China has announced that a team of 10 World Health Organization (WHO) scientists will visit the country on Thursday, more than a year after the pandemic was first discovered in the city of Wuhan, China.
The WHO team are expected to work with Chinese experts to probe the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, amid accusations that China tried to frustrate the investigation.
This was disclosed in a statement by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Monday, without providing further details.
While confirming the WHO’s visit to China at a press conference on Monday, the spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, pointed out that since the outbreak of Covid-19; China, in an open, transparent manner, has maintained close communication and cooperation with the WHO on the origin tracing probe.
Zhao noted that tracing the origin of Covid-19 will likely involve multiple countries with a more and deepened understanding of the virus with WHO conducting similar probes in other countries and regions.
What the Director-General of WHO is saying
In reaction to the announcement by China, the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Monday tweeted,
- “We welcome China’s announcement regarding the international team examining the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. We look forward to working closely with our counterparts on this critical mission to identify the virus source and its route of introduction to the human population.’’
The long-anticipated mission is of great political significance at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world, caused almost 2 million deaths, and brought the global economy to a virtual standstill.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in a rare rebuke, the WHO Director-General, some days ago, expressed his disappointment with China over the last-minute delay of the earlier planned mission, with the denial of entry of the WHO team into their country, especially as 2 members of the team were already on their way.
- The Chinese authority, however, sought to downplay the incident, calling it a misunderstanding.
- Government officials have repeatedly said that tracing the origins of the pandemic was a “scientific matter”, and has even pushed theories it originated outside China.
- Experts are of the opinion that solving the mystery of how it first moved from animals to humans is crucial to preventing another pandemic, but China’s tight control of its scientific research leaves little hope of finding definitive conclusions.
FG says N10 billion disbursed funds not only for Covid-19 vaccines
FG has clarified that the N10 billion it earlier disbursed was not only for the development of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health on Monday, reported by NTA.
Following the announcement of the disbursement of the sum of N10 billion to the Ministry of Health for the development of Covid-19 vaccine, the Joint Committee scheduled a meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Health for clarifications on the funds.
“The joint committee is invited to note that N10 billion has been released, to the Federal Ministry of Health under the budgetary vote referenced in above,” Akabueze said.
Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on health, said the Committee wanted to know what the use of the funds was for and urged against the implementation of a lockdown.
“We got to see that what was released was in line with what was already there, for preparing the country for all other vaccines arrangements
“So our economy, we only need to live with covid, we cannot with due respect, contaminate Nigeria with a lockdown, it will badly affect our economy,” Oloriegbe said.
The committee also said the total aim is to see how Nigeria can develop its capacity towards the development of vaccines,
The Joint Committee, therefore, resolved that the Minister of Health who was absent at the meeting should appear before it on Tuesday for a breakdown on the proposed use of the funds.
What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.
Covid-19: U.S. donates field hospital worth $1.3m to Nigeria
The United States of America has donated a field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.
The United States has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.
The U.S. has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria, in a bid to further contain the spread of Covid-19 cases and its related deaths.
According to a report by The Nation, the field hospital is located at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja.
The facility contains four fully equipped, negative pressure isolation facilities with the capacity to house up to 40 patients, an administrative unit, a 160-kw auxiliary generator, as well as other support equipment such as beds, sub-floors, showers and lavatories.
The facility was donated to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health by the United States Department of Defence’s U.S. Africa Command, with support from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
The facility was manufactured and built in the US by Alaska Structures, while a team of Nigerians assembled it in Abuja.
The facility was commissioned by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard.
What they are saying
Ambassador Leonard noted that:
“As we celebrate 60 years of U.S.-Nigeria diplomatic relations, and many years of health partnerships, it is deeply satisfying to look back on the many ways we have worked together to improve the health, safety and security of the Nigerian people,
“Supporting the healthcare workers who are caring for patients at this facility and across the country, is critical to Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
What you should know
According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Monday 25th January 2021
- The total number of cases stood at 122,996.
- The total number of death stood at 1,507.
- The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,270,523.
Covid-19: FG extends phase 3 eased lockdown by one month
The FG has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month.
The Federal Government has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
This follows the rising cases of coronavirus disease across the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, January 25, 2021.
Mustapha said that over the last few weeks, the PTF had been closely following the rising number of infections reported daily in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions.
He stated that the daily statistics for Nigeria as at January 24, indicated that cases were 121,566, with about 1,270,523 tests conducted so far. The active cases were 22,834, which is about 19.4%, with 1,504 casualties and 97,228 patients discharged.
He also said that over 7 days ending January 23, the statistics showed that tests conducted were 58,974 while cases recorded were 11,179, with 62 deaths and 23,568 active cases.
What the Chairman of PTF on Covid-19 is saying
While speaking on phase 3 eased lockdown, Mustapha said the PTF is reviewing the guidelines on the implementation of phase 3 of the eased lockdown which is due to expire on Monday, January 25, 2021.
He said, “In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating, all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26.’’
On PTF’s management of Covid-19, the PTF chairman said, “The management of cases is gradually improving with the availability of medical oxygen. Government is also fast-tracking the rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new ones as approved by the President.
“The PTF has advanced in the deployment of resources for the national testing week and continues to review the bottlenecks affecting the turnaround time for testing.
“The PTF is improving on the International Travel Portal to minimise the challenges passengers keep encountering,” he said.
He also said the country is expected to take the delivery of 100,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in early February with assurances that the vaccines will be safe and effective when eventually deployed.
What you should know
- The Federal Government had in September 2020, announced the easing of lockdown guidelines for phase 3 due to a drop in the number of Covid-19 infections across the country.
- However, following, a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country with a record number of daily infections recorded, the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Governments has moved to ensure the strict enforcement of the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines to curb its spread.