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COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria

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Covid-19: Nigeria receives the first shipment of COVAX Vaccine

In line with the Global effort to exterminate the novel coronavirus disease which took the world by storm, the World Health organizations, have begun to send vaccines across the nations of the earth, to ensure that all are vaccinated from the deadly disease.

Nigeria has received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped from the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.

COVAX shipped 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, arrived from Mumbai to Abuja around 11.30 am.“Nigeria has just received the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID—19 vaccine,” presidential aide Bashir Ahmad tweeted.

Read Also: UK PM Boris Johnson meets Nigerian pastor, for Covid vaccination

According to a statement from the United Nations in Nigeria, the arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally and also the first wave of the distribution.

UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said, “The UN Country Team in Nigeria reiterates its commitment to support the vaccination campaign in Nigeria and help contain the spread of the virus.

“The arrival of these vaccines in Abuja today marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its
unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021.”

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency had said it would commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.

“This is a landmark moment for the country and the COVAX Facility’s mission to help end the acute phase of the pandemic by enabling equitable access to these vaccines across the world. We are glad to see Nigeria is amongst the first to receive the doses from COVAX.

Thanks to the excellent level of preparedness put in place by the Government of Nigeria,” Managing Director for Country Programmes at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Thabani Maphosa, added.

“Gavi looks forward to these vaccines being made available to the people most at risk, as soon as possible, and to ensuring that routine immunization services for other life-threatening infections are also delivered to avoid other disease outbreaks.”

Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said, “It is heart-warming to witness this epoch-making event and WHO wishes to congratulate the government of Nigeria for its participation in the global vaccine collaboration (COVAX) efforts and its commitment to protecting Nigerians against this pandemic.

“Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19; therefore, this is a step in the
right direction. These vaccines have undergone rigorous regulatory processes at the global and country-level and have been deemed safe and effective.”

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COVID-19

Six things you didn’t know about India COVID-19 variant

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The India COVID-19 variant has been detected in Nigeria, leading to a call for concern.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the COVID-19 was detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State nearly three weeks ago.

As this detection has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, here are six things you didn’t know about the India COVID-19 variant:

1. The Indian COVID-19 variant is officially known as B.1.617.

2. The variant was first detected in India in October 2020.

Read Also: Osun mosque shut, sallah prayers banned as imams battle for seat

3.The variant has been classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of global concern”.

4. Between January and March, the variant was detected in 220 out of 361 Covid samples from Maharashtra, a state in Western India.

5. Experts around the world believe that the variant is rapidly spreading and has an impact on the second wave of COVID-19 in India.

6. According to WHO, the variant has been discovered in 44 countries as it was detected in more than 4,500 samples that were uploaded from those countries.

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COVID-19

[BREAKING] COVID-19: FG returns curfew, restriction on mass gatherings

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The Federal Government has re-introduced a nationwide 12am to 4am curfew as part of efforts to curtail further spread of COVID-19.

The National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, disclosed this at a press briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Mohammed said the curfew would take effect from midnight on Monday, May 10.

Read Also: Buhari celebrates national flag designer, Akinkunmi @85

He also said with effect from Tuesday, night clubs, gyms, and others would remain closed till further notice.

He said gatherings of religious groups and weddings among others have been reduced to 50 percent attendance, while official engagements, meetings, and conferences should continue to hold virtually.

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Large Chinese rocket segment disintegrates over Indian Ocean

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A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, the Chinese space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down.

Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China’s new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.

But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved irresponsibly, as an uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object risked damage and casualties.

“After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

It added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during descent.

The US military’s Space Command said the rocket “re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 pm EDT on May 8 (0215 GMT Sunday)”.

“It is unknown if the debris impacted land or water.”

Monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said that the location in Saudi Arabia was where American systems last recorded it.

“Operators confirm that the rocket actually went into the Indian Ocean north of the Maldives,” it tweeted.

The segment’s descent matched expert predictions that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 per cent of the planet is covered by water.

Because it was an uncontrolled descent, there was widespread public interest and speculation about where the debris would land.

American and European space authorities were among those tracking the rocket and trying to predict its re-entry.

– Accusations of negligence –

Objects generate immense amounts of heat and friction when they enter the atmosphere, which can cause them to burn up and disintegrate. But larger ones such as the Long March-5B may not be destroyed entirely.

Their wreckage can land on the surface of the planet and may cause damage and casualties, though that risk is low.

Read Also: COVID-19: Ruthless South Africa variant hits Ghana, Togo, 21 others, says WHO

Last year, debris from another Chinese Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

That, and the one that came down Sunday, are tied for the fourth-biggest objects in history to undergo an uncontrolled re-entry, according to data from Harvard-based astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

The uncertainty and risks of such a re-entry sparked accusations that Beijing had behaved irresponsibly.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested last week that China had been negligent, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson echoed that after the re-entry on Sunday.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” Nelson said in a statement.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

– China’s space ambitions –

To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket — which is not equipped for a controlled descent.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” McDowell tweeted.

“It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”

Chinese authorities had downplayed the risk, however.

“The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.

Beijing has poured billions of dollars into space exploration to boost its global stature and technological might.

The launch of the first module of its space station — by the Long March rocket that came down Sunday — was a milestone in its ambitious plan to establish a permanent human presence in space.

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