The British government made “critical errors” during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released on Wednesday, as a major Scottish city reimposed some anti-virus lockdown measures.
In its report regarding the British government’s handling of the crisis, the Commons Home Affairs Committee listed a string of failings and made recommendations.
The government was “slow to recognise the increased risk of the disease spreading from other European countries,” especially from Spain, lawmakers said.
The committee criticised the government’s decision to lift self-isolation guidance for specific countries in March for a period of three months at a time when other countries were introducing stronger border measures.
“With stronger early measures it is likely that the spread of infection would have been slowed”, the committee said.
The committee also criticised the lack of transparency over border decisions, particularly with reference to the sudden reintroduction of self-isolation rules for travellers from Spain on July 25.
“There should be significant changes to the way such decisions are handled and communicated in the future,” the legislators wrote.
Regarding enforcement, the lawmakers said they were “unconvinced” by the Home Office estimate that 99.9 per cent of people were complying with quarantine rules, demanding more evidence.
The committee recommended investigating the viability of widespread targeted testing at the British border to further contain the virus.
Meanwhile, authorities in Scotland said lockdown restrictions were to be reimposed as of Wednesday in Aberdeen due to a coronavirus cluster in the city.
Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the devolved government in Scotland, said pubs and restaurants in Aberdeen were to close at 5 pm (1600 GMT), and people were advised not to travel to the city.
Sturgeon said there were 54 cases in the “significant outbreak” and that community transmission could not be ruled out.
People in the north-eastern Scottish city were from Wednesday only allowed to move a maximum of 8 kilometres around their place of residence in their free time, and avoid visiting each other’s homes.
Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said there would be “additional patrols in Aberdeen.”
The measures in Aberdeen would be evaluated in a week’s time, Sturgeon said, adding the restrictions could be extended.
“Our precautionary and careful judgement is that we need to take decisive action now, difficult as that undoubtedly is, in order to try to contain this outbreak and prevent further harm later on,” she told a news conference.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/british-lawmakers-slam-govts-critical-errors-in-pandemic/
Italy votes in referendum on downsizing parliament
Polls closed in Italy late on Sunday in the first of two days of voting on a constitutional referendum over the slimming down of parliament.
Voting is also on in local elections expected to favour the right-wing national opposition bloc.
Voting continues on Monday, with polls opening at 7 am (0500 GMT) and closing at 3 pm.
Results are expected later the same day.
Some 51.6 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum on reducing the number of lawmakers in Italy’s two chambers by roughly one third.
The Chamber of Deputies would go from 630 lawmakers to 400, and the Senate from 315 to 200.
By Sunday evening, voter turnout had reached 29.98 per cent in the four of the seven regions for which figures were available, according to the Interior Ministry.
In the referendum on the planned reduction of the parliament, 29.71 per cent of the 51.6 million eligible voters had cast their votes.
Observers have feared a low turnout amid concerns about people being infected with the coronavirus.
No minimum turnout is needed for the vote to be valid, amid expectations that the reform will be approved.
Elections are also taking place in seven regions and just under 1,000 cities, including Venice in the north and Reggio Calabria in the south.
The main national government parties – the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) – have been bracing for a poor showing.
The national opposition, led by Matteo Salvini of the far-right League, is expecting to win in at least three regions, including Veneto and Liguria in the north.
The PD is confident of victory only in Campania, the region around Naples, and is desperate to avoid defeat in Tuscany, a former leftist stronghold where a League candidate could achieve a historic win.
The M5S has no strong candidates, but is likely to console itself with a referendum win.
It considers reducing the size of parliament part of its quest to end perks and privileges for politicians.
Critics of the constitutional reform say it produces minimal cost savings and risks undermining the democratic system by weakening the authority of parliament.
In any case, a defeat for the government parties is unlikely to topple Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as the PD and M5S have strong incentives to try to hold on to national power together.
One is the prospect of managing more than 200 billion euros (238 billion dollars) in loans and grants from the European Union due to arrive from 2021 as part of the bloc’s post-coronavirus recovery fund.
Another is the opportunity to influence the parliamentary election of the next Italian president, due in January 2022, and avoid snap national polls, which the PD and M5S would likely lose.
Pandemic-era restrictions were in place across all polling stations, many of which are located in school buildings.
Voters currently in self-isolation due to the coronavirus were permitted to vote from home on submitting an application on a one-off basis.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242
The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .
It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.
Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.
The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.
Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.
“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Spanish triathlete grateful for praise after incredible act of selflessness
Diego Mentrida, a Spanish triathlete, has played down the significance of his sporting gesture in last week’s Santander Triathlon.
His act of selflessness was reflected in his surrendering third-place by slowing down to allow a fellow competitor who had taken a wrong turn to overtake him.
Mentrida was in fourth place and trailing James Teagle heading into the final stretch when Teagle accidentally headed for the barriers.
This allowed Mentrida to dart ahead and move within sight of a podium finish.
But once he had realised Teagle’s mistake, the 21-year-old Mentrida paused to allow the Briton to retake his place in third just before the finish line.
Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas was among those who praised Mentrida’s selfless act on social media.
But, while the Spaniard appreciated the recognition, he reiterated it was the right thing to do.
“This is something my parents and my club have taught me since I was a child,” Mentrida wrote on Instagram.
“In my opinion it should be considered as a normal situation. I never thought that something like that would be so far reaching and would be repeated by so much media.
“But it makes me proud to receive so much affection.”
After the incident received global media coverage, race organisers decided to give Mentrida an honorary third-place and award him 300 euros in prize money.
It was the same amount Teagle had earned for coming third.
Teagle praised Mentrida for showing “incredible sportsmanship and integrity”.
”Moral of the story is that sportsmanship is a highly regarded trait. And British kids pay attention in language class… or you may end up looking like a fool worldwide.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Ligue 1: Mbappe shines as PSG hit top gear against Nice
France forward Kylian Mbappe marked his return to action with a vintage performance and a goal as champions Paris St Germain rediscovered their form with an impressive 3-0 win at Nice in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Mbappe, who missed the opening three games after contracting the coronavirus, fired PSG ahead with a 38th-minute penalty.
He also had a big part in Angel Di Maria’s strike before Marquinhos headed home the third in the second half.
PSG made a sluggish start to their campaign as they lost the opening two matches and eked out a last-gasp 1-0 home win over Metz on Wednesday but they tore Nice apart with sublime skill and crisp one-touch passing.
Mbappe blasted his spot-kick into the roof of the net after he was fouled by Khephren Thuram and Nice goalkeeper Waller Benitez could only parry the forward’s crisp low shot for Di Maria to sweep home the rebound.
The visitors missed a string of chances in the second half with striker Mauro Icardi hitting the post, before Marquinhos added the third with a glancing header from a Di Maria cross.
Ander Herrera also hit the woodwork with a deflected shot in the first half while the home side were denied by acrobatic goalkeeping from Keylor Navas.
The result lifted PSG to seventh place on six points from four games, with Nice slipping to 10th also on six points.
In Sunday’s other stand-out fixtures, second-placed St Etienne, who have a maximum nine points from three games, visit 14th-placed Nantes and Olympique Marseille in eighth are at home to fourth-placed Lille.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Peter Ejiofor)