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Kaduna State, Nigeria, May Impose Fresh Lockdown in a Second Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Government of Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria has warned that the it may impose another lockdown, following the recent increase in new cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni, the Commissioner of Health in Kaduna, gave the warning at a press conference on Saturday in the state’s capital, saying public spaces including schools, markets, offices and places of worship may be temporarily closed, if people failed to observe COVID-19 preventive protocols.

Mohammed-Baloni said “In absolute and relative terms, Kaduna state is now recording high infection figures, reminiscent of the first wave of COVID-19 spread in April, May and June 2020.”

The commissioner recalled that ‘’the lowering of the infection rate following the first wave, encouraged the government to approve the recommendation of the State COVID-19 Taskforce for a significant reopening of the state.

“However, we are saddened to report that the conditions that compelled the 75 days lockdown of the state are now being replicated.’’

According to her, 74 COVID-19 positive results were recorded in the state from 531 samples on Nov. 26, adding that the quantum of infections since then, suggested both high infection rate and the reality of a new wave of infection spreading across the state.

“As at yesterday (Friday) Dec. 11, the state recorded 117 positive cases from 518 samples. This translates to almost one in four samples testing positive,’’ she said.

The commissioner pointed out that government had expected some increase in infections after the reopening of schools, markets, places of worship and recreational centres.

‘’But the figures easily outstripped our estimates. While infections cut across age groups, this new wave especially affects those aged between 10 and 35. (55 per cent),’’ she said.

She noted that there was now a danger to lives and livelihoods with the renewed COVID-19 infections, adding that ‘’if the spread continues at the current rate, it may challenge and overwhelm the health system despite our efforts to improve the resilience of that sector.’’

Residents are being urged to observe COVID-19 preventive protocols in order to protect themselves and their families from infection.

According to the Commissioner, this is the less costly way out as it involves citizens living their lives and conducting themselves in ways that do not spread the disease.

‘’That way, lives and livelihoods are protected while public health officers try to contain and manage the disease without causing painful disruptions,’’ she said.

Mohammed Baloni urged all citizens to adopt the spirit of the FORWARD campaign, which encouraged everyone to follow the stipulated guidelines by authorities in the healthcare sector.

“The FORWARD campaign entails wearing Facemasks always, Observing physical distancing and maintaining proper Respiratory hygiene.

“The rest components are, Washing hands with soap under running water and or using hand sanitizer, Avoiding large gatherings as well as Remaining indoors when there is no need to be outdoors, and eating balanced Diet to boost immunity,” she added.

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Zimbabwe Warns Citizens Against Patronising Rogue COVID-19 Doctor

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The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ), on Friday, warned against the illegal practice of one Jacqueline Carey Stone, who was allegedly treating COVID-19 patients using unregistered medicines.

In a statement, the MDPCZ said the public should be wary of Stone’s practice, as she does not have a valid license to practice as a medical professional in the country.

“The premises at which she is treating COVID-19 patients have not been registered for purposes of medical practice and thus posing a health risk to the public.

“She is putting the lives of the public at risk by treating the patients with unregistered medicines, including medicines for animal use,’’ the MDPCZ said.

It added that Stone is conducting clinical trials without the full approval of the Research Council of Zimbabwe, and is also working with unregistered persons to dispense and counsel patients.

“MDPCZ will not allow any registered medical practitioner to offer unsafe treatment to the public of Zimbabwe,’’ said the body, that regulates the practice of medicine and dentistry in the country.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a resurging COVID-19 pandemic.

The death toll has risen phenomenally since the beginning of this month and now stands at 917 out of the 30,047 COVID-19 infections recorded in the country since last March.

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15-Day COVID-19 Lockdown: Rwanda Distributes Food to Vulnerable Families

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Following its decision to lockdown Kigali, its capital, the Rwanda authorities have begun the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to vulnerable families in affected by the restriction.

News Central reports that the Rwandan government had, on Monday, imposed a 15-day lockdown on Kigali to curb the spread coronavirus after a surge in cases in the capital.

All movements outside homes require an approved permit from the police, except for essential service providers.

However, to help some 3,000 families – identified as the most vulnerable – cope with the lockdown the government is distributing food rations to households.

Local and international reports said that as of Thursday evening households have started receiving sacks of rice, maize flour and beans.

Some 3,000 families have been identified as the most vulnerable. The city has a population of about one million people.

There have been concerns that hundreds of thousands of residents who live hand to mouth would face hunger during the lockdown.

The authorities have assured that food will reach the most vulnerable, as well as poor Covid-19 patients being treated at home.

The rations were being delivered by volunteers who had tested negative before the programme started, city officials said.

A free phone line is available for requests from “those who want and merit the food aid to be delivered at their doorsteps”.

On Thursday Rwanda reported nine Covid-19 deaths, the highest daily fatalities so far, and 310 new cases.

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COVID-19: Mali Plans to Start Vaccination in April

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The Malian government plans to buy over 8.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, the country’s council of ministers has said.

The council said it expects to roll out a vaccination campaign in April.

The vaccine is expected to cost Mali – which has a population of about 18.5 million and has so far recorded 7,911 Covid-19 cases and over 320 deaths – $58m.

The government remarks that the cost would be covered with financial assistance from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) and the World Bank.

GAVI and WHO co-run the COVAX scheme which helps developing countries to secure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It did not specify which vaccines it planned to buy.

Mali like other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is battling a second wave of coronavirus infections, although its infection rate has decreased from a peak in early January.

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