Richard Mihigo, Programme Area Manager of Immunisation and Vaccine Development of WHO, disclosed this at a news briefing in Nairobi.
Mihigo said the needs and aspirations of African countries should be at the heart of the ongoing global efforts to develop vaccines against the pandemic.
“”Africa has often ended up at the back seat of vaccine development but this must not happen as the fight against COVID-19 pandemic enters a critical phase.
“”We must secure enough doses and give priority to the frontline health workers, the aged and people with underlying conditions in the continent,” Mihigo said.
According to the WHO official, all 54 African countries have signed up to COVAX, an initiative fronted by WHO in conjunction with the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
The collaboration is aimed at securing at least 220 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the continent.
Mitoha Ondo’ O Ayekaba, Vice Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Equatorial Guinea, said that COVAX provided innovative financing options to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine became readily available in Africa.
“”We believe that through this initiative we can access successfully tested vaccines in a timely manner and at a lower cost,” Ayekeba said.
Testing vaccines on the continent ensures that sufficient data is generated on the safety and efficacy of the most promising vaccine candidates for the African population so they can be confidently rolled out in Africa once vaccines are approved,” said Hatchett.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/coronavirus-who-roots-for-equitable-access-to-vaccine-in-africa/
E! hosts skip Emmys red carpet after testing positive for COVID-19
The E! “Live From the Red Carpet” preshow for the Emmy Awards is missing a couple of key players this year.
During Sunday’s broadcast, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox – who were expected to host a portion of E!’s 2020 red-carpet coverage – both announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore could not emcee the show as planned.
“As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet, I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly.
“But unfortunately, this year is just so different. As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines – especially before an event like this – I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19.
“As much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. As far as my health, I’m doing well,” Rancic said via video chat.
Rancic added that her husband and son also tested positive for the respiratory illness and are “taking care of each other” in quarantine.
“I’m wishing you all the best,” she continued from home, adding: “Please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care, and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.”
Later, E! hosts Brad Goreski and Nina Parker shared a statement from Fox explaining her own absence.
“I’m terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight,” the message read.
“Unfortunately I have tested positive for (COVID-19), so in an abundance of caution, I’ve isolated myself at home.
“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other. … I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.”
Parker and Goreski – who were originally slated to host the E! “Countdown to the Red Carpet” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern before passing the baton to Rancic and Fox – simply extended their hosting duties to the “Live From the Red Carpet” telecast.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
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
Golf: DeChambeau muscles his way to United States Open victory
A bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau bashed his way to a six-shot United States Open victory on Sunday, silencing any lingering questions as to whether his brawny game could translate to the major stage.
World number nine DeChambeau, who began the day two shots back of United States Open debutant Matthew Wolff, clinched his first major title with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts.
He shot a virtually flawless three-under-par 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.
“On nine is when I first thought, ‘OK, this could be reality’,” DeChambeau, speaking during the trophy presentation, said of his mindset after an eagle at the par-five ninth.
“I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do it’. And then immediately after, I said, ‘nope, you’ve got to focus on each and every hole’.”
Wolff (75), appearing in only his second major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn but fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.
A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance.
For his efforts was the only player to break par in the final round as he cruised to a maiden major at his 16th attempt.
He attacked Winged Foot all week like few other golfers can.
So confident in his approach, DeChambeau unleashed his driver on practically every par-four and par-five hole as he figured the birdie chances would outweigh the risk that Winged Foot’s nasty rough creates.
DeChambeau grabbed the solo lead after five holes, hit a perfectly-paced 40-foot eagle putt at the ninth to maintain a one-shot cushion.
It was a tournament that came down to a two-horse race between him and Wolff as they made the turn.
The 21-year-old Wolff was bidding to become the first player to win the United States Open on his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.
But he bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before a double-bogey at 16.
“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first United States Open, second-place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (73) birdied the last to finish alone in third-place, a distant eight shots back of DeChambeau.
He was one shot clear of Harris English (73), who made a double-bogey at the first where he lost his tee shot.
Xander Schauffele (74) looked ready to make a back-nine charge after making the turn fresh off back-to-back birdies.
But the world number seven made five consecutive bogeys from the 13th and finished in fifth-place.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (75), who finished in a share of eighth-place, was almost left in a state of disbelief at DeChambeau’s win.
This was given his inaccuracy off the tee at a tournament renowned for its thick rough.
“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a United States Open champion does,” said McIlroy.
“Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.
“But it’s just – it’s not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)