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Covid-19 Doctors Kick Against Schools Resumption



Following the clamour by many interest groups for the reopening of schools, the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) has warned against reopening of schools, stressing that COVID-19 is still on the rise.

Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children and adolescents.

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, yesterday, PAN cautioned against reopening of schools as the virus due to the upward spike of the virus in the country, with no scientifically reliable vaccine available to treat patients.

In the statement signed by the President, Prof. Edward Alikor, and the Secretary, Dr. Petronila Tabansi, the association said, “As a professional association whose fundamental objective is to ‘actively seek the well-being of children and ensure that their right to quality health care is protected,’ Paediatric Association of Nigeria views it as a professional responsibility to publicly express its opinion in the ongoing national discourse.”

It noted the announcements and shifts in dates for resumption of schools by the federal government and said the possible date of September for reopening of schools would not be in the best interest of children and the nation.

PAN said its position was based currently “viable consistent scientific facts about Covid-19 published and accepted by the scientific community; the fact that these scientific facts are rapidly evolving and changing; the trend in the incidence of Covid-19 infection in Nigeria; the recognition that children need structured school environment for optimal learning and realisation of their full potentials.

the capacity of the Nigerian health system to quickly respond to an unexpected increase in the incidence of Covid-19; and the experiences of other countries where reopening of schools have recently been tried”.

It added that figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed an exponential rise in Covid-19 incidence and deaths, which suggested that Nigeria has not reached its peak incidence of the pandemic.

PAN also noted that the nation’s health care system is grossly ill-equipped to absorb sudden surges in cases of Covid-19 in schools.

The association said the world was still learning about the effect of Covid-19 in the human body, including the long-term effect of the virus in various organs, even in asymptomatic carriers including children.

It also noted that Ghana which reopened its schools three weeks ago has reported 55 new cases in students of Accra Girls Senior High School alone within two weeks of reopening.

“Consequently, PAN supports the continued closure of Nigerian schools and urges that the schools should remain closed until conditions are safe. The minimum criterion for considering the reopening of schools in Nigeria should be a steady and consistent decline in the spread of Covid-19 in most parts of the country. It is then and only then, we believe, that the other criteria as laid down by the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after Covid-19 Pandemic Closures (Issued by the federal government) can now be considered,” it said.

The paediatricians expressed surprise that public health physicians, infectious disease experts and other child and adolescent healthcare specialists were not amongst the stakeholders listed as having been consulted by the federal government in arriving at the decision to possibly reopen schools in September.

“We urge that this error be corrected to enable the decision-makers to arrive at a fact-oriented, balanced and independent decision on such an important issue bordering on the health of our children,” it stated, adding that “the safest place for children at this time is at home under the care of their parents”.

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UK looks forwards to easing lockdown from March – Foreign Minister



Britain’s government looks forward to easing some lockdown restrictions in March as it presses ahead with Europe’s quickest rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, said on Sunday.

The country, which also has Europe’s highest COVID-19 death toll, has been under national lockdown since Jan. 5, with schools closed for most pupils, non-essential businesses shut and people ordered to work from home where possible.

The nation, which additionally has Europe’s highest COVID-19 loss of life, has been under public lockdown since Jan. 5, with schools for most students, non-essential businesses shut and individuals requested to work remotely where possible.

“Our plan is to get out of this national lockdown as soon as we can,’’ Raab told Sky News television.

“By late-winter, ideally, by March, we’ll be in a situation to settle on those decisions.

“I think it’s right to state that we won’t do it across the board in one big bang.

“As we phase out the national lockdown, I think we’ll wind up staging through a (regional) layered methodology.’’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of immunising the oldest age groups, the clinically vulnerable and frontline workers – approximately 14 million individuals – by the middle of February.

Also Read: Stop Buhari from selling national assets, National Assembly urged

He said that England can consider easing lockdown restrictions from that time if all goes as wished.

The Sunday Times said that British ministers had settled their disparities to back a three-point plan that could prompt some lockdown restrictions being lifted as soon as early March.

Regions will have restrictions eased once their death rate has decreased, the number of hospital admissions drops and some people aged between 50 and 70 are immunised, the newspaper said.

It cited priests as saying they were set up to oppose pressure from wellbeing counselors to defer the progressions until a great many people are immunized, a cycle that could take until the harvest time.

It cited ministers as saying they were ready to resist pressure from health advisers to delay the changes until most people are immunised, a process that could take until the autumn.

A spokesman in Johnson’s office declined to relate his take on the report.

The head of England’s public health service said the vaccination programme had made “an extremely solid beginning” however a quarter of people hospitalised were less than 55 years, younger than the priority target groups.

“It won’t be the situation that on Valentine’s Day or the fifteenth of February, with one bound we are free.

“In any case, similarly, I don’t think we will need to stand by until the autumn,” Simon Stevens disclosed to BBC TV, alluding to the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

“This is going to be a progressive improvement as we get more COVID-19 vaccination supply.’’ (Reuters/NAN)

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Breaking: Nigerian multi Billionaire Bolu Akin-Olugbade dies of COVID-19



Bolu Akin-Olugbade, Nigeria’s billionaire has succumbed to Covid-19. The businessman, 61, passed away on Wednesday 13th January, 2021 at the Paelon COVID Centre, Ikeja, Lagos.

The Lead Express gathered that he was the first person in Africa to receive the $450,000 Rolls Royce Cullinan in 2019. In his own words in 2018 during an interview with ThisDay, he stated, “I have different concepts of how I spend money. I spend money on cars because I have always loved cars. I bought my first Rolls Royce in 1984 and now, I am on my ninth Rolls Royce. I believe in dressing well and I travel a lot.”

Until his death, Akin-Olugbade was the Owu Kingdom’s Aare Onakakanfo. He received a PhD in Business Law from Cambridge University. A Rolls Royce enthusiast, Akin-Olugbade was one of the world’s biggest collectors.

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20 Nigerian Generals test positive for Coronavirus



About 20 Generals have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, one week after the death of the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Maj. Gen. John Irefin from complications arising from the disease. 

The infected Generals reportedly had contact with the deceased during the Chief of Army Staff’s annual conference 2020, in Abuja which was cancelled after the death of Irefin. 

The conference was attended by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, pictured above; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and GOCs from nearly all the army divisions nationwide. They were all directed to go isolation thereafter, leading to the COAS not being able to attend the wedding of his son in Abuja on Friday, December 11. 

Punch reported that some of the infected GOCs and principal officers were being treated at the COVID-19 isolation centre, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja. Some patients were also being quarantined at other isolation centres in the Federal Capital Territory.

A source who confirmed the development which has reportedly triggered panic among top military brass who are yet to take the COVID-19 test told the publication;

“The report is true; I know about four generals who returned positive and are being treated for the disease.”

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