Saudi Arabia’s hajj minister asked Muslims on Tuesday to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage amid uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage over fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities, an unprecedented move that raised uncertainty over the annual hajj. “Saudi Arabia is fully ready to serve pilgrims and umrah seekers,” hajj minister Mohammad Benten told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended prayers inside all its mosques except the two holiest sites in Islam as it increased efforts to contain the new coronavirus. Saudi Arabia is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home.
March 31, 2020 19:18 UTC
Kayode OyeroThe European Union has announced evacuation flights for nationals of its 27 member States in Nigeria, The PUNCH reports. This is just as Nigeria’s cases of COVID-19 hit over 130 with two recorded deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. Member States of the EU include Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Ireland, amongst others. But the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria on Monday disclosed that the EU would evacuate its citizens from Nigeria beginning Thursday, April 2. Opportunity for EU citizens to be placed on a waiting list for flights from Lagos to Munich, April 2; Abuja to Vienna, April 3.
March 31, 2020 18:11 UTC
Eniola Akinkuotu, AbujaThe National Coordinator, Nigeria Sex Workers Association, Amaka Enemo, says sex workers in the country have been forced to suspend activities, especially in Lagos and Abuja due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enemo told The PUNCH on Tuesday that although sex workers offer “essential services” they will remain indoors because their services involve “substantial bodily contact”. Sex workers also offer essential services. However, there is no way sex workers can do their work without body contact. Enemo added, “Of course it is going to affect them financially but sex workers are not the only ones that make money on a daily basis.
March 31, 2020 17:37 UTC
Dayo OjerindeThe Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said he does not know the location of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, in Lagos. Kyari, who tested positive for coronavirus last week, in a statement on Sunday, said he would be in Lagos on Monday for “further tests and observations”. “We are exchanging information but I haven’t asked him for his location. “If we are to put some percentages on the 66 cases, about 33 of them are showing mild symptoms, the remaining 33 are showing moderate disease symptoms just characterised by severe fever, feeling weak, some coughing, headaches and body pains. It is not extending to affect the organs such that we have lung or kidney failure,” Abayomi said.
March 31, 2020 17:25 UTC
Godwin Isenyo, KadunaThere was an attempted jailbreak by some prisoners at the Kaduna Correctional Centre on Tuesday. The prisoners, it was learnt, feared that they might be affected by the deadly virus as a result of the congestion currently being experienced in the correctional facility. A resident close to the correctional facility said that he heard gunshots from the prison. Another source said some of the prisoners attempted to escape to avoid contracting the disease but were unsuccessful. One of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on the telephone that, “We learnt the prison inmates are protesting.
March 31, 2020 16:49 UTC
Sodiq OyelekeEkiti State on Tuesday discharged its index case from isolation centre after testing negative. Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made this known on Tuesday via his verified Twitter handle. The PUNCH reports that the index case in Ekiti was a man who drove a 27-year-old American to the State. Though the American died and his coronavirus result declared inconclusive, the driver tested positive and his female caregiver negative. With this, Ekiti State has no coronavirus patient at its isolation center,” he tweeted.
March 31, 2020 15:09 UTC
The head of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital who met with President Vladimir Putin a week ago has tested positive, he said on Tuesday, as the Kremlin announced the Russian leader’s health was fine. Last Tuesday Denis Protsenko met with the Russian leader who inspected the Kommunarka hospital while wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit. But the 67-year-old Putin was also seen talking to Protsenko without any protective gear. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov swiftly told Russian news agencies that Putin took regular tests and there was no reason to worry about his health. Protsenko said he tested positive but “felt quite well”.
March 31, 2020 14:26 UTC
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says questioning the legality of the presidential order restricting movements in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States is unnecessary as the action is important and backed by extant Nigerian laws. “I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. According to Osinbajo, by virtue of the constitutional rules, the 1926 Act is deemed to be an Act of the National Assembly. He said that the president as well as governors had extensive powers under the Quarantine Act of 1926. Osinbajo urged all interested individuals and groups to personally go through the legislation in order to understand the provisions therein.
March 31, 2020 11:15 UTC
A US military medical ship steamed into New York, where it will relieve pressure on the city’s badly stretched health system. Experts in Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, said the virus would shrink output there this year by up to 5.4 percent. ‘Work continues’After weeks of a national lockdown in Italy, signs were emerging that drastic action could be slowing the spread of the disease. Spain announced another 812 virus deaths in 24 hours, taking it past China, where the disease first emerged in December. Africa’s biggest city, Lagos, joined the global stay-at-home from Monday, with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordering a two-week lockdown for its 20 million people.
March 31, 2020 09:33 UTC
The Oyo State Government has discharged its COVID-19 index case. Adisa explained that the release of the patient was consequent upon the completion of his treatment at the Agbami Chest Hospital Isolation Centre, Ibadan. He said, “The index case had been on self-isolation at a private residence in Ibadan until he was transferred to the Isolation Centre on March 23. “The index case was released after two consecutive negative tests.”Adisa quoted the State’s Incident Manager, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, as saying the released patient is well and very stable and is now back to his house. He added that the government would follow-up the index case with the necessary treatments.
This is just as the UK Government pledged up to £75 million to bring stranded UK citizens back home giving priority to citizens on short-term visits outside the UK and those with underlying health conditions. She said, “I fully understand the anxiety that COVID-19 is causing UK citizens here in Nigeria. It is my top priority to support British citizens here. Raab said, “This is a worrying time for many British citizens travelling abroad. “We are negotiating intensely with countries around the world to secure permissions for return flights where airspace has been closed.”
Tanzania on Tuesday recorded its first death from coronavirus, a 49-year-old man who had underlying health issues, the health ministry said. “I regret to announce the first death of coronavirus patient early this morning. The 49-year old man had other health complications,” Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said in a statement, without giving details. I also ask Tanzanians to continue working hard,” he added. His comment was criticised by other politicians who said Tanzania should actually consider closing churches and mosques to avoid spreading coronavirus.
Sodiq OyelekeWeeks before he was set to graduate at the Western Michigan University, a Nigerian-America student, Bassey Offiong, died from coronavirus after being refused a test several times in Michigan. The PUNCH gathered that the deceased is a 25-year-old college student studying Chemical Engineering at the Michigan-based university. A relative to the deceased told The PUNCH that he tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Offiong’s cousin, Rosalyn Afiong, added that the student died on Sunday, describing the deceased as a “shining light.”“My dear sweet cousin, this is unreal. According to his sister, Offiong was refused testing several times despite showing symptoms of the deadly virus.
March 31, 2020 08:37 UTC
The Ondo State Government has given further reasons for a total shutdown of markets in the state, due to persistent flouting of social distancing regulation. “Government made it clear from the first directive, in respect of markets, those life-saving items like food, water and medicines were excluded from the order regulating crowds at the markets. “Nonetheless, the sales of those listed items like food, water and medicines will still suffice, but not in the congregational manner as it is in the markets. “But this must be in conformity with the regulations guiding social distancing and crowd control. “Therefore, any shop or supermarket found to encourage unwholesome crowds in contravention of the regulations shall be closed down without delay by the monitoring team.
March 31, 2020 06:22 UTC
Coming amid lockdown of major cities, especially Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, mots fuel station belonging to the major marketers as well as independent marketers were under lock. Worsened by panic buying, The Guardian observed that residents were stocking petrol products to power their generating sets to cushion the effects of the compulsory lockdown. One of the consumers, identified as Joy Adejo stated that since the state of the power supply remained epileptic, stocking the products would assist to bridge any gap. The state of power supply is not guaranteed,” Adejo said. There have however been mixed reactions over the level of petrol availability in the country as NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources presented conflicting figures over the weekend.
March 31, 2020 05:15 UTC