaceutical companies to fulfill commitments to the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The European Union (EU) has said that it will make pharmaceutical companies respect contracts they have signed for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The statement by the EU follows a series of delays and slowdowns in the supply of the vaccines from some drugmakers.
According to a report from Reuters, this disclosure was made by the European Council President, Charles Michel, while speaking to Europe 1 radio on Sunday, January 24, 2021.
Michel in his statement said, “We plan to make the pharmaceutical companies respect the contracts they have signed … by using the legal means at our disposal.’’
While he made no mention of possible sanctions, Michel said that the EU would insist on transparency about the reasons for the delays.
He pointed out that after Pfizer’s first warnings about delays of several weeks, the EU had managed to reduce these delays by taking a tough stance.
Michel also said, “We banged our fist on the table and finally announced delays of several weeks turned into a slowdown of deliveries.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that Pfizer Inc last week announced that it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.
- On Friday, AstraZeneca also said that initial deliveries to the region will fall short because of a production glitch.
- Pfizer had been set to deliver about 80 million doses of the Covid-19 to the 27 countries by March.