South Korea to secure coronavirus vaccines for 60% of population



Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun has said that South Korea plans to spend 146 million dollars to obtain coronavirus vaccines.

The premier said they were initially aiming to secure a supply for 30 million people, or 60 per cent of its population, as it battles persistent outbreaks of new cases.

The population target is higher than a World Health Organisation (WHO) goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20 per cent of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, no less than 40 per cent agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations.

“While South Korean authorities would like to inoculate the entire population of 52 million, uncertainty around any vaccine’s safety, efficacy and development was limiting investment,’’ Chung told a cabinet meeting.

Global vaccine makers are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the virus that has killed over 925,000 people since it emerged in China late 2019.

Chung said the government would negotiate with relevant international organisations and vaccine makers to secure the supply and would buy more as developments unfolded.

In August, South Korea said it planned to join the COVAX facility, a global novel coronavirus vaccine allocation plan co-led by the WHO, which aims to help buy and fairly distribute the shots.

“South Korea will buy 20 million doses of vaccine from the COVAX scheme, enough for 10 million people, and 40 million doses from private drug-makers,’’ health authorities said in a statement.

The government has prepared 172 billion won (146 million dollars) to pay for vaccines, including 70 million dollars for the 20 million doses from the COVAX facility.

South Korea has been one of the world’s coronavirus mitigation success stories, with an aggressive testing and tracing strategy, however it has nevertheless been battling persistent spikes in infections.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN


Sweden friendly moved to Russia over virus entry restrictions




Stockholm, Sept. 23, 2020  An upcoming friendly between Sweden and Russia has been moved to Moscow due to Swedish coronavirus pandemic rules, the Swedish Football Association said on Wednesday.

Sweden is not able to host the Oct. 8 match under restrictions limiting unnecessary travel to the Scandinavian country.

It will not allow travel from anywhere other than from other European Union (EU) countries, as well as Britain, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

“Unfortunately, we are forced to move the match against Russia since we still have not received any word from the government —- in spite of the fact that we sent a letter already since Aug. 27,” said Hakan Sjostrand, secretary general of the Swedish Football Association.

He added that the strict rules applied in international football would have entailed “a significantly lower risk of the spread of infection compared with other permitted occupational categories.”

The Russia friendly is part of Sweden’s preparations for 2020/2021 UEFA Nations League matches away to Croatia on October 11, and Portugal three days later.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

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Bayern Munich, Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt warned for coronavirus concept breaches



Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 have been warned by the German Football Federation (DFB) for breaking coronavirus concept guidelines during the opening game of the Bundesliga season.

The DFB said on Wednesday that a repeat would see “the start of an investigation’’ and possible charges at the organisation’s sports court.

Both clubs’ leadership were pictured in the Allianz Arena stand, in separate delegations, sitting together without social distancing or masks.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said there had been a misunderstanding between local Bavarian rules and guidelines laid down by the German league (DFL).

Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, were warned for two of their players bringing their children into the inner part of the arena.

The DFB said this was in spite of the fact that currently relatives are not allowed into the “this especially protected zone’’.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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World’s workers lost tenth of their income during pandemic – UN



International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Wednesday that global labour income dropped by 10.7 per cent in the first three quarters compared to the same period in 2019.

It said in Geneva that the drop was because of the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to a sharp reduction in working hours.

The wage loss, which does not factor in income support by governments, amounts to 3.5 trillion dollars, the UN agency reported.

The ILO added that the loss in global working hours in the second quarter was bigger than expected, compared to pre-crisis levels in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The drop was 17.3 per cent, equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs.

The ILO had previously estimated a loss of 14 per cent, or 400 million jobs.

The UN body also issued a significantly gloomier outlook for the final three months of this year.

The global working hour loss in the fourth quarter is now expected to amount to 8.6 per cent, up from the previous forecast of 4.9 per cent.

The numbers were revised because it has become clear that “workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, have been affected to a much greater extent than in past crises,” the ILO said in a report.

Workers in those countries are more affected by the pandemic than richer countries because they have fewer opportunities to work online from home and because the informal labour sector has taken a hard hit, the ILO said.

In addition, governments in poorer countries have less money to counter the COVID-19 crisis.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: WHO commends FCTA’s response to fight against virus



Dr Walter Mulombo, Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has commended the FCT Administration for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Anthony Ogunleye, Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said Mulombo disclosed this when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the FCTA.

Mulombo also acknowledged the effectiveness of the actions of the FCTA in the fight against the virus.

” When I arrived on June 19, I was surprised by the organisation I saw at the airport, the way I was received, the way I went through all the processes and where I stayed in quarantine for 14 days.

” It was so perfect. It was really something that was properly done. So, I wish to congratulate you on that one.”

He also called for continued vigilance from the populace until a vaccine was developed.

According to him, COVID-19 is here to stay with us for some time until we find an effective vaccine.

“But until then, the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, you need to remain vigilant. The only tool here is non-pharmaceutical intervention. I am happy to see that we are wearing face masks.

“It’s very important that we continue to adhere to those principles of social distancing because the other tools are being experimented.

“So, we need to make sure that what we are seeing, the downward decline in cases actually translates the truth of what is going on in the communities.”

Mulombo called for a collaboration between WHO and the FCTA for the effective control of the disease and its effects both on the health and economic sides.

He used the occasion to commended the FCTA for its role in the eradication of polio in Nigeria, which had paved the way for the entire African continent being certified as polio free.

He pledged the support of the WHO to the FCTA in its efforts at ensuring that as many residents as possible are enrolled in the FCT Health Insurance Scheme.

” We have your agenda as our preoccupation. Your priorities are our priorities. We want to continue to support the FCT until such a time that everybody benefits from universal health coverage.”

He also called on the FCTA to continue to pave the way so that its policies could be replicated in other states of the country.

Responding, the FCT Minister, Bello, said that the FCTA had always enjoyed a very close working relationship with the WHO.

He said that whatever successes the FCTA had achieved in the health sector was due to the collaborative efforts with the WHO.

Bello disclosed that the priority of the FCTA in the health sector was the development of the Primary health care system.

He called on the WHO to assist in the areas of capacity building in ensuring that primary healthcare centers are self-sustaining with improved funding and better legislation.

In attendance were the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu and the Acting Secretary for Health, Dr Mohammed Kawu.

Others are the FCT WHO Office Coordinator, Dr Fureatu Zakari and other officials of the FCTA and the WHO.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
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