Organisers to decide COVID-19 “counter-measures’’ for Tokyo Games by end of year



Organisers are ploughing ahead with the postponed Tokyo Olympics, Joan Coates, head of the Coordination Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said on Tuesday.

Coates, an IOC Vice President, said they would decide by the end of the year what “counter-measures” would be required to hold the Games safely in the time of COVID-19.

The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled for 2020, have been delayed until 2021 because of the pandemic.

Coates who is an Australian told reporters in Sydney that organisers were “throwing whatever resources are necessary” at the Games.

“Our decision at the moment is to go ahead,” Coates said at an event marking the 20th anniversary of the 2000 Sydney Olympics’ opening ceremony.

“What we wait for is to decide what counter-measures we need to go ahead with, to proceed depending on what stage COVID is at.

“The extent of the ceremonies, the extent of the crowd participation, any necessary quarantine when they arrive in Japan. All of those things.

“And, by the time we get to the end of the year, we’ll make an assessment on what counter-measures we’ll need to apply.”

The Japanese government and the IOC took the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, which were originally scheduled to begin in July.

Tokyo officials have said they intend to put on the Games in 2021 even if the pandemic has not eased substantially.

Australia’s retired five-time Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe said he wanted to see the Games go ahead but was doubtful they could without a vaccine.

“First and foremost is people’s health,” Thorpe told reporters at the Sydney Games ceremony.

“So, let’s put that into perspective and if we haven’t got a treatment or a vaccine for COVID, the Olympics will possibly not go ahead.”

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN


Edo election: Observer faults integrity of governorship election



An Observer in the just concluded Edo Governorship election, Intercontinental Leadership Initiative, has faulted the integrity of the Sept. 19 poll.

The Country Head of the organisation, Mr Stafford Bisong, stated this at a news conference in Benin on Monday.

Bisong who said he had his officials across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo during the election, noted that none functional card readers used for the poll across the State raised integrity issue about the poll.

The Intercontinental Leadership Initiative also cited the none display of voters register five days before the elecitom as prescribed by the electoral act.

Bisong said another finding by the organisation was late arrival of sensitive and none sensitive materials in about 80 per cent of polling units in most polling units, especially in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor Local Government Areas.

While calling for the need for improvement on the country’s voting process, he expressed the need to display voters register on time for eligible voters to know their voting units.

“We discovered a lot of discrepancies on the field during election and we concluded that there is more to desire in our electoral voting procedure.

“Both sensitive and none sensitive materials arrived relatively late in 80 per cent of the polling units, prominent in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor.

“Voting commenced around 1.30 pm in some parts of these polling units.

“Another one is the issue of voters’ register. The register was pasted just less than 24 hours to the election and this made it difficult for many to exercise before the poll.

“We again discovered that the voters’ register was not updated, as a result, this made it impossible for many not to participate in the exercise.

“Some of these people may have relocated,  some died while Covid-19 pandemic may have kept many away.

“Finally, none functional card readers as noticed across the State led to the issue of voting complications in parts of the polling units.

“Eighty per cent of these card readers malfunctioned as they were not authenticating finger prints of the voters which led to manual use of authencation.”

In spite of the challenges,  however, Bisong said the election was fair and credible because, “Many voters turned out.”

Bisong concluded that there was non adherance to the COVID-19 protocol guidelines as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Edited By: Saidu Adamu/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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Health Minister says 10% of COVID-19 cases are under-19



The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says records show that 10 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases treated are below the age of 19 years.

Ehanire made this disclosure at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, with regard to COVID-19 and growing complacency, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups.

“Records show that 10 percent of all positive cases we have treated are below the age of 19 years.

” They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease.

“Therefore, as schools begin to reopen in some areas, I urge caution and adherence to the protocols and advisories for reopening schools, to prevent COVID-19 surge,” he said.

Speaking on the need for testing, the minister noted that it was important for the country to generate national and international confidence in the nation’s data by conducting more targeted testing before conclusions were drawn.

“It means that all States and local government areas must cooperate with NCDC by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly; as we are still far from the target of two million tests.

“In this regard, we can support States with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation.

“While stepping up surveillance and case finding, states can also ensure that suspected symptomatic COVID cases are sent for treatment in time or supported before then with medical oxygen, to save lives and reduce fatalities.

“The recommended criteria for testing are: persons who have been in contact with a COVID positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the four classical symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as for any other compelling reason. Testing for travel is assigned to private laboratories.”

He also stated that the distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions commenced with training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who would use or maintain them in the hospitals.

Ehanire disclosed that the ventilators and training were  courtesy of the United States government and it shall complement what they have at the ICUs.

The minister also commended health workers in JOHESU, for putting an end to their industrial action, adding that it was his desire to work with them to resolve issues of concern.

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN

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Minister inaugurates committees on sales, distributions of agro-chemical inputs



The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, on Monday in Abuja inaugurated two committees – one for the distribution of grains, and the other for the sales of fertilisers and other agro-chemical inputs.

Aliyu, while inaugurating the committees, said that they would execute the administration’s mandate of ensuring that governance profited the people.

Represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Administration and Strategy, Prof. Muhammad Usman, Aliyu directed the fertiliser sales committees to determine available stock and work out modalities for the sales.

She also said that the committee would make preparations for the flag-off and subsequent sales of the fertilisers, pesticides and agro-chemicals in the FCT.

Aliyu charged the committee members to work diligently to ensure that the exercise met its objectives.

The minister advised the grains distribution committee to ensure that grains wre released from warehouses and made available to the residents of the territory in a manner that was free, fair and  transparent.

“As you are aware, the administration buys off excess harvest from our farmers to give them value for their efforts and labour at the end of the season.

“Before the new harvest, when prices are naturally on the increase because of dwindling supply, the administration releases the buffer stocks to ensure that prices are regulated if not drastically reduced, for the benefit of the residents of the territory.

“In the wisdom of the FCT administration, individuals have been carefully selected to be saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that the exercise meet its objective.

“The grains released from the warehouses must be made available to the residents of the territory in a manner that is free, fair and transparent,” she said.

The minister said that the administration would be counting on the wisdom and the ability of the committee members to diligently discharge the responsibilities diligently.

Speaking on behalf of the two committees, Mr Abdul Agbade, who chairs the committee on grains distribution, promised to deliver on the mandates.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the Minister of State FCT for the confidence reposed in us. We will not toy with it.

“We will try as much as possible to discharge our responsibilities with the fear of God and in accordance with our terms of reference.

“Residents of the FCT need to be assisted in this trying times. We are just coming out of COVID-19 pandemic and everybody knows the food crisis we are facing.

“The prices of food items are going up in the market and the people need to be assisted. We will do our best to ensure that these grains are sold to the people in need,” he said.
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NSCDC prevents thieves from diverting 1,100 litres of PMS across border



The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has taken charge of 1,100 litres of Petroleum Mentholated Spirit ( PMS) meant to be taken away  from Nigeria to Benin Republic  through the  water ways by some oil thieves.


The Commandant of NSCDC, Lagos State, Mr Iskil Makinde, at the display of the exhibits in Lagos on Monday  said  that the thieves  were arrested in their boat while they were carting away the product to Benin Republic from Badagary where it was siphoned.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr  Makinde assumed duty in Lagos  on Aug. 24 following a posting order dated Aug. 17 from Commandant -General of the NSCDC, Abdullahi Mohammadu.


The Commandant said that  the incident  happened on Sept. 20 and that the products were stocked in polythene bags and kegs.


According to him at the parade,  all attempts to stop the culprits initially proved abortive.


“ However, a hot pursuit by the NSCDC marine corps of the thieves  made them abandoned the boat in which the products were loaded and jumped into the sea to escape,” he said.


Makinde  said that  other exhibits recovered at the scene include a wooden canoe which cracked in the course of bringing it to the shore.


“ Also recovered is a 740 HP Yamaha engine used to power the boat,” he said.


The  NSCDC boss described the incident as very unfortunate, especially, when the country needed all resources to enable it stabilise after  the  COVID-19 pandemic.


The  commandant  said  that the corps would not condone any act of criminality in the state.


“The corps is also assuring  the residents of Lagos State  of peaceful environment as its personnel are  set of ridding the state  of all criminal elements,” he said

Edited By: Peter Dada
Source: NAN
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