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France Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine

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President Emmanuel Macron of France has suspended the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the country, pending a review of its safety by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

“The decision has been made to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution, hoping that we can resume it quickly if the judgement of the EMA allows it,” Macron told a press conference, adding that an announcement by the EMA was expected on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have a simple guide, to be informed by science and the competent health authorities and to do it as part of a European strategy,” he said.

He said the suspension will be effective “until tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon” when the EMA will make its position known.

Several European countries, including Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, suspended usage of the shot after reported blood clotting incidents.

The decision, which reverses previous guidance from French health authorities to continue using the jab, came just a day after French Prime Minister Jean Castex had defended the vaccine.

“At this stage, we must have confidence in this vaccine,” Castex said on Sunday.

Also Read: BREAKING: CAN drags FG to court – CAMA ACT 2020

“If not, we’ll have delays with our vaccinations and French people will be less protected and the health crisis will last longer.”

Speaking alongside Macron at the press conference in southwest France, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced no change for Spain, but said it was important “to give a message of guarantee and safety to the whole of the European population regarding the vaccination process.”

Macron also said the French government would have “decisions to take” in the next few days in order to control the spread of COVID-19 cases after an uptick in cases and a rise in hospitalisation.

“We will probably have new decisions to take in the coming days,” Macron said.

He said the government needed to look at “the reality of the epidemic, town by town, region by region: it’s what we are doing.”

Hospitals in the Paris region are close to capacity, with patients being transferred out of the capital region to other parts of France, while other hotspots of infection are in the north around Calais and the Cote d’Azur.

Macron decided against a third national lockdown at the end of January, saying instead a policy of 6pm nation-wide curfew and a partial shutdown of bars, restaurants and other social and entertainment meeting places should continue.

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COVID-19

It’s foolishness to have faith when God provides vaccine – Ighodalo

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It’s foolishness to have faith when God provides vaccine - Ighodalo

Amidst the Covid-19 vaccination exercise, which is on-going in various parts of the world, the Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo, has criticised those who believe that their faith is enough to protect them from the virus, when God has given a Vaccine as alleged by him.

This is stemmed from the arguments raised by some clerics against the vaccines, which was developed for the treatment of the novel Coronavirus disease.

Recall, that we had reported that Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy slammed other clerics who wanted to become ministers of the vaccine, rather than concentrating on the healing power of God.

The General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has also expressed lack of confidence in the vaccine.

However, the Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo who spoke to ARISE TV advised his fellow pastors “to do their research, get the knowledge and stop misinforming and improperly educating people on guesswork, instincts and mere suppositions.”

He said that he has taken a jab of the vaccine and claimed he was directed by God after he prayed.

Ighodalo said, “It is foolishness to keep having faith that God will protect you from an infection He has made provision for, vaccines that can provide a high percentage of protection.”

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Furthermore, the Cleric added, “I have taken the jab. I prayed about it, and I got a clear direction from God to go and receive it, and I have explained to my people in church that God provides knowledge. I will like to appeal to my brother pastors to do their research, get the knowledge and stop misinforming and improperly educating people on guesswork, instincts and mere suppositions. Coronavirus is real, and you need the vaccination.

“The Bible says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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He said that there is a need to correct the wrong notion that people have about the vaccine by showing them that it doesn’t tally with science.

“Some people think the COVID-19 vaccine is a deliberate effort to wipe out the human population

“We need to address the fears and prove it is not so. Other persons think it is the sign of the anti-christ (666) and we need to prove this is not also true.

“Other people believe the vaccines have long term effect and if you take it today, in 20 years’ time, it would affect them. We also need to address such fears and prove scientifically this is not so,” he said.

“The problem is a lot of these questions about the vaccine are not being properly addressed and there is too much rumour flying all over the place. Some churches believe in divine health but if they study further, they would also know that God provided knowledge for healing,” Ighodalo added.

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Georgia PM tests positive as Covid cases spike

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Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Tuesday he tested positive for coronavirus amid a fresh spike in cases in the Caucasus nation despite the start of a vaccine rollout.

“I am feeling well,” Garibashvili, 38, said on Facebook. “I am in self-isolation and continuing to work remotely.”

On Tuesday, Georgia registered 897 new coronavirus cases — three times the average number of daily infections recorded over the past months.

Overall, the Black Sea nation of some four million people has registered more than 275,000 coronavirus cases and 3,832 deaths, the health ministry said.

In mid-March, Georgia began a national vaccination campaign by inoculating medical workers with AstraZeneca’s jab.

Also Read: BREAKING: Polytechnic lecturers begin indefinite strike

In addition to some 43,000 doses of AstraZeneca provided through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme, Georgia also received enough doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to inoculate some 14,000 people.

More than 11,600 people have been vaccinated so far, director of Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, told journalists on Monday.

He said the rollout “needs to be accelerated”.

The authorities in Georgia have so far ruled out any further anti-virus curbs.

Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia said on Monday there was “no need at this point” for further anti-pandemic restrictions.

In May last year, Georgia lifted its coronavirus lockdown and allowed shops to reopen, but a night-time curfew has remained in place.

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COVID-19: Portugal reopens museums, schools, others

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Portugal on Monday reopened museums, cafe terraces and secondary schools nearly two months after tightening Covid-19 curbs following a wave of cases early this year.

There was an explosion of cases following Christmas and New Year festivities which led to overstretched hospitals and the government imposed a general lockdown in the middle of January and closed schools a week later.

There have been nearly 16,900 coronavirus deaths and 823,335 cases so far, according to an official tally on Sunday.

Primary schools reopened on March 15.

Monday’s easing comes with some guidelines. Only four people will be able to sit together at a table in cafe terraces while museums can change their opening hours.

Group training sessions at gyms and sports venues remain banned.

“We are expecting very few visitors” due to the paucity of foreign tourists, Antonio Nunes Pereira, director of the Palace of Pena in Sintra, outside Lisbon, told AFP.

Read Also: UK to announce new international travel rules

“We expect a return to normal next summer… when the vaccination process advances in Europe,” he said.

The museum is one of Portugal’s most visited sites and drew over two million visitors in 2019. Eighty-five percent of them were foreigners.

The government has launched mass Covid tests and started vaccinating teachers.

It plans to start reopening high schools, universities and auditoriums and concert halls later this month and restaurants in May.

The situation is being reviewed every two weeks and the government can tighten restrictions in municipalities with a high number of cases.

Portugal has suspended flights with Brazil and the Britain to ward off the new variants that emerged in those countries and tightened controls on the land border with Spain.

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