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Mozambique Ex-Health Minister, Helder Martins, Resigns from COVID-19 Taskforce

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Helder Martins, Mozambique’s former Minister of Health, has resigned from the Technical-Scientific Commission for the Prevention and Combat of Pandemic of COVID-19, citing bad leadership and a lack of consultation.

Martins accused the Mozambican government of ignoring the Commission’s advice and sometimes not asking for its opinion on coronavirus (Covid-19) matters, including on the reopening of bars and casinos which he said led to a rise in virus cases.

Martins, a former governor considered to be the founder of the National Health System, leaves the COVID-19 taskforce 11 months after joining the commission.

In his letter of resignation to President Filipe Nyusi, Martins said: “The Technical-Scientific Committee was born crooked: A Technical-Scientific Committee cannot be directed by a politician, and a minister, even though a very brilliant doctor and academic, on the day he takes office as minister becomes a politician.

“From the beginning, there was a clear intention to introduce political factors in the management of the epidemic. An epidemic cannot be managed by politicians. But in the beginning, there was a benefit of the doubt: We were going to see if the very brilliant doctor and scientist, who had not had a political background, was able, for a few hours a week, to forget that he was a Minister.”

Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, says that he respects Mr Martins’ decision to leave and that the team will continue with its mandate.

Martins was Mozambique’s first health minister after independence in 1975.

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Nigeria, Kenya Receive COVID-19 Vaccines on Tuesday

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Twenty-four African countries, including Nigeria and Kenya, will soon receive Covid-19 vaccines from the UN-backed Covax programme.

Nigeria, which expects to get a total of six million doses from COVAX, will receive 3.92m vaccine doses on Tuesday, becoming the third West-African country to benefit from the facility.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who revealed this, at the weekend, said that barring any change in the delivery plan released by UNICEF, the vaccines will depart India on March 1, 2021 by 10.30 pm and arrive Abuja on March 2, 2021 at about 11.10 am.

He said, “We are making preparations for about 4 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX facility, We are supposed to have about 16 million in the first quarter.

“We are expecting 84 million doses from the COVAX facility which is free of charge and will cover about 20 per cent of the Nigerian population.

“We also have another source of vaccines from the Harvard facility, which is the African Vaccine Action Team. We are expecting about 41 million doses of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

“Everything we are expecting from COVAX is AstraZeneca which has a good range in terms of storage because it uses +2 – +8 per cent of refrigeration. We already have cold chain facilities in all local governments, constituencies and wards in the country.

“I must caution Nigerians that it is going to be a combination of vaccines with non-pharmaceutical measures.

“Non-pharmaceutical measures will remain in place, wearing of masks, keeping of social distancing, the need for personal hygiene and taking responsibility to ensure that we do not congregate in large gatherings and avoid travels that are not necessary. ”

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, said the country will get 1.25 million doses of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine on Tuesday and vaccinations are expected to start immediately.

Kagwe said priority will be given to front line health workers and the elderly.

Ivory Coast on Monday became the first country to roll out vaccines offered by Covax programme.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive Nigeria March 2nd

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Nigeria has finalised plans to take delivery of its own doses of the Covid-19 vaccines in the next couple of days.

The country’s Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha confirmed this in an exclusive interview with News Central TV.

Mister Mustapha says barring any changes in the UNICEF’s delivery schedule, the vaccines will be arriving in the West African country by 2nd of March.

According to the SGF, about 4 million doses are coming from the COVAX facility, which is the first batch of about sixty million being expected.

He however warned that in spite of the arrival of the vaccines, Covid-19 protocols remain in place.

Nigeria is the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in West Africa.

The country marked one year since it recorded its first case on Saturday, 27th of February. Nigeria recorded its first case on the 27th of February 2020, sparking hundreds of thousands more cases and almost two thousand deaths.

The distribution of the vaccines will be done by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in collaboration with the country’s centre for disease control, NCDC.

So far, the country has announced 155,417 cases of COVID-19 with 1905 deaths recorded. Nigeria’s fatality rate currently stands at 1.22%, lower than the African average of 2.5-2.6%.

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COVID-19: Nigeria Records Additional 600 Cases, Total Now 155, 076

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Nigeria’s health agency on Friday night announced the country recorded additional 600 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 155, 076.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in a tweet, added that 11 COVID-19 deaths were also recorded, raising the total number of fatality in the country to 1,902

NCDC stated that the new infections were registered across 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the past 24 hours.

It stated that the 600 new cases were reported from 21 states,namely: Lagos (169), Taraba (92), Ogun (65), Cross River (57), FCT (38), Rivers (28), Kwara (26), Akwa Ibom (25), Osun (21), Plateau (12), Borno and Gombe (nine each).

Abia and Ebonyi recorded eight each, while Ekiti and Kano confirmed seven each, just as Delta reported six, and Oyo- eight.

Bauchi and Nasarawa states rcorded three cases each, and Sokoto had one.

According to the centre, a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities in the country.

The NCDC’s discharge for Friday include 204 community recoveries in Lagos state, 124 in Kwara state, 121 in Osun state, and 73 in Rivers state managed in line with its guidelines.

The health agency also added data registered from Taraba State over the past two days.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country currently stands at 20,608 in the past 24 hours.

It will be recalled that the country recorded its first COVID-19 case, an imported case from Italy on Feb. 27, 2021 through an Italian man who travelled to Lagos state, the country’s largest city and one of the continent’s biggest metropolises.

Nigeria registered its first death from COVID-19 on March 23, 2021 – the case of a 67-year male who returned home following medical treatment in the United Kingdom.

Till date, the country has confirmed 155,076 cases, out of which 132, 544 cases have been discharged after successful treatment, and 1, 902 deaths have sadly been recorded in 36 states and the FCT.

So far, the country has tested 1,489,103 people since the first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic was announced a year ago.

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