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COVID-19 pandemic is ‘not necessarily the big one,’ a more deadly pandemic could sweep the globe – WHO warns

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The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is ‘not necessarily the big one’ and that a more deadly virus could yet sweep the globe.

Speaking on Tuesday, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme said the pandemic was a ‘wake-up call’.

‘This pandemic has been very severe… it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one,’ he told a media briefing.

Dr. Ryan added: ‘This [coronavirus] is a wake-up call. We are learning, now, how to do things better: science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile.

‘We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together. We need to honour those we’ve lost by getting better at what we do every day.’

Ryan also said that the virus was likely to remain part of our lives despite the introduction of vaccines.

‘The likely scenario is the virus will become another endemic virus that will remain something of a threat, but a very low-level threat in the context of an effective global vaccination programme.’

‘It remains to be seen how well the vaccines are taken up, how close we get to a coverage level that might allow us the opportunity to go for elimination.

‘The existence of a vaccine, even at high efficacy, is no guarantee of eliminating or eradicating an infectious disease. That is a very high bar for us to be able to get over,’ he said. 

Ryan said that was why the vaccine distribution is designed to save lives by protecting the most vulnerable, The Guardian reported.

‘And then we will deal with the moonshot of potentially being able to eliminate or eradicate this virus.’

Professor David Heymann, chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards, told the briefing earlier that it was the ‘destiny’ of the virus to become endemic.  

‘The world has hopes for herd immunity, that somehow transmission would be decreased if enough persons were immune’ Heymann said at a media briefing, before explaining that the concept of herd immunity was misunderstood. 

‘It appears the destiny of SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] is to become endemic, as have four other human coronaviruses, and that it will continue to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, especially in areas of more intense admission.

‘Fortunately, we have tools to save lives, and these in combination with good public health will permit us to learn to live with Covid-19.’  

Being vaccinated against the virus did not mean an end to social distancing and other public health measures, chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan told the briefing on Tuesday.

‘I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on.

‘So I think we need to assume that people who have been vaccinated also need to take the same precautions,’ Swaminathan said, adding that the vaccine is intended to prevent symptomatic disease as well as severe cases of infection and deaths.  

The coronavirus has so far killed 1,799, 337 people worldwide. 

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[BREAKING] Arms fund probe: Finally, Army chief appears before Reps

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, is currently appearing before the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies.

The committee had no less than two times invited Attahiru and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to answer questions on the procurement of arms and ammunition.
On Friday, the committee, after a long wait, postponed the investigative hearing till Monday.

Read Also: Police Kills another Black man in Minneapolis, sparks fresh protest

Earlier on March 22, 2021, the committee had, after the failure by the CBN governor and the COAS to appear before it, summoned them to appear before on April 7, 2021.

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BREAKING: Doctors suspend nationwide strike

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Resident doctors have suspended their nationwide strike after 10 days.

Their president, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told The PUNCH on Saturday.

He said, “We suspended the strike about one hour ago. We are responsible to Nigerians, the government has acceded to some demands.”

Read Also: Wike bans meeting of Igbo group in Rivers

According to him, the strike was suspended after meetings with various stakeholders in the health sector.

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BREAKING: Gunmen raze another Imo police station

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Gunmen on Tuesday razed the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area Divisional Police Headquarters in Imo State.

This development came just a day after unknown gunmen attacked Owerri Correctional Centre and the Imo State Police Command headquarters, freeing 1,884 inmates and razing over 50 vehicles.

Tuesday’s attack came few hours after the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, the just sacked Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, and other Government functionaries visited the state to inspect the level of damage on the attacked security facilities.

On arrival, the gunmen freed all the suspects in detention before setting the Police Divisional headquarters ablaze.

Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen operated without any resistance from policemen.

Also Read: BREAKING: Defend yourself against IPOB members – Uzodinma

A source said, “Gunmen this evening razed Ehime Mbano LGA police divisional headquarters. On arrival, the gunmen freed the suspects before wrecking the havoc.”

A police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said that he could not confirm the development when he was contacted by our correspondent on Tuesday evening.

But a senior police officer who does not want his name in print said that the Command’s hierarchy was saddened by the latest development.

The PUNCH reports that gunmen had between February and March razed Obowo, Abo Mbaise, Ihitte/ Uboma and Isiala Mbano Divisional Police Headquarters, killings three cops and injuring others.

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