Nigeria on Thursday confirmed 197 more COVID-19 cases even as the number of people who have recovered from the disease pushes toward 44,000.
Plateau State which has now become the pandemic epicentre in the country had the highest infections for the day – 83 – according to a tweet, Thursday, by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The agency said the new infections were reported in twelve states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Of the new cases, Lagos had 48 infections, Kaduna – 17, FCT – 16, Ogun – 11, Katsina – 7, Imo – 4 and Edo – 3.
Nasarawa had three new infections, Rivers – 2, Bayelsa -1, Oyo – 1, Osun – 1.
According to the health agency, 43,810 persons of out of the 55,829 confirmed cases have been discharged.
However, 1,075 deaths have been recorded so far since the pandemic was confirmed in the country in late February.
Global Death Toll
The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 900,000 since the respiratory disease first appeared in China last year, according to an AFP tally.
As the fatalities climbed, US President Donald Trump admitted he had tried to minimise the seriousness of the Covid-19 threat at the start of the pandemic, in audio recordings released Wednesday from interviews with veteran journalist Bob Woodward.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, according to a CNN preview of the book “Rage”, due to be published this month.
“I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” he said in the recorded conversation with Woodward.
There have been more than 27.7 million confirmed virus cases worldwide, according to an AFP count based on official statistics, with the worst-hit region Latin America and the Caribbean, followed by Europe.
The country with the most coronavirus deaths is the United States with over 190,000 fatalities, followed by Brazil.
With billions of people around the world still suffering from the fallout of the crisis, a worldwide race for a vaccine is underway, with nine companies already in late-stage Phase 3 trials.
However clinical trials on one of the most advanced experimental Covid-19 vaccines, which is being developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University, were “paused” this week after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.
– Russian trials ‘too small’ –
Russia has already approved a vaccine and on Wednesday began inoculating volunteers in Moscow, the capital’s deputy mayor said.
Russia announced last month that its vaccine, named “Sputnik V” — after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957 — had received approval.
Research published in The Lancet medical journal last week said patients involved in early tests in Russia developed antibodies with “no serious adverse events”, although scientists cautioned the trials were too small.
High-profile Russians have already been vaccinated, including President Vladimir Putin’s daughter, Moscow’s mayor, and nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Clinical trials of a Chinese-made vaccine in Brazil have shown “extremely positive” results, and a widespread vaccination campaign could begin as early as December, the governor of Sao Paulo state said.
AstraZeneca said it had “voluntarily paused vaccination to allow a review of safety data”, adding that in large-scale trials, illnesses will sometimes happen by chance, but must be reviewed independently.
David Lo, a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside, told AFP the company’s decision is not necessarily a setback.
“Probably right now it’s just being cautious — it’s a pause, it’s not the same thing as saying, ‘We can’t move forward’,” said Lo.
“In some ways I’m quite relieved, it means they’re really paying attention.”
The volunteer may have experienced an adverse reaction already seen in earlier patients such as fever and soreness, but in a more severe form, Lo added.
– ‘Standard process’ –
Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said it was not the first pause in the trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“It’s a standard process in clinical trials. There was a pause earlier in the summer and that was resolved without a problem,” he told Sky News.
China, meanwhile, put its homegrown vaccines on display for the first time at a Beijing trade fair this week, and authorities hope one will be approved for use by the end of the year.
Agric Minister Shield’s Factional AFAN Leader From Police Invitation
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Friday, 17th June, 2021 at the ICC (International Conference Centre), in Abuja prevented policemen on duty from taking factional leader of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Farouk Rabiu for questioning on fraud related matters.
According to reliable sources and eye witnesses at the scene which was the venue of the 2021, Council on Agriculture, the police were there to invite Farouk to Force headquarters following a petition against him for acts that bordered on criminality.
Recently a federal high court sitting in Abuja had cautioned the renegade group led by Farouk through their lawyer, on Wednesday,15/2/2021, against parading themselves as leaders of AFAN until the matter is determined in court.
Farouk had been accused of defrauding investors using the name of AFAN Kano branch which he illegally registered, a matter which had been brought before the Corporate Affairs Commission, who revoked the registration.
However, Farouk has been continuously recognised as the leader of AFAN, by the Minister who hails from the same state with him despite several petitions from the Arc Kabir Ibrahim led executive.
The minister’s actions in siding with Farouk despite a case in court to resolve the leadership tussle of AFAN, has been allegedly linked to the minister’s shameful removal as chairman of AFAN Kano, long before he became appointed minister.
Witnesses at the scene stated that the minister after frantic efforts to get the Inspector General on phone to call off his men failed, resorted to giving an unhindered exit to Farouk in his official car, tantamount to obstruction of justice, much to the chagrin of the police officers.
A reliable source further disclosed that the policemen declined to follow the minister to his office.
Three Soldiers Injured as Troops Kill ISWAP Terrorists in Borno
Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.
The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.
They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.
“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.
“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.
Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.
Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.
To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.
He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.
Onion Marketers Threaten to Stop Supply to Southern Nigeria
The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria has threatened to stop the supply of onions down to the South from June 7, 2021.
The group said it would carry out the threat if the government fails to compensate its members who have suffered losses in recent times following attacks in some parts of the country.
President of the association, Aliyu Umar, made this known to journalists at a press briefing on Sunday in Sokoto State.
He explained that the government under a committee led by the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had promised to compensate their members, many of whom suffered huge losses in Abia, Imo and Oyo States during the #EndSARS and Shasha market crisis.
However, according to him, the promise has not been kept and the members have reportedly lost over 4 billion naira.
“We are calling on the state and Federal Government to restore law and order in the state, and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar said.
“We also call on state governments to collaborate with fed govt to set up a committee to investigate the incident that led to the loss of lives and property of the Onion Association members.
“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onion to the entire south by Monday the 7th of June 2021”.
In recent times, the price of Onions skyrocketed from just about ₦20,000 to nearly a hundred thousand, in less than a year – a situation which quickly gave it the reputation of ‘new gold’.
While the price hike could not be understood by many, some traders have attributed the increment to seasonal fluctuations, a general increase in prices of fertilizers among other items, strike actions as well as insecurity arising from the #EndSARS protests.
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