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Clinical trials on COVID-19 vaccine show promising results, says NCDC

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COVID-19: NCDC confirms 1,634 new infections, toll now 133,552

…As Saudi Arabia extends coronavirus curfew, UAE warns on worker repatriation***

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that while there is no known vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), some trials have shown promising results in laboratory studies.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, stated this on Sunday in Abuja, noting that it takes time to obtain accurate results from such clinical trials.

“Some of the trials have shown promising results in laboratory studies but have not yet been proven in humans.

“The best option, for now, is to avoid self-medication as it may lead to complications and death.”

Ihekweazu said that there were currently no approved treatments or preventative therapeutic strategies.

“Many clinical studies have been registered with the intention of discovering effective treatments.

“COVID-19 has rapidly developed into a worldwide pandemic with a significant health and economic burden,” he stressed.

Also read:  NAFDAC: No vaccines would secure Nigeria’s usage approval, in next one year

The NCDC boss said that since there was currently no specific treatment for COVID-19 pandemic, people with COVID-19 infection can benefit from supportive care.

“They can be managed to recovery if symptoms are reported early, particularly for people with underlying health conditions,” he said.

Ihekweazu urged all healthcare workers to continue to observe standard precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment when caring for patients known or suspected of COVID-19.

He said that until the World Health Organisation(WHO), have clear, definitive evidence that ongoing clinical trials were safe and effective for the management of COVID-19, but that they were no treatment.

Ihekweazu said that NCDC will continue to inform Nigerians on the progress of clinical trials on the management of pandemic and provide them with facts to protect their health.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia extended a nationwide curfew until further notice, due to the coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

This was after the kingdom reported more than 300 new infections on each of the last five days.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) warned of possible action against countries refusing to allow migrant workers to be repatriated.

Saudi Arabia placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour curfew last week, locking down much of the population.

Residents are allowed to leave their houses only for essential needs inside their residential area.

Elsewhere, the curfew which began on March 23 runs from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The country has recorded 4,462 infections with 59 deaths, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states where the total surpassed 14,000 with 96 deaths.

Saudi Arabia has halted international flights, suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage, and closed most public places.

Other Gulf Arab states have taken similar precautions and seen the virus spread among low-wage foreign workers, many living in overcrowded accommodation.

Millions of migrant labourers, mainly from Asian countries, including Nepal, India and the Philippines, are among the region’s large expatriate population.

Bahrain said 45 of 47 new cases reported on Sunday were foreign workers.

The United Arab Emirates, the region’s tourism and business hub, has the second highest regional load at 3,736 cases and 20 deaths.

It warned it would review labour ties with countries refusing to take back citizens, including those who lost their jobs or were put on leave, and said it was considering strict quotas for work visas issued to nationals of those states.

“Several countries have not been responsive about allowing back their citizens who have applied to return home under the current circumstances,” the Human Resources and Emiratisation Ministry said, without specifying which countries.

India’s ambassador to the UAE on Saturday said India cannot repatriate large numbers of nationals while trying to combat the virus at home.

“Once the lockdown in India is lifted, we will certainly help them get back to their hometowns and their families,” Pavan Kapoor told the Gulf News daily.

Pakistan’s ambassador said the embassy was waiting for permission from Islamabad for repatriation flights and was hoping for “positive news soon”.

“We are very keen to bring Pakistanis back but we need to finalise our treatment and quarantine facilities,” Ghulam Dastgir said.

Aiming to contain the spread among foreign workers, Qatar has locked down a large section of an industrial area, Dubai sealed off two commercial districts and Oman closed off its Muscat governorate, which includes the capital.

Kuwait said late on Saturday airlines could operate outbound flights to repatriate foreigners.

 

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German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

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German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

The large German services trade union Verdi and environmental organisation Greenpeace held protests to express opposition to online retailer Amazon’s Black Friday discount campaign on Friday.

Verdi is reiterating demands for improved pay for workers and for Amazon to recognise the deals it reaches with other employers in the retail sector.

However, Amazon and Verdi have long been at loggerheads over recognising the trade union in the company’s distribution centres.

Meanwhile, Amazon has rejected Verdi’s criticism, pointing to starting wages including bonuses of at least €13.00 ($13.50) per hour.

Greenpeace has accused Amazon of incentivising excessive consumption, refuse from packaging and the waste of resources.

Demonstrators held up a banner reading: “Black Friday: Destruction of Nature as Business Model,’’ at the company’s headquarters in Munich.

Amazon points to its efforts to cut pollution and CO2 emissions by shifting to electrically powered delivery vehicles among other measures. 

– dpa

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

Member States of Accra Initiative have agreed to operationalise a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) within a month to tackle the spread of terrorism and other transnational organised crimes.

In a communique issued on Tuesday at the end of their meeting in Accra, Ghana, the members agreed to be innovative and provide operational tools to tackle the security challenges.

The Accra Initiative countries are Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

They “expressed their deep concern for the dramatic expansion of terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and transhumance consequences in their countries.

“Expressed their sympathy and full support to the Member States and their populations who face violent extremism and terrorism on a daily basis.

“Took note of the commitments by partners to support the Accra Initiative in the fight against terrorism in the sub-region.

“Reaffirmed their commitment to mobilise the necessary indigenous resources to operationalise within a month, the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Accra Initiative (MNJTF/AI).”

The summit recommended that concrete actions, including fundraising, be taken to support the countries severely affected by terrorism.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Accra Initiative was held under the chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

The summit agreed to operationalise the MNJTF which would conduct Operation Enhanced Koudanlgou after it received a briefing from the Chief of Defence Staff of Ghana, Vice Adm. Seth Amoama.

The communique also said that the summit took note of the will of Nigeria to designate representatives to the Headquarters of MNJTF/AI.

“At the end of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the idea of organising an International Conference on the Accra Initiative and are pleased with the good progress of the activities.

“They took note of the report of the activities of the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative of Nov. 21 in Accra

“They congratulated the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative and the Non-State Actors for the quality of the conclusions of their work.

“Expressed their deep appreciation to the European Union for its support in making the International Conference on the Accra Initiative possible.”

The communique also said that they expressed deep appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, for his leadership in making the summit a success.

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

A 16-year-old girl with mental health difficulties has given birth after a judge in London gave doctors the go-ahead to perform a caesarean section without her consent, lawyers said.

Justice Cobb said it would be lawful for specialists to operate on the teenager, who is in council care, if necessary.

The judge made a ruling at a public hearing in the Court of Protection in London on Friday but embargoed reporting until the baby had been born.

Lawyers representing hospital bosses responsible for her treatment and care said the girl has given birth.

Cobb was told that the girl had a “history of sexual exploitation,” post-traumatic stress disorder and an anxiety disorder.

He said she could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Bosses at the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, had asked the judge to decide what moves were in the teenager’s best interests.

Specialists said they thought the teenager’s mental health difficulties made delivery by caesarean section the only “realistic” option.

They said efforts to induce had been unsuccessful because of the youngster’s problems.

Barrister Peter Mant, who led the trust’s legal team, told the judge that the youngster’s views on giving birth had changed repeatedly recently.

Mant said specialists thought it was in the girl’s best interests to have a caesarean section.

He said there was “a significant risk of stillbirth.”

The teenager, who was represented by barrister Mungo Wenban-Smith, said she wanted to deliver her baby naturally.

She told the judge that she had a strong wish to give birth with the least intervention and to be awake and aware when her baby was born.

Judges in the Court of Protection consider issues relating to people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Evidence indicated that the teenager’s capacity to make decisions “fluctuated,” the judge was told.

Cobb said doctors should make one last attempt to induce but ruled that performing a caesarean section would be lawful if necessary.

The judge embargoed reporting after lawyers raised concern about the girl recognizing herself in reports and behaving in a way which might put her and the baby at risk. 

-dpa

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