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Covid-19: vaccines not apportioned to the Rich – FG

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COVID 19 vaccine

The Federal Government of Nigeria has said, contrary to widespread rumors, the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccines received in the country have not been apportioned to any set of people or precisely, “the rich”.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made this known while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme.

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

Read More: COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria

The 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine arrived in Abuja at noon on Tuesday.

Speaking on the delivery of the vaccines on Wednesday, Shuaib said, “We are protecting the vaccines very closely, we’ve increased security around the vaccines to make sure that unauthorized access is not possible.

“So, we are waiting on NAFDAC. We feel that they are going to do all of the checks that are necessary and once they give us the green light, we will be ready to roll out the vaccines.”

Asked whether the vaccines have been shared among influential people, Shuaib said, “I will tell you categorically that we have not allotted these vaccines to the rich people or to the people in the urban areas, absolutely not. Mr. President has been very clear.

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

“Mr. Vice President has also added his voice and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force has communicated this at the Presidential Task Force media briefings. He has made it very clear in terms of who we are going to prioritize and I will repeat it here again that the first set of people who are going to be taking these vaccines are those people who have sacrificed in the last one year taking care of all Nigerians that have come down with Covid-19. So, the frontline health workers.

“On Friday, we are going to be launching the vaccines, we are going to be rolling them out at the treatment centers at the national hospital. Our priority will be the health workers that are frontline. We are going to be giving these vaccines to first responders.

“We are also going to be looking at people outside of the health sector who are at risk of getting Covid-19. We are going to be looking at those strategic leaders like Mr. President and the Vice-President, those people who will also want to take the vaccines publicly so that they can motivate the followers to take the vaccines, to convince them that the vaccines are very safe.”

He enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the NPHCDA, adding that over 2.3 million Nigerians have registered in the past few hours.

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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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