Egypt registered on Saturday 1,497 daily new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections to 32,612, said the health ministry.
This is the 10th consecutive day for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to exceed 1,000.
Death toll from the disease rose to 1,198 after 32 fatalities were added, health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
The spokesman said that 380 patients left hospitals in the past 24 hours after fully cured, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 8,538.
Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8, both foreigners.
Since March 25, the Egyptian government has been imposing a nighttime curfew, which varied between nine and 13 hours, to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The current nine-hour curfew will continue until mid-June, when the government will consider easing relevant restrictions amid a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.
The government has already started gradual reopening of services and offices, and allowed reopening of about 100 hotels for local tourists with 50-percent capacity after they were given official hygiene safety certificates.
Egypt and China have been cooperating closely in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, through mutual provision of medical aid and sharing experiences in containing the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.
In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
China, after having largely controlled the pandemic, returned favor by sending three batches of medical aid to Egypt.
On April 16, May 10 and May 16, Chinese doctors held video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in prevention and treatment of the virus.
Edo poll voter turnout decline worrisome in spite of credible conduct — CDD
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a pro democracy civil society organisation, has said that in spite of the general peaceful and credible conduct of the Edo election, it was worried over the decline in voters turnout for the election.
The group in its final observation report signed by CDD Director, Ms Idayat Hassan, and Head, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof. Adele Jinadu, said that the credible conduct of the election was a refreshing development.
“The decline in voter turnout is pointed out as a trend, which would not augur well for the robust participation of the electorate, including marginalised groups.
“Backing this assertions with figures, CDD noted that in 2003, voter turnout stood at 78 per cent of 1,432,891 registered voters; In 2020 however, only 25.2 per cent of voters turned out to cast their ballot out of a registered number of 2,210,534.
“ CDD figures similarly showed a consistent decline in voter turnout from 78 per cent in 2003 to 40.5per cent in 2012, and further down to 32.3 per cent in 2016.
“CDD, therefore, expressed worries that the further decline in voter turnout in 2020, which came down to a low of 25.2 per cent could be read as a steady loss of faith in the electoral process, as well the entire democratic system of governance.”
Hassan said that CDD rated the conduct and outcome of the Sept. 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo as relatively credible, in spite of the challenges and infractions, which dogged the process.
She said that CDD deployed 250 stationary and roving observers to keep a close eye on key processes in the election and handed down its verdict in a final observation briefing.
She said that the Centre noted that the election was relatively peaceful when compared to other polls recently conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in spite of high vote buying .
“The peaceful conduct points the way away from the “degeneration” that has historically been the country’s sad experience with electoral outcomes, and towards outcomes that significantly reflect the mandate of the electorate.
“In this respect, the election potentially augurs well for the future of democracy and development in the country.
“This is particularly in view of the determination shown by the electorate to protect their mandate and ensure that it counted in the critical penultimate months to the election day. ‘’
Head, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof. Adele Jinadu noted that the credible outcome of the election was due to the activities of various strategic stakeholders, particularly INEC and the peace-keeping efforts, the Oba of Benin and the Abdulsalam Abubakar-led National Peace Committee.
Jinadu said CDD, however, warned that there remained certain anomalies in the process, which if left unaddressed could turn the current euphoria into a mirage that would precipitate a reversal to the status quo ante.
He listed some of the issues as the controversial modality used for selecting the governorship candidates and the abuse of the power of incumbency for partisan party political advantage.
He added the general poverty in the state and the high unemployment rate that resulted in vote selling among others.
He said that although the group pointed out some malfunctioning of smart card readers, however, it acknowledged that the overall performance of INEC was smooth across the state.
He said that the group commend INEC for the introduction of the result viewing portal in improving transparency and accountability of the collation and declaration of results.
This, he said, enhanced citizens’ trust in the electoral process.
Jinadu said that CDD urged INEC to concentrate on the dual purpose of implementing its protocol on conducting elections during COVID 19 and improved voter education programme especially for other elections.
He said that there was need to reform the country’s party system to strengthen internal party democracy.
“This measure will ensure that political parties pay more attention to the nomination of women and the youth as candidates and have equal access to leadership opportunities within party organisations.
CDD further called on government and citizens to push to encourage compliance with Chapter II of the Nigerian Constitution and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in order to curb poverty in the country.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Bayelsa begins 2021budget process, pledges citizens’ participation
The Bayelsa government on Monday said the 2021 budget would be driven by the citizens’ input and participation toward the utilisation of public funds based on the needs of the people.
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa said that the government was poised to adopting best practices in budget process by engaging all stakeholders, which include the executive, legislature, civil society, labour, youths, women and community leaders, physically challenged amongst others.
Diri, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewrhudjakpo said that the state was adopting the citizen based approach in budgetary process for the second time.
“The Citizen’s Participation Budget Conference has been called in compliance with section 22(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2009 (as amended) which states:
“The government shall direct citizen’s participation conference to be convened and cause the outcomes of the said conference, together with the view expressed to be published on the state website.
”Itis designed to ensure accountability and strong collaboration by all stakeholders in stewarding our communal resources.
“Indeed, in reviewing and approving the annual state budget, you play the vital role of guaranteeing that we apportion our resources sensibly and in accordance with our shared vision and values, with a view toward helping all our citizens thrive and prosper in a sustainable manner.
“Budget policy is therefore, mostly about planning. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
“The impact of COVID 19 pandemic and the heavy toll it has taken on our inflows from federal allocations, means that the need to plan to diversify our economy has become more urgent,” Diri said.
He said that the government would focus on security, health, education and agriculture in the 2012 fiscal year for allocating resources among competing needs and plan for delivering on its promises and obligation to the citizens of Bayelsa.
Speaking earlier, Mr Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning noted that the participation of citizens would eliminate the issue of duplicating projects and ensure value for money.
He said that the input of the people at the foundational non-technical stage was critical to the success of the next statues and urged the stakeholders to participate meaningfully in the process.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that representatives of several groups took turns to make contributions and the NEEDS Assessment during the interactive session segment.
Chief Joshua Igbugburu, the Monarch of Bomo clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa urged the state government to fund the Yenagoa-Poroma road project to connect the coastal communities.
Also Mrs Dise Ogbise, the Executive Director, DO Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society commended the government for adopting a transparent approach by involving members of the public.
She pledged the support of civil society organisations in the state to the process.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
Club’s server collapses over demand for first Bundesliga game in 11 years
Ticket demand for Arminia Bielefeld’s first Bundesliga home game in 11 years on Saturday prompted their server to collapse.
Season ticket-holders were originally able to register from Sunday evening for the promoted team’s game against Cologne for which as of now 5,300 spectators are to be allowed in.
This is as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
Demand was so high that their internet server went down and they had to take the registration form off their website, apologising and promising a new form later Monday.
“We had expected a rush, but nothing like this,” a club statement said. “We will do everything we can to learn from the mistakes.”
Arminia Bielefeld reassured fans by saying the time of registration would have no influence on the distribution of the tickets which is to be done by lot.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Dutch Prime Minister tells cheering football fans to shut up
Amsterdam, Sept. 21, 2020 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday hit out at fans who sing and cheer at football matches, saying they were frustrating the fight against COVID-19 amid a surge in infections.
Limited crowds have been allowed back in Dutch stadiums since the start of the new season this month.
But that is only if they adhere to social distancing rules and refrain from singing and shouting.
“Just shut up when you’re sitting there,” Rutte said when asked about fans’ behaviour in the stadiums. “Watch the game and don’t shout. It’s possible.”
The fans have been far from quiet and many have left their designated seats during matches to stand and sing together.
“It’s utterly stupid,” the Prime Minister said. “That way we won’t get the virus under control.”
The daily tally of new coronavirus infections in The Netherlands topped 2,000 for the first time on Monday, setting a record for the fifth time in a week.
Rutte on Friday announced regional measures to limit the spread of the disease, forcing bars and restaurants to close early and limiting group sizes.
He has repeatedly warned that football stadiums could be closed down again if fans cannot restrain themselves.
The venues are operating at around a quarter of their capacity to make sure there is at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) distance between fans from different households.
Fans can only enter and exit stadiums at certain times, meaning some have to arrive more than an hour early.
Others have to wait a long while before they can leave after the games.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)