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5.2-magnitude quake hits 74 km SSE of Ierapetra, Greece — USGS

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Tourism

African tourism leaders recommend MICE for sectoral recovery 

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Some African tourism leaders on Monday advised tourism practitioners on the development of meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) as viable platforms to revamp the tourism industry post COVID-19.


 

These tourism leaders cutting across countries such as: South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya, gave the advice at the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market’s conference held online.

 

The roundtable was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?’’

 

They said that the growth of MICE was critical to the revival of the African tourism landscape, considering the losses recorded in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is a type of tourism in which large groups usually plan well in advance and are brought together.

 

Rick Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Business Tourism Company, said that MICE in Africa was pretty new but started in the United States since 1714.

 

Taylor said that enormous opportunities would be available if MICE was properly developed in Africa.

 

“We need to work on returning to embrace our meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions because it was observed that an hour of physical meeting is only as effective as 5 zoom meetings, 10 phone calls and 20 emails.

 

“Some 14 new ideas were likely to be generated during physical meetings but only 7 ideas would be gotten from online meetings,’’ he said.

 

Also, Mr Alain St.Ange, former Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that the MICE market was an important one in the tourism industry, adding that there was need to discover more Africans who would be dedicated to work in grooming tourism.

 

He advised Africans to work together to achieve common goals of revamping the tourism industry and create global competitiveness.

 

“Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy and with a population of 100,000 people, we are able to sustain the country through the returns on tourism.

 

MICE is an important market in tourism, it needs to be developed rightly,’’ he said.

 

Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau, also attested to the fact that MICE was one of the innovative ways for revenue creation which Africans must leverage upon.

 

Mukazayire said that MICE had been focused on in Rwanda since 2014, recording about 591 successful MICE events in 2017, as the country generated over U$212 that same year.

 

She said that MICE’s contribution to revenue growth in the country was about 12 per cent, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

According to her, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous events were postponed and the country recorded losses to the tune of $8m.

 

“Rwanda is open to MICE, domestic tourism and travels now, the government has set up platforms to ensure tourists’ safety, who either come for leisure or business opportunities.

 

“The Rwandan government has established economic recovery funds, created home grown events that align with our investment priorities; Rwanda is a unique destination for events and MICE is guaranteed,’’ she said.

 

Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator, Kenya National Convention Bureau, said that the business of MICE had sustained the country as a tourist destination, adding that the Kenyan government was working with the private sector to further grow MICE.

 

Nzioka said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 97 tourism events were cancelled and over 42,000 jobs were lost.

 

She said when International travels began, 16 per cent arrivals were recorded to be on purpose of business, which she described as encouraging.

 

Nzioka encouraged African tourism practitioners to accelerate the growth of Information Communication Technology (ICT), to further develop MICE.

 

“Currently, we have stimulus packages for the hospitality sector, and recovery funds to restart the industry all put together by the Kenyan government; we see a bright future for MICE in Kenya,’’ she said.

 

Nzioka advised Africans to work unanimously to complement one another’s efforts in the development of MICE and not for competitive purposes.

 

Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board, said that the board had prioritised the promotion and development of business tourism to diversify the country’s tourism offerings and encompass more than leisure.

 

Ochieng said this was expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals, receipt and earnings from business travellers.

 

He said currently, the board was trying to partner with the private sector to develop affordable travel packages to revamp the industry.

 

COVID-19 has dealt with the industry; before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had 60 per cent hotel occupancy across the country but we now have about 10 per cent, with lots of events cancelled

 

“The MICE industry is an emerging one in the Ugandan economy, the Ugandan tourism board will continue to prioritise both leisure and business travels.

 

“We want to tell everyone that we are ready for MICE and planning to invest more in hotels, convention centres and all,’’ he said.

Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/african-tourism-leaders-recommend-mice-for-sectoral-recovery/
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COVID-19

Health Minister says 10% of COVID-19 cases are under-19

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says records show that 10 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases treated are below the age of 19 years.


Ehanire made this disclosure at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, with regard to COVID-19 and growing complacency, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups.

“Records show that 10 percent of all positive cases we have treated are below the age of 19 years.

” They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease.

“Therefore, as schools begin to reopen in some areas, I urge caution and adherence to the protocols and advisories for reopening schools, to prevent COVID-19 surge,” he said.

Speaking on the need for testing, the minister noted that it was important for the country to generate national and international confidence in the nation’s data by conducting more targeted testing before conclusions were drawn.

“It means that all States and local government areas must cooperate with NCDC by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly; as we are still far from the target of two million tests.

“In this regard, we can support States with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation.

“While stepping up surveillance and case finding, states can also ensure that suspected symptomatic COVID cases are sent for treatment in time or supported before then with medical oxygen, to save lives and reduce fatalities.

“The recommended criteria for testing are: persons who have been in contact with a COVID positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the four classical symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as for any other compelling reason. Testing for travel is assigned to private laboratories.”

He also stated that the distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions commenced with training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who would use or maintain them in the hospitals.

Ehanire disclosed that the ventilators and training were  courtesy of the United States government and it shall complement what they have at the ICUs.

The minister also commended health workers in JOHESU, for putting an end to their industrial action, adding that it was his desire to work with them to resolve issues of concern.

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN

 

 

 

https://nnn.ng/health-minister-says-10-of-covid-19-cases-are-under-19/
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COVID-19

NCDC, NIMR, partners to conduct COVID-19 antibody tests in 4 states

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COVID-19

Abuja, Sept. 21, The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners are conducting anti-bodies household surveys in four states in Nigeria.

Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja, the Director general of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu ​​​​​​said the tests are being conducted to better understand the burden of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.

“These seroprevalence surveys, which will be carried out in Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa and Lagos states would provide the best evidence yet, on the extent of COVID-19 infection in the country.

“The seroprevalence surveys are used to identify the occurrence of disease in a population by estimating the presence of antibodies in individuals who have had the disease.

“This is done by testing blood samples in randomly selected households in selected states.

“For Nigeria’s COVID-19 seroprevalence survey, household members will answer a brief questionnaire, be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, as well as for acute COVID-19, if they consent.

“In addition to this, study participants will also have a rapid malaria test and receive treatment if the test is positive,” he said.

Ihekweazu, said, this is the first set of household surveys to be conducted for COVID-19 in Nigeria and as part of ongoing public health research activities.

“The surveys will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission patterns, the burden of infection in the population, and the age groups most affected.

“This information will help inform COVID-19 response decisions by the Government of Nigeria and partners as part of measures towards ending the pandemic.

” The surveys will also estimate the proportion of people who have COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms, that is asymptomatic.

“Through this, the country can identify risk factors for infection and measure the transmission of COVID-19 within households,” he explained.

By administering rapid malaria tests, he said, the surveys will also assess malaria infections and their possible relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The results from the surveys, he added, will inform the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

He also stated that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) and the University College London (supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) are supporting the NCDC and NIMR in implementing these surveys.

He also said that while the United States CDC’s implementing partner, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), would also support the State Ministries of Health with implementation.

The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the surveys will be conducted between September and November, and preliminary results are expected to be released by December 2020.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/ncdc-nimr-partners-to-conduct-covid-19-antibody-tests-in-4-states/

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53 security personnel forces killed as violence escalates in Afghanistan

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At least 53 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in overnight attacks by the Taliban in five provinces, officials said on Monday.


A further 51 were wounded in the clashes that occurred in the Afghan provinces of Uruzgan, Takhar, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak and Balkh, according to the officials.

The deadliest incident was in southern Uruzgan province, where more than two dozen Afghan security forces were killed, according to local media reports corroborated by a provincial councillor.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said that 98 civilians were killed and 230 others were injured by violence throughout Afghanistan in the past two weeks.

The surge in attacks comes in spite of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in the Gulf state of Qatar and as the world observes International Day of Peace.

The United States envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who orchestrated the talks, called the escalation regrettable.

“Over the last few days, there has been a clear rise in violence in Afghanistan,’’ Khalilzad tweeted.

The Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, called on the Taliban to accept a ceasefire.

“Our homeland has been burning in war and conflict for more than 40 years and many lives have been lost in this endless war,’’ Abdullah said in a statement.

There is no doubt that people hate and are tired of the ongoing war and conflict in the country, he added.

Historic peace talks started on Sept. 12 in Doha, bringing together delegations from the warring sides for the first time in 19 years.

In spite of this, however, people in Afghanistan are killed every day.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/53-security-personnel-forces-killed-as-violence-escalates-in-afghanistan/
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