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Coronavirus

COVID-19: WHO advises vaccine firms and wealthy nations to stop bilateral deals

WHO has called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and the wealthier countries buying them to stop making bilateral deals.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today called on makers of COVID-19 vaccines and the wealthier countries buying them to “stop making bilateral deals,” noting bilateral deals hurt a U.N.-backed effort to widen access to the jabs.

He appealed to countries that have more jabs than they need to make some available to the COVAX Facility — the U.N.-backed project to get vaccines deployed widely.

READ: EU to buy $478 million WHO COVID-19 vaccine for low and middle income countries

He noted that 42 countries are now rolling out such vaccines, mostly high-income and a few middle-income countries.

Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies chief, reckons the appeal comes as the world has faced high case in recent weeks; with about 4 million new confirmed infections per week.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

What they are saying

Ghebreyesus stated that:

“Now, we are also seeing both high- and middle-income countries that are part of COVAX making additional bilateral deals,” he told reporters in Geneva. “This potentially bumps up the price for everyone and means high-risk people in the poorest and most marginalized countries don’t get the vaccine.”

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“I urge countries and manufacturers to stop making bilateral deals at the expense of COVAX,” said Tedros, the WHO director-general.

READ: Covid-19: UK extends travel ban to international passengers from 11 African countries

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a special adviser to the WHO chief, said “50% of high-income countries are deploying vaccines — and “zero percent” of poor countries are.”

“That is not equitable access,” he said.

Sharon Castillo, a Pfizer spokeswoman, said her company and BioNTech “are firmly committed to equitable and affordable access” to their vaccine for people around the world.

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READ: COVID-19 vaccine: Africa to get 50 million doses from Pfizer and BionTech

“As it relates to COVAX, we support its goal to supply two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021 to countries around the world, with half of those going to (low- and middle-income countries)” she said. “We are in active negotiations with COVAX to help it reach this goal and hope to finalize an agreement very soon.”

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

What you should know

  • COVAX is a multilateral initiative aimed at ensuring global fair and equitable access, to accelerate up-front investment essential to deliver vaccine doses as soon as they become available.
  • Team Europe contributed €500million to COVAX initiative to provide one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for low-and middle-income countries.
  • The €500 million comprises €400 million from the European Investment Bank, which was guaranteed by the European Fund for Sustainable Development, towards supporting the participation of low- and middle-income economies in COVAX Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC); as well as
  • The grant support of €100 million from the European Commission to COVAX AMC.
  • This funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank is expected to ensure that lower income economies are not left behind.
  • The COVAX Facility has secured access so far to nearly 2 billion doses of vaccines produced by Swedish-British pharmaceutical maker AstraZeneca and its partner Oxford; the Serum Institute of India; U.S. giant Johnson & Johnson; and the partnership of France’s Sanofi and GSK of Britain.

 

Adeyemi holds a PhD in Accounting Sciences. He has worked in the Educational Sector and as an Independent Consultant.

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    Business News

    COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

    On the 11th of April 2021, 57 new confirmed cases and death was recorded in Nigeria

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    Covid 19 update symptops

    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 163,793 confirmed cases.

    On the 11th of April 2021, 57 new confirmed cases and death was recorded in Nigeria.

    To date, 163,793 cases have been confirmed, 154,107 cases have been discharged and 2,060 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

    A total of 1.8 million tests have been carried out as of April 11th, 2021 compared to 1.7 million tests a day earlier.

    COVID-19 Case Updates- 11th April 2021,

    • Total Number of Cases – 163,793
    • Total Number Discharged – 154,107
    • Total Deaths – 2,060
    • Total Tests Carried out – 1,803,177

    According to the NCDC, the 57 new cases are reported from 7 states- FCT (20), Lagos (19), Bayelsa (7), Kaduna (4), Rivers (3), Osun (3) and Jigawa (1).

    Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 57,969, followed by Abuja (19,723), Plateau (9,030), Kaduna (8,989), Rivers (6,999), Oyo (6,838), Edo (4,893), Ogun (4,621), Kano (3,930), Ondo (3,226), Kwara (3,120), Delta (2,617), Osun (2,553), Nasarawa (2,378), Enugu (2,259), Katsina (2,097), Gombe (2,034), Ebonyi (2,017), Anambra (1,909), Akwa Ibom (1,810), and Abia (1,683).

    Imo State has recorded 1,655 cases, Bauchi (1,540), Borno (1,337), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (1,051), Niger (930), Taraba (910), Bayelsa (878), Ekiti (868), Sokoto (775), Jigawa (527), Kebbi (450), Cross River (385), Yobe (365), Zamfara (234), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

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

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    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.

    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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    Business

    Lagos eases restrictions on social, event centres, sets new occupancy limit

    The state government has pegged the occupancy limit for event centres in Lagos to 500 people while social events can now have 200 people at a time.

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    The Lagos state government has further eased restrictions on social and event centres in the state. This follows due consultations and deliberations between the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanow-Olu, and relevant stakeholders and MDAs.

    The state government has pegged the occupancy limit for event centres in Lagos to 500 people while social events can now have 200 people at a time.

    This disclosure is contained in a statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Yusuff, and the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola, on Friday, April 9, 2021.

    The statement noted that safety marshals will be deployed to any social event with over 200 people and event centre exceeding the 500 limits.

    READ: Lagos Govt seals Queens Park Event Centre, Oniru for contravening COVID-19 protocol

    The statement partly reads, “All event centres must hold a valid license of The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event centre in the State.

    “All event centres must be duly registered and verified on The Lagos State Safety Commission website www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding any event.

    An Event Safety Clearance must be obtained from the Lagos State Safety Commission through the website www.lasgsafetyreg.com for any proposed event or exhibition.

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    Safety Marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.

    READ: Lagos state government reacts to reopening of event centers, clarify guidelines

    Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50% of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein Occupancy Limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly posted at the entrance of the event hall.

    Maximum allowable capacity for event centres irrespective of the occupancy limit is 500 people. Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event. Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be 6 (six) people on a table of 10 persons.

    Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of 6-hours. All guests and service providers at the facility must wear a nose mask and make use of hand sanitisers All guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or in the alternative use hand sanitisers. Temperature checks must be taken at all entry points into a facility.

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    Guests and service providers with temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on the ground. Hand sanitizers must be positioned at the entry points and different spots within the hall.

    All event centres must endeavour to display standard COVID-19 safety signs. The signs must be bold and installed at conspicuous locations. Event centre owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff.

    In case you missed it

    • It can be recalled that in July 2020, the Lagos State Government had issued fresh guidelines on the reopening of event and social centres following their shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
    • The state government insisted that the owners of such facilities must register with the government pending further directives.

     

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