After several weeks in which the coronavirus epidemic seemed under control, the reopening of the economy has caused a spike in cases in Havana, forcing the government to keep Cuba’s main airport closed.
On Friday, the Ministry of Public Health reported 54 new cases of people with COVID-19, the highest number in a month.
Since Aug. 1, 221 new cases have been reported, with the majority in Havana.
Just a few days earlier, on July 20, the island had announced its first day with zero cases detected.
But as it has happened in other countries attempting to go back to a new normal, infections rebounded.
And even a gradual approach to lifting restrictions has proved challenging.
Even though Havana did not lift all the safety measures implemented during Phase 1 of the reopening in July, transportation services resumed, beaches reopened and patrons were allowed to sit at bars and restaurants with some limits on the number of diners.
Additionally, Cubans continue to stand in long lines at grocery stores every day to buy food.
According to official data, of the 54 new cases reported Friday, 43 were found in Havana, in 10 of its 15 municipalities.
The local newspaper Tribuna de La Habana reported that the incidence rate of the virus in the capital is 71.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and six municipalities are above that average.
By comparison, Miami-Dade has a rate of 100.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
But the virus also continues to circulate throughout the rest of the island, with new cases reported in Artemisa, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara.
In Bauta, a town in Artemisa, a province near the capital, a house party seems to have started a chain of contagion that sickened 93 people in recent weeks.
Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel warned on Wednesday that the increase in cases could affect the start of the school year in Havana and Artemisa.
He also expressed regret about the additional economic expenses being incurred at a time when the country is going through one of the worst financial crises in the last 20 years.
“Every time there is an outbreak like thise, more people are admitted to hospitals and confined at isolation centers, and therefore there are more expenses.
“Every time we quarantine … a certain community or municipality, we have to organize and do things that also cost us more,” said Diaz-Canel.
Although the country is accepting foreign tourists in the keys that surround the island, the outbreak in Havana has prevented the reopening of the Jose Marti Airport, Cuba’s central travel hub, and the only one receiving flights from the United States
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced measures to limit access to the capital and further restrictions on bars and restaurants.
He did not say when commercial flights, scheduled to restart in early August, will resume.
Cuba has reported a total of 2,275 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 88 deaths so far.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)https://nnn.ng/cuba-keeps-havana-airport-closed-as-coronavirus-cases-spike/
Edo 2020: NCFront commends security on neutrality, wants more from INEC on logistics
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) on Sunday commended stakeholders for peaceful and credible Edo gubernatorial election, applauding the security for its neutrality and professionalism.
The group disclosed this in its “Major Assessment and Verdict on Edo Governorship Election”, it issued.
It was jointly issued by Comrade Isa Aremu, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Prince Chris Azor, Mr Georgina Dakpokpo, Ayaba Olubunmi and Mr Ejiro Ofoye on behalf of NCFront Elections Monitoring Team.
The nonpartisan group, which commended the security for visible neutrality and professionalism in preventing thuggery and attempted malpractice in some polling units, advised the officers not to rest on their oars.
According to the group, more are still expected from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on logistics and in the conduct of some political parties and their agents.
The group said that party agents were expected to be more adherent to subsisting electoral ethics and rules, which forbade voters’ inducement, vote buying, thuggery and violence during elections, ballot snatching and stuffing.
It said that the political parties should always exercise respect for the Peace Accord their parties and candidates signed before elections.
“NCFront wishes to call on the INEC, as the main elections management body in Nigeria to always ensure that improved elections logistics are henceforth put in place and deployed on time.
“INEC must urgently employ latest technology required to make elections transparent and credible in Nigeria so that elections are not ruined by violence and ultimately decided by the Courts instead of the electorate.
“However, the Police, being the lead security agency, would still need to do more to assure the Nigerian electorate, especially, through improved conduct of its personnel that they can reliably stand on the part of the law in maintaining peace and order during elections.
“This must be done instead of their regular recourse to intimidation of eligible voters, which has always occasioned recline of voters on election day and electoral manipulation in another instance,” it said.
The group, however, commended INEC for being above board in its conduct during the poll.
The NCFront also commended the Edo people for the relative peace witnessed during the poll and credibility of the electoral process, inspite of the violent build up.
The group while congratulating the winner of the election called on Gov. Godwin Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory by extending the hands of fellowship to all his fellow contestants in building a united and stable government and state.
NAN reports that NCFront, a nonpartisan pan-Nigerian conscience group, deployed 600 cadres of observers/monitors, in conjuction with its INEC accredited partners, in the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo for monitoring of the governorship elections.
The group commended INEC for giving priority to Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), and other vulnerable groups especially the elderly during the electioneering process.
It, however, added that some of the polling units were not accessible to some categories of PLWDs.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Youths should be drivers of innovation, creativity for a better Nigeria- Ex-VC Bell University
Prof. Isaac Adeyemi, the former Vice Chancellor, Bells University of Technology, Ogun, has charged Nigerian youths to harnessy their knowledge via the internet to be drivers of innovation and creativity for a better Nigeria.
“The youths are the most vulnerable to the post COVID-19 events, including the educational system.
“To position themselves for a successful career, the youths being exposed to technology should take the initiative to see to it that they use the knowledge for innovation and creativity.
‘’That will develop the economy of the country because each country is trying to design means of survival to float,” Adeyemi said.
The former VC said through collaboration with local or international agencies or organisations, some of which are online, youth can leverage and adapt knowledge to suit local situations.
“This can translate into national or state activities that can grow the economy of Nigeria and put it in the global stage.
Also speaking at the event, Prof. Seyi Osunade, Associate Professor, Computer Science department, University of Ibadan, said based on what was happening right now with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, government and education stakeholders should do more of advocacy.
“That is creating an awareness for the youths on what the pandemic is, that it is real and people still need to take precautions.
“Though the number of infected people are dropping, people still need to take precautions and as schools are preparing to resume, people should work towards maintaining the safety protocols and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
“Our curriculum should focus more on practical skills and expressions, that is they should teach things that our students can do here to provide local solutions to our challenges.
“Things they can develop into products, because if we can adapt the knowledge we have into a working solution it will go a long way for us.
“Technical and vocational education should be encouraged more even in our normal school curriculum,” Osunade said.
The Pioneer of SSII, Mrs Omokehinde Deji-Akinpelu said the organisation was focused on community service.
She said that the initiative started formally in 2014 with mentoring of undergraduate students at Lead City University.
Deji-Akinpelu stated that the vision of the organization was to raise purpose driven young men and women who would become world renowned in conduct, character and competence.
“We are set out to impart them with positive values and right attitude to life that will enable them become accountable and responsible adults
“You will agree with me that part of what we are facing today with our political leaders in Nigeria is lack of right mentoring.
“Some of these youths are taking wrong steps and decisions because they lack right and proper mentoring, we need to address this for a better Nigeria.”
Deji-Akinpelu further stated that youths would rather model their lives after celebrities and people they don’t even have direct access to and that had its disadvantages.
Two of the participants who spoke to NAN, Oluwatobi Oduola and Ayomide Olukorede said their passion to influence teenagers and mentor them towards greatness fueled their participation.
They identified lack of sense of direction and career choice as major challenges teenagers are faced with and the need to help as many youths to succeed in life despite all odds.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni
Schools resumption: Lalong urges parents to teach children COVID-19 safety protocols
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has urged parents in the state to teach their children the safety protocols against COVID-19, preparatory to resumption of schools targeted for end of October.
Lalong had in a broadcast to the people of the state said schools would resume October ending, but was not definite on the date.
He made the call on Sunday at a send off Church mass for the outgoing Prior Provincial of the Catholic Church Order of St. Augustine in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. John Abubakar, at the St. Monica’s Parish Rantya, Jos.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that St Augustinians in the Catholic Church were accredited with parish and pastoral work, scientific study, teaching and missions, among others.
The governor said he made the call because children easily emulated what parents did, more than instructions given to them elsewhere.
Besides, he said, children were most vulnerable to the disease and must be protected, first by the parents.
“I appeal to parents to comply with COVID-19 protocols for the children to emulate, they are most vulnerable because they move around more than us.
“It is the toughest decision we will make to allow innocent children to return to school, ” he said.
Lalong explained that Plateau was now an epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic resulting from the large number of people tested daily in its three testing centres.
“In the 36 states, we are the third in terms of testing capacity and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for doing well.
“We test 500 people to 700 people daily, we want everyone to know their health status for appropriate action,” he said.
He commended the outgoing Prior Provincial for his diligence in service during his tenure for eight years and prayed for God’s blessings on him.
“In addition to establishing a new secondary school here, he told me he was lobbying for the establishment of an Augustinian University in Plateau,” he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the university would be a reality even in his absence, because of the foundation he had laid for the process.
He thanked the Prior Provincial for his contributions to the Catholic Church and Plateau, expressing the desire that his successor would consolidate on his achievements for greater successes.
Delivering the homily titled: ` God’s Unmerited Love’, Abubakar urged the congregation to focus on their gifts and talents and desist from comparing their lives with other people.
“We should seize opportunity to be impactful with our talents and gifts and stop the mistake of comparing yourselves with others. How God chooses to operate is up to him,”he said.
He said people were appreciated when they left an office because of the value they have added to lives.
Abubakar appreciated the Plateau Government and people of the state for the love they showered on him during his stay, saying their cooperation made his work easy while urging them to extend such gesture to his successor.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf
Northern Governors mourn Emir of Zazzau
The Northern Governors Forum has described the death of the Emir of Zazzau , Alhaji Shehu Idris ,who died at the age of 84, as painful.
The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, in a condolence message by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, on Sunday in Jos, condoled with his family, the people of Zazzau Emirate, Kaduna State and the nation for the big loss.
“The late Emir lived a very productive life and represented the virtues of truth, service and honesty in his 45 years on the throne.
“His leadership and goodwill attracted enormous development to the Emirate and also improved the living standards of his people.
“He connected easily with people from all parts of the country and offered wise counsel to Governments at all levels. He will surely be missed,” he said.
Lalong said the Northern Governors benefited from the counsel and knowledge of the royal father, who promoted unity, peace and security of the region and the nation.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Emir who ascended the Zazzau throne on Feb. 8,1975, died on Sunday Morning.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf