As Japan’s ruling party seeks a new leader to replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, health experts worry that his successor may prioritise reviving the recession-hit economy over its pledge to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, seen as the front runner to succeed Abe, pledged to focus on ending the epidemic, but he’s been mum on details.
Suga was seen as a key backer of a domestic travel campaign that critics said risked spreading the infection from major cities to the countryside.
“Suga will most certainly prioritise the economy over infection control,’’ said Fumie Sakamoto, who manages infection prevention at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo.
“I’m not expecting anything new happening under Suga’s leadership.’’
Disease experts advising the government said on Wednesday that the second wave of infections appeared to peak in late July but trends in Osaka, Fukuoka and Okinawa remain concerning.
With almost 70,000 cases and 1,327 fatalities, Japan has weathered the pandemic better than most major economies.
Many experts attribute that success to hygiene and mask-wearing among the Japanese populace rather than to government policies.
Of some six million people who have taken part in the government’s Go-To Travel campaign, only 10 infections have been tied to the programme, said Takaji Wakita, Chairman of the government’s expert panel.
Even so, more study is needed, he added.
Suga pledged to carry on much of the policies initiated by Abe.
He would inherit a health care system that nearly collapsed under the burden of serious COVID-19 cases in April and May, and a bureaucratic system that has kept daily tests well below capacity.
Japan’s data collection system isn’t up to the task of tracking and analysing infections, while a health alert system has been muddled, said Kazuki Shimizu, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“The government seriously needs to review previous mistakes in health communication,’’ Shimizu said.
“A health emergency must not be managed by wishful thinking.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)https://nnn.ng/japans-suga-pledges-focus-on-coronavirus-but-details-remain-sketchy/
NCDC records 189 new COVID-19 cases, total now 57,145
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Saturday.
“As at Sept. 19, 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and one death was recorded in Nigeria.
“Till date, 57,145 cases have been confirmed, 48,431 cases have been discharged and 1,095 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.
The agency stated that the 189 new infections were reported from 15 states of the federation.
“Lagos (70), Plateau (37), FCT (24), Kaduna (19), Rivers (12), Oyo (5), Ogun (4), Ebonyi (3), Katsina (3), Ondo (3), Osun (3), Imo (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Nasarawa (1),” it said.
The agency said that cloth masks provide protection when properly worn and cared for.
“Wear mask covering your nose and mouth, handle mask with clean hands and wash cloth face masks after each use.
“MaskOnNaija with other preventive measures. Learn how to make your own face mask: covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/DI… ,” it advised.
“TakeResponsibility and adhere to all non pharmaceutical preventive measures of COVID-19 if you must travel,“ it said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujini/Sadiya Hamza
NIDO-Ghana plans webinar to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, said on Saturday that it would organise a webinar as part of events to celebrate Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary.
Mr Elija Iposu, Public Relations Officer of NIDO-Ghana, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Iposu said the event would be organised by NIDO-Ghana in collaboration with a Ghana-based private firm, Diplomats Extra and Milestone Communications.
According to him, the webinar, which will hold on Oct. 2, is a virtual ceremony with Zoom ID: 742450910 and the title: ’60 years of Ghana-Nigeria diplomacy’.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, former Director-General Institute of International Affairs, and Amb. Bulus Lolo, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria are among high-ranking personalities expected to participate in the event.
Some other expected guests are Mr Oluwaseyi Adeyemi, Publisher, Inside Watch Africa Magazine, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Advisor, Prof. Baflour Agyeman-Duah, former UN Special Governance Advisor and Affail Monney, President Ghana Journalists Association.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 16, unveiled the logo and theme for the 60th independence anniversary celebration.
He said that the celebration would be observed for a whole year, to end on Sept. 30, 2021 and would be muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
El-Rufai to participate in maiden Kaduna Marathon on Nov. 21
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday, says the state is making arrangements to host a half-marathon on Nov. 21, 2020, tagged ‘Kaduna Runs’.
According to him, the maiden marathon will hold annually, and is meant to discover talents and attract investors to the state.
“Our hope is that it will also help reinforce Kaduna’s hard-earned reputation as an investment hub. As a fixture on the sporting and social calendars, Kaduna Runs will also attract interested persons to visit our state.”
It is a compelling idea to bring our people together in a common endeavour, he added while unveiling the event to newsmen in Kaduna.
“Let us run together. From those seeking the glory of winning a sporting contest, to young persons out to hone their talent in the half-marathon, to citizens who merely want to exercise or meet people or cheer up the runners, there is something for everyone,” he said.
The governor added that the event can also be used to raise funds for charities or to support good causes.
He therefore called on all residents – old or young, male or female, rich and poor – to support Kaduna Runs, a 13 miles half-marathon.
El-Rufai assured that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the event.
NAN reports that the governor obtained form to participate in the Marathon.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edo 2020: Group commends INEC on equal access for PWDs
Mr David Anyaele, the Chairman of the group, said this on Saturday in its preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Anyaele however, said that although priority voting was given to the PWDs, the elderly and pregnant women, other disability support aids where missing at polling units which hindered full participation of the PWDs.
“EVA4PWDs is impressed to observe that marginalised sects such as the aged, nursing mothers and pregnant women and PWDs generally were offered priority voting in most of the polling units observed.
“However, we are disappointed that INEC displayed minimal commitment to the implementation of the framework on access and participation of PWDs in the electoral process, as provided in the National Disability Act, 2018.
“The promised Braille voters’ guide and Braille ballot paper by INEC for easy access of election day instructions, guidelines and ballot paper for Blind voters were scarcely available.
“Where it was available, many INEC ad hoc staff did not understand its usage but got assistance from observers on how to use the Braille materials.
“This was the case in Polling Unit 003, Car Park Ward 1, Oredo LGA, where an observer assisted in locating the Braille material.
“There was absence of magnified lens at the Polling Units, INEC ad hoc staff who claimed to have at some polling units were unable to neither display it for observation and usage,” he said.
An Observer said that other observers reported that the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials such as Election Day instructions and guidelines to assist the deaf or persons with hearing impairment were also unavailable at majority of the PU’s visited.
Anyaele also said that reports showed that a large numbers of the PUs were not accessible to physically-challenged persons as they were sited at buildings without ramps and handrail, across gutters, and over staircases.
He noted that INEC Covid-19 guidelines were not adhered to in majority of the Polling Units visited due to uncontrolled large crowds.
“We have reports from areas like Greater Tomorrow High School, Oredo Ward 1, Ramat Park at Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo LGA, among other Polling Units, where the crowds were uncontrollably large,” he said.
Anyaele, however, urged INEC to address the major barriers identified in the Edo elections and make necessary provisions ahead of the Ondo State Governorship election slated for Oct. 10.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the group, in collaboration with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an NGO, trained and deployed INEC accredited observers to the three senatorial zones of the Edo State.
The observers focused on equal voting access for persons with disabilities and monitored the provisions made by INEC for PWDs. .
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo