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Covid-19: UK Eases All Restrictions July 19th

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday revealed plans to lift most of England’s legal coronavirus restrictions, including face masks and social distancing from July 19, urging personal responsibility rather than government edict.

Johnson had initially aimed for a full reopening on June 21, but was forced to push back the date because of a surge in the highly contagious Delta variant.

That variant now accounts for nearly all new Covid-19 cases in Britain, and infection rates have soared, sparking concern.

But mass vaccinations have stopped a resultant surge in hospital admissions or deaths.

“This pandemic is far from over, it certainly won’t be over by the 19th,” warned Johnson. “We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid.

“There’s only one reason why we can contemplate going ahead… in circumstances where we’d normally be locking down further, that’s because of the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.

“We will move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions,” he said.

Around 86 percent of British adults have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 63 percent their second dose.

But the government’s emphasis on personal judgment was met with concern by scientists, who worry that hospitals and medics could yet be stretched anew if the Delta variant runs amok or new strains emerge.

“Allowing people to make their own choices on this is, effectively, handing control of the safety of such spaces over to the least informed, least caring and indeed the most callous members of society,” said Peter English, former chair of the British Medical Association Public Health Medicine Committee.

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said he would still wear a mask “in any situation which is indoors and crowded” or “if someone else is uncomfortable as a point of common courtesy.”

And he hinted at possible tension between scientists and ministers, telling a news conference: “Ministers decide, advisers advise.”

A snap YouGov poll meanwhile suggested that 71 percent of Britons believe face masks should continue to be mandatory on public transport.

– Travel still in doubt –

After Russia, Britain has the highest coronavirus death toll of any European country, at more than 128,000, but has been gradually transitioning out of its third lockdown imposed in January.

The remaining restrictions in England encompass requirements for social distancing and wearing masks indoors in public, bans on most outdoor large events, and guidance for people to work from home.

The government has already relaxed the ban on major events to allow 60,000 football fans to attend the semi-finals and final of the European Championship at London’s Wembley stadium — two-thirds of its capacity.

The first semi-final is Tuesday and the England team play in the second one on Wednesday — although German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week told Johnson that he was risking too much by permitting so many fans.

The UK government is meanwhile expected later this week to set out plans for fully vaccinated Britons to travel to “amber” countries, which includes most of Europe, without having to quarantine for 10 days on their return.

But Germany and other countries in Europe show no sign of relaxing their own rules to allow in unrestricted numbers of British holidaymakers this summer.

As a result, most Britons will have to remain content with vacationing at home, but will have the attraction of summer music festivals under the planned easing.

They can also anticipate an end to social distancing in pubs, the reopening of nightclubs, and the scrapping of a requirement to register their personal details every time they enter a pub or restaurant.

But businesses can still impose their own rules, and it remains to be seen whether operators of mass transit including Transport for London drop the wearing of masks on trains and buses.

The UK’s other nations — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — set their own health policy and are moving more slowly.

(AFP)

 

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Health

Nigeria Abrogates Pre-travel Covid Tests for Citizens, Visitors

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The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has lifted travel testing requirements for COVID-19 vaccinated Nigerians and visitors.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman PSC on COVID-19, on Monday in Abuja, said that the revised International Travel Protocols would take effect from 4th April 2022.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria joined other countries in adjusting its COVID-19 regulations.

Some leaders are keeping some restrictions on travel and gatherings, while other countries are easing their restrictions.

The World Health Organization has urged countries to follow science rather than imposing flight bans in a bid to contain the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman PSC on COVID-19,

According to Mustapha, In-bound (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test.

He said that on arrival, for fully vaccinated passengers, a sample would be taken at the airport for rapid antigen test by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC ), within the arrival hall of all the country’s points of entry and airports.

“Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the travel platform.

“Fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport;
“Rules that apply to fully vaccinated adults also apply to children aged 10 – 18 years; they will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but not charged.

“All passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to fully comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements in their country of destination,” he said.
The SGF said that the PSC continues to strongly recommend the use of face masks in enclosed environments, adding that in open spaces, the use of face masks is discretional.

The SGF disclosed that the country still has the National Response in place as it continue to monitor global trends and adapt them with the situation in the country.

U.S.Citizens undergoing test during the evacuation from Lagos, Nigeria. 2020

He stressed that there had been a consistent decline in the number of cases around the world but that does not give Nigerians the leverage to let their guards down yet.

Mustapha said there were predictions of rebounds as seen in China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, France, and Hong Kong.

“In fact, China has reintroduced lockdowns in some cities due to the spike in cases.

“So far, the world has recorded over 471 million confirmed cases, 6 million deaths and over 11 billion vaccine doses administered, while in Nigeria, we have recorded 255,103 cases and 3,142 persons have died.

“We have vaccinated over 20 million persons with at least the first dose. This number is not very encouraging, hence, the need for all eligible Nigerians to come out and be vaccinated,” he stated.

Syndicate of Covid-19 fake certificates producers nabbed at MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos

He disclosed that the Port Health Services have so far screened about 2,357 Nigerians evacuated from Ukraine for COVID-19 out of the over 8,000 residents or students living in Ukraine.

He said that out of these passengers, 193 tested positive to COVID-19 and were managed according to the country’s protocols.

He warned Nigerians to be mindful of scammers, especially in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, who come to assist them in accessing the NITP and in the process, register them as children to avoid paying post-arrival test.

According to him, the PSC wishes to put Nigerians on notice that two major religious festivities (Easter and Sallah) are approaching and we shall be experiencing increased passenger traffic in and out of the country.

“While the PSC prepares to escalate surveillance and other control activities, we urge the States and all Nigerians to also increase their vigilance and take measures to moderate activities.
NAN

 

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Health

Painful How Dr. Mailafia Was Allowed to Die By Doctors 

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By Dr. Isuwa Dogo

The death of the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja,  this morning came to us as a great shock. As someone who relentlessly participated in the activities of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), his untimely death has dealt  a deadly blow on ethnic nationalities of not only the Middle Belt but the country at large.

Arising from various enquiries from Nigerians over the circumstances of his death, the Forum wishes to state as follows: That Dr Mailafia arrived Abuja last Sunday September 12, 2021 from Akure and was received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by his wife.

On arrival at home, the wife noticed he was not in the best of health conditions and seemed to be suffering from malaria. After three days of treatment without signs of improvement, he went to the CBN Hospital on Friday September 17, 2021 where he was shabily treated. It took the intervention of a senior medic who immediately placed him on oxygen and admitted him.

Dr Mailafia’s was later given the option of choosing three hospitals: Gwagwalada Hospital, National Hospital and EHA Clinics. The wife opted for the third choice. On arrival at the EHA Clinics, the wife was subjected to yet another moment of anxiety as it took a direct order from the top management of the hospital to accept him.

After few hours of treatment, the EHA Clinics told the wife that it was expedient to transfer the former CBN Deputy Governor to Gwagwalada as the clinic was not fully equipped to handle the case.

The wife opposed the decision and insisted that she was opposed to the idea of taking her husband to Gwagwalada. Mailafia’s wife only succumbed when the consultant assured her that nothing bad will happen to her husband.

Yesterday, Saturday September 18, 2021, Dr Obadiah was transfered to Gwagwalada. on arrival, the name of the doctor that was billed to attend to Dr Mailafia was not on duty. Even when an attempt was made by foreign health consultants to save the situation, the doctor on duty got angry and said he was not obligated to listen to any foreign consultants that had been brought into the matter with the sole purpose of ensuring nothing  goes wrong.

Wife of the former CBN Deputy Governor was asked to pay the sum of N600’000 as deposit even when it was a referral case, with accruing medical bill to be settled by the CBN. At a point, Dr Mailafia complained over his breathing problems and pleaded with the doctors to place him on a ventilator. The doctors flatly refused.
Even after the doctors declared Dr. Mailafia dead, foreign consultants who were brought into the matter through Dr Mailafia’s son that is  living abroad, had directed a family member who is a medical professional, with the wife of the CBN Deputy Governor, to mount pressure on the chest of Dr.  Mailafia for  resuscitation and thereafter place him on a life support.

The doctors in Gwagwalada refused all entreaties by the family members of Dr Mailafia to follow the advice of the foreign consultants, insisting that they have already pronounced him dead. Even when the wife could feel the pulse of her husband, the doctor flatly declared there was nothing they could do since they had already pronounced him dead.

While the above narration sums up the circumstances under which Dr Mailafia died,  we still  await the result of the actual cause of his death. As a nationalist and patriot that he was, Dr. Mailafia  was completely dedicated to the emancipation of ethnic nationalities from the clutches of oppression. The economist was never afraid to speak truth to power just as he remained committed to the enthronement of justice and equity to all citizens across ethnic and religious  divides.

In the twilight of his life, this consummate technocrat and global scholar of repute beamed his searchlight on the raging insecurity ravaging our country. He expressed regrets over government’s incapacity to rein in the activities of insurgents and criminal groups terrorising the nation.

As a former presidential candidate in the 2019 poll, Dr Mailafia sought to deploy politics to bring about the dream he had for his country. Even after he lost the election, he never let down the bar in demanding for a fair treatment for all Nigerians.

The Forum recalls his patriotic zeal in standing up for truth and justice. He was never a letdown in being at the forefront of  showing the way for national greatness as he was willing to lay down his life for Nigeria.

The Forum is inspired by his altruistic disposition and contributions to national development. We remain proud of his footprints on the political, economic and social sands of our nation.

In this period of grief, we extend our sympathy to his immediate family members and pray to the Almighty God to grant each and everyone of them the fortitude to bear the pain of this irreparable loss.

The death of Dr Mailafia today represents a dark day for not only only the Middle Belt but also for all citizens  who yearn for a new dawn for justice in Nigeria.

▪︎ Dogo is the National Publicity Secretary, MBF

Source: Everyday.ng

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Crime

Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation

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Says “It is money versus life”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa at the State House, Abuja, during a visit by Marwa to brief him on the activities of the agency (photo by The Guardian)

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has enjoined members of the National Assembly not to support to move to legalise cannabis, cautioning that members who vote for it might not be able to return to their constituencies.Marwa made the submission yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

The former military administrator of Lagos said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, disclosing that Nigeria was the highest consumer of the substance globally.

Vowing that Nigeria would not submit to the push for its legalisation, Marwa said: “Now, the WHO itself has declared that cannabis affects the brain, alters brain function. It destabilises and affects behaviour. It also affects body organs, and at some point, it can lead to death.

“So, while we appreciate those who want to legalise it for financial gains, we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So, it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.

“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health; it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalisation. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users; this is the highest in the world. Isn’t it sad?

“We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, physics and not highest in cannabis. That is something we need.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the bill because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalisation. They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalisation because we are seeing the implication on the ground. The youth, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalised by the grace of God.”

Marwa, who revealed that he has received constant death threats from criminals in the course of his assignment, said he was not concerned even though he takes precautions.

Specifically, on the threats, he quipped: “Severally! It’s almost a daily occurrence because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, through colleagues, and sometimes people at random whom we don’t know but I live in the territory. That said, we also take precautions.”

The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency, especially the move to construct barracks for personnel of the agency, saying he received a positive response from the president on the initiative.

“Well, the President told us well done. And that well done does not go to Gen. Marwa but the NDLEA officers and men. And if there’s a secret behind it, we thank the Almighty God for the successes recorded so far, and also to the gallant and professional officers and men of the NDLEA who have remained upstanding.”

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