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India Ready to Supply Nigeria COVID-19 Vaccines – Envoy

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India is ready to supply its coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to Nigeria, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, has said.

News Central reports that the Indian government will roll out the vaccines next week.

The Commissioner made this known on Saturday in Abuja at the commemoration of the 16 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PDB) convention, also known as the Indian Diaspora Day.

He said the vaccines would be made available on concessional terms after completing all the necessary registration requirements with the Nigerian government.

“We will be rolling out next week as the vaccines are already announced, so we will be quite keen to be applying for the necessary registrations, with the regulatory authorities of Nigeria.

“And we will be very happy to supply, on either concessional terms, or any other needs that may be projected by the government of Nigeria.

“In fact, we will like to go out and engage the external world, particularly because we have performed well not only during the COVID period, but in earlier pandemics and contributions to anti AIDS drugs for Africa.

“We will be ready to collaborate when the registration process, as may be required, is completed, and I am sure this will be an important area of collaboration between our two countries.

“We will have to discuss this with the government of Nigeria. Let it be registered first, and we will have to get the approval process,” Thakur said.

He said this exchange would further strengthen the existing relations between India and Nigeria, adding that the Indian Community in Nigeria had supported Nigeria immensely in its fight against COVID-19.

Thakur said that the pandemic had further shown the strength of the linkages between both countries, as resilient partners, noting that bilateral and business relations had continued even amid the pandemic.

Speaking on the essence of the PBD, Thakur said the Indian diaspora in Nigeria had adopted Nigeria as their second country,” seeing India as the country of their birth, while Nigeria as the country of their work”.

The High Commissioner said the Indian community and companies had consistently contributed to the welfare of Nigeria, lauding the recent cash donation of over N100 million by the Indian Community Organization.

“They have been constantly contributing not only to Indian welfare but more importantly to Nigeria, which is our message to the Indian community that they must contribute to the country in which they live and perform their duties.

“And I am very happy to say most recently the Indian Community Organization raised over N100 million and actually earmarked a 50-bed hospital and donated it, with the equipment and facilities there, to the department of health of Lagos, which has been highly appreciated”, the envoy said

Thakur said that to further strengthen bilateral ties, both countries could work out linkages between the Indian professional, cultural associations and Indian companies, and leading Nigerian businesses, in trade and investments.

In a virtual message, Abike Dabiri, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) also reiterated the need for stronger collaborations between the diasporas of the two countries.

Dabiri pledged that in fulfilment of its mandate, NIDCOM would ensure a powerful collaboration between the two counties.

“There should be a strong collaboration between the Indian diaspora and the Nigerians diaspora.

“Imagine the India diaspora excelling all over the world, it can’t be enough and you can be a Nigerian diaspora excelling all over the world and it still can’t be enough.

“But imagine both coming together, that will be a powerful collaboration and we can achieve it,“ Dabiri said.

Selva Elvis Panner, President, Indian Cultural Association, Abuja, said the Association had continued to advocate Indian diaspora to be disciplined, law abiding and imbibe peaceful habits in the country.

Panner said the community would continue to contribute to the Nigerian society economically, socially and culturally, pointing at the PBD celebration as a fine indicator of the strengthening ties of the Indian community with their motherland.

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Lagos in Discussions to Provide Residents COVID-19 Vaccines – CJ

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Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos State, has begun plans to make COVID-19 vaccines available for residents in the states.

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who disclosed the Lagos government has begun discussions with COVID-19 vaccines manufacturer, noted that move became necessary following rising cases of patients needing treatments urgently.

Onigbanjo also dismissed claims that the Lagos Government is incapable and unwilling to enforce compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

He said, “It is correct that Lagos State has the highest number of infections and sadly fatalities from COVID-19 in Nigeria. The State Government itself never shied away from admitting that Lagos is indeed the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria. But is it “business-as-usual”? Most certainly not.

“Since the first index patient was confirmed on 27 February 2020, Lagos State Government has led from the front in tackling the pandemic. It was Lagos State who also first introduced; reduced working hours for all sectors of the economy in the State; directed that all its staff between levels 1-14 should work from home; closed all bars, gyms, lounges and cinemas; restricted restaurants to offering take-out services only; and closed worship centres.

“The first lockdown, to contain the pandemic was declared in Lagos on March 30, 2020.

“The first fully equipped isolation centres sprang up in Lagos. At its peak the State had a total bed space of 600 reserved exclusively for COVID-19 patients. The State also led and still leads nationwide in administering COVID- 19 tests.

“As at date we are testing about 3000 persons a day from 60 public and 20 private Sample collection centres, spread out across 57 Local Government and Central Public Health Labs in the state.

“Thousands of people have been successfully treated and discharged from our isolation centres and home based care to date.

“When the second wave started, Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (even while just recovering from being infected with the virus) addressed a press conference on 18 December 2020 and shut down, nightclubs, lounges, concerts and bars.

“A plan to construct three oxygen plants was launched and on the 8th of January 2021 the first installed oxygen plant was commissioned at Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba. This is capable of producing 60 large cylinders a day of high grade medical oxygen.

“The state government is also currently discussing with vaccine manufacturers with a view to making vaccines available to Lagosians,” Onigbanjo concluded.

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Malawi Records 562 New COVID-19 Infections, 9 Deaths in 24 Hours

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562 people tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in 24 hours nationwide, Malawi’s Presidential Task force has said.

The Presidential Task Force on CoVID-19 added that nine people died from the virus in the period.

Dr. John Phuka, the co-chairperson of the task force, said that 18 new recoveries were recorded.

According to him, hospital admissions are at the highest with at 167 in 18 hospitals across the country; Blantyre still as the highest at 71.

“We should not despair or lose hope as we can stop the spread of the disease if all of us act decisively and choose to adhere to the preventive measures,” Phuka said.

“I have observed that there is fear, worry, stress and anxiety among the public with how the disease is spreading. Let me point it out that these are expected responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown.

“As such, it is expected that people are experiencing fear in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as Covid-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus.”

Malawi has so far confirmed about 10 000 coronavirus cases and 275 deaths – including two cabinet ministers.

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Nigeria Records 7 COVID-19 Deaths, 1,598 New Infections

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Nigeria’s health agency on Saturday night reported no fewer than 1,598 new cases of COVID-19, bringing total confirmed cases in the country to 108,943.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) also reported seven deaths from complications related to the deadly virus.

The NCDC, on its official Twitter handle, said the total infections in the country is now 108,943 with 22,156 active cases and 1,420 fatalities.

The country has so far tested 1,147, 523 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on February 27, 2020.

The Nigeria’s public health institute said that the new infections were reported from 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It stated that Lagos state topped the list with 461 infections, FCT 206, Plateau 197, Rivers 167, Kaduna state-116, Anambra-53, Ogun-49, Ebonyi-47, Edo-42, Sokoto state-32 and Imo-31 cases.

Katsina state-31, Oyo state-30, Akwa Ibom-27, Delta-16, Kano state-16, Abia-15, Niger-15, Ondo-11, Bayelsa-10, Borno-9, Kebbi-8, Ekiti-7 and Jigawa-1 cases.

The agency further disclosed that 832 patients recovered and had been discharged from various isolation centres across the country.

It added that this indicated 85,367 recoveries from the total 108,943 infections.

According to it, discharges for Saturday includes 430 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with guidelines.

There is a drop in infections compared with Friday’s 1,867 cases, which is the highest so far in a single day.

Lagos state also recorded substantial drop in cases with 461 new infections far lesser than 713 cases reported on Friday.

The FCT’s 206 new cases represents a slight increase compared to the 199 cases on Friday.

Plateau state recorded a drop in infections with 197 cases against its Friday’s 273.

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