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155 New COVID-19 Cases recorded in Nigeria



Four people died in Nigeria from complications related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the West African country’s health agency said on Wednesday night.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said total deaths from the virus has risen to 1,155.

The NCDC also said the country recorded 155 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 63,328.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja while giving an update on COVID-19 infections in Nigeria, said that the 155 new cases were recorded in eight states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Giving the breakdown, he said that Lagos State reported the highest number of infections with 85, while the FCT had 23, Ondo State had 18 and Ogun reported eight.

According to the NCDC boss, Kaduna, Oyo and Taraba recorded five each, Kano State, three; Rivers, two and Bauchi State had one.

“Till date, 63,328 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed, 59,675 patients have been discharged and 1,155 deaths have been recorded in the 36 states and the FCT,” Ihekweazu said.

The country has tested 668,729 people since the first confirmed case was reported on February 27, 2020.

The NCDC boss said that his agency had activated a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at Level III to coordinate the national response.

Meanwhile, Ihekweazu has advised the management of schools to provide adequate COVID-19 protective equipment, train their sickbay staff and also ensure the safe disposal of wastes from sickbay to prevent infection.

“We have to take responsibility to stay safe as schools reopen.

“It is crucial to limit the risk of COVID-19 infection across all ages. Parents should take responsibility to protect their children.

“Encourage your children to wear masks. Teach them how to wash their hands frequently, teach them how to cough and sneeze into their elbows and report when feeling sick,” he said.

The NCDC DG urged Nigerians to use their face masks properly and wash their hands before wearing their face masks.

“Ensure it covers your nose and mouth, do not wear it under your nose or chin, do not share your face mask, wash your cloth face mask and dispose medical mask properly after use, he advised”.


UNICEF Seeks $6.4Bn For 300 Million People Needing Humanitarian Aid



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday issued an emergency fund appeal of $6.4bn to reach 300 million people, including more than 190 million children, in crises-hit areas in Africa, Asia and Central America.

The funds, the organisation largest-ever emergency fund appeal, will provide essential aide support and services through the end of 2021.

This appeal is a 35 per cent increase over funds requested for 2020, and a reflection of expanding humanitarian needs globally amidst protracted crises and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

“Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response. We are urging our donors to join us so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the lives of children, particularly the most vulnerable. Routine immunization services for children have been disrupted in more than 60 countries, while nearly a quarter of a billion students worldwide are still affected by COVID-19 school closures. Economic instability is disrupting essential services and making it harder for families to make ends meet and increasing the risk of domestic and gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, new humanitarian crises emerged in 2020. The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has left 2.8 million people in urgent need of assistance. In Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, more than 425,000 people, including 191,000 children, have been displaced. Reports of killings, abductions, recruitment and use of children as soldiers are on the rise. In addition, powerful storms devastated vulnerable communities in Central America and East Asia (namely the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia), affecting 2.6 million and 13.4 million children respectively.

At the same time, the pandemic has worsened protracted emergencies in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine and Venezuela. This coming March will mark 10 years of conflict in Syria and six years of conflict in Yemen, leaving nearly 17 million children in need of humanitarian assistance in these two countries alone.

The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years, threatening food security, increasing water scarcity, forcing people from their homes and increasing the risk of conflict and public health emergencies. An estimated 36 million children, more than ever before, are living in displacement due to conflict, violence and disaster. Malnutrition among children is on the rise in countries around the world.

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children which sets out the agency’s 2021 appeal, UNICEF plans to reach:

  • 149 million women and girls and 7.4 million children with disabilities;
  • 6.3 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 27.4 million children with measles vaccinations;
  • 45 million people with access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene;
  • 19.2 million children and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support;
  • 17 million children and women with access to gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions;
  • 93.3 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning; and
  • 9.6 million households with cash assistance.

As part of its response to COVID-19, UNICEF is putting its massive supply and procurement operation behind rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, with a focus on equity to reach the most vulnerable children and families. This work includes coordinating with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver vaccines to more than 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available. The agency is also co-leading efforts to help governments’ readiness to deploy the vaccines – including by prepositioning syringes, mapping out cold chain equipment, and tackling misinformation.

The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees (US$1.0 billion), Yemen (US$576.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (US$384.4 million), Syria (US$330.8 million) and Venezuela (US$201.8 million).

Putting national and local organizations at the center of humanitarian operations is a key strategy in UNICEF’s humanitarian response. Key results in 2020 were made possible by UNICEF’s partnerships, including with humanitarian country teams, UN agencies, civil society and non-governmental organizations, national and local responders and resource partners. Notable results include:

  • 1.5 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 3.4 million children vaccinated against measles;
  • 3 billion people reached with COVID-19 messaging on prevention and access to services;
  • 1.8 million health care workers provided with personal protective equipment;
  • 45.5 million households benefiting from new or additional social assistance measures provided by governments to respond to COVID-19 with UNICEF support;
  • 2.5 million COVID-19 test kits provided to 56 countries.

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COVID-19: AU Targets Vaccinating 60% Of Africans In 2 Years



COVID-19 Vaccine tests has been successful in different regions of the world/ Shutterstock

In the next two to three years, the African Union is targeting the vaccination of 60% of Africa’s population, against COVID-19.

This was revealed on Thursday by the disease control group of the umbrella body for countries in Africa.

Africa, with a current population of more than 1.3bn people has recorded at least 2.2million COVID-19 cases. The worst-hit country in the continent is South Africa, which has almost 800,000 cases and has recorded more than 21,000 deaths.

While the UN has said it will collaborate with pharmaceutical companies and international organisations to make vaccines available to some African countries, the timing of vaccination has become a major concern.

“We hope that for this to be meaningful, our 60% must be reached in the next two to three years. We should be deliberate in this,” said John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr Nkengasong warned African leaders about the need to start the vaccinations in good time, in order to prevent the disease from becoming endemic.

Read: Kenya Looks To China For COVID-19 Vaccine

He added that there are also logistics problems being faced by the continent, with how to keep vaccines’ cold chains viable also posing a challenge.

“We have a window from now to January and February to keep strengthening our systems, which is the refrigeration,” said Nkengasong.

Africa is one of the least coronavirus-infected regions of the world, but there have been fears about the resurgence of the disease, with new outbreaks recorded in Kenya and South Africa.

An average of 3,000 daily cases being recorded in South Africa, while Kenyan health workers said the increase in the number of cases is affecting its medical systems.

Companies like Pfizer and BioNTech have recorded successes with their COVID-19 trials, with the stronger economies of the world already booking significant doses for their populations.

African countries have been charged to look inwards in their search for a vaccine and also, in the improvement of their health systems.

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Nigeria Records 1 COVID-19 Death, 122 New Cases



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 122 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the country.

The health agency in a post its website on Wednesday said that the new infections were reported from 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The public health agency stated that the new infections had brought the total number of cases in the country to 67,838.

NCDC reports that Nigeria has so far tested 779,708 persons since the first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic was announced on Feb. 27, 2020.

The NCDC said that the country had recorded a total of 1,177 deaths, 67,960 confirmed infections, and discharged 63,839 patients across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The health agency reported one COVID-19-related death in the last 24 hours in the country, adding that 409 patients were treated and discharged from different isolation centres across the country.

The agency stated that Kaduna recorded the highest number of cases with 37 infections, followed by Lagos with 29 infections, Plateau had 25, Ekiti, 9, while River had 5 infections.

Further breakdown showed that Ogun had 5, Edo 4, Kwara 4, Bayelsa 2, while Bauchi and Kano had one each.

It said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre was activated at Level 3, and had continued to coordinate the national response activities.

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