Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday reported 59 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the provisional number to 820 cases in the country, the country's health authorities announced.
Among 94 tests carried out in 24 hours, 59 cases came back positive, including 30 men and 29 women, Dionisio Cumba, coordinator of the Center for Emergency Health Operations and member of the Interministerial Commission for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19, announced during the daily briefing in Bissau.
The government of Guinea-Bissau announced to shorten the curfew hours to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., but people are still only allowed to leave their homes between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. to do their grocery shopping.
The President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo decided on Monday to extend the state of emergency throughout the national territory until May 26 from zero o'clock on Tuesday.
The West African Portuguese-speaking country has already put in place several drastic measures to contain the spread of the virus, including the closing of borders, restaurants, bars, places of worship and schools, as well as the ban on gatherings and circulation of people.
So far, Guinea-Bissau has reported 820 cases of COVID-19, including three deaths and 26 recovery cases, since March 25.
The other Portuguese-speaking country in West Africa, Cape Verde, reported Tuesday only seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bring the total number of confirmed cases to 267, including two deaths and 58 recovered cases.
The president of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo has decided to extend the state of emergency throughout the country until May 26, he announced on Monday in a presidential decree.
President Embalo said that the decision to extend the state of emergency came after analyzing the evolution of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
"We have seen that the number of coronavirus infections is increasing every day in the country," he said, adding that "the current number of contamination is very high and the authorities are worried about this rapid spreading of virus".
Embalo urged the health authorities to put in place an effective plan to limit the spread of the virus in the communities. In addition, he asked the government to reinforce the measures in place if necessary.
He also strongly recommended that people wear a mask in public spaces and in transport.
The state of emergency will be extended from zero o'clock on Tuesday, while the curfew between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be maintained, and people are only allowed to leave their homes between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. to go shopping.
In order to fight against the spread of the pandemic, the government of Guinea-Bissau has decided to maintain the restrictive measures that have already been in place, including the closing of borders, restaurants, bars, places of worships and schools, and banning gathering of people.
So far, Guinea-Bissau has 726 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 26 cured and 3 deaths.
Burundi’s domestic season is to resume on May 21, more than a month after Africa’s last remaining football competition was suspended to allow political rallies to be held in stadia ahead of general elections, authorities have confirmed.
While the remainder of the continent’s domestic leagues have either been paused or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burundi Football Federation (BFF) are ready to restart their league and cup competitions after the May 20 elections.
The country’s top flight has three rounds remaining, with Ngozi-based Le Messager holding a four-point advantage at the top of the table over Musongati, who have a game in hand and will be the first back in action when they take on Athletico Olympic on Thursday next week.
BFF have also announced that the semi-finals and final of the country’s domestic cup competition will be staged, with the decider to be held on June 13.
Before the season was halted, spectators at matches in Burundi had their temperatures taken and hands sprayed with disinfectant on entrance to match venues.
The small East African nation confirmed its first coronavirus cases on March 31 and its health ministry has since announced 15 cases and one death.
A number of African countries have called off their 2019-20 domestic seasons, including Angola, Kenya, Mauritius and Guinea, but others hope to continue in the coming months.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday, commemorated 40 years anniversary of smallpox eradication as the first and only human disease to be eradicated globally.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO said that the eradication of the disease stood as the greatest public health triumph in history.
He stated this at a news conference in Geneva, as posted on WHO verified website.
“Exactly 40 years ago today, on the 8th of May 1980, the World Health Assembly officially declared that “the world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox”.
“Smallpox is the first and, to date, the only human disease to be eradicated globally.
“Until it was wiped out, smallpox had plagued humanity for at least 3,000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
“As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity’s victory over smallpox is a reminder of what is possible when nations come together to fight a common health threat,’’ he said.
The director general said many of the basic public health tools that were used successfully then are the same tools that have been used to respond to Ebola and to COVID-19.
“The tools are disease surveillance, case finding, contact tracing, and mass communication campaigns to inform affected populations.
“The smallpox eradication campaign had one crucial tool that we don’t have for COVID-19 yet: a vaccine; in fact, the world’s first vaccine.
“But although a vaccine was crucial for ending smallpox, it was not enough on its own,’’ he said.
Ghebreyesus said after all, the vaccine was first developed by Edward Jenner in 1796; it took another 184 years for smallpox to be eradicated.
“The decisive factor in the victory over smallpox was global solidarity.
“At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States of America joined forces to conquer a common enemy.
“They recognised that viruses do not respect nations or ideologies; that same solidarity, built on national unity, is needed now more than ever to defeat COVID-19.
“Stories like the eradication of smallpox have incredible power to inspire.
“But there are many more untold stories about health around the world,’’ he said.
According to him, as world reflects on the eradication of smallpox, the world should be reminded of what is possible when nations come together to confront a common foe; to confront a common enemy.
He said: “The legacy of smallpox was not only the eradication of one disease; it was the demonstration that when the world unites, anything is possible. If there is a will, there is a way.
“It gave us the confidence to pursue the eradication of other diseases like polio and Guinea worm.
“Like smallpox, COVID-19 is a defining challenge for public health; like smallpox, it’s a test of global solidarity.
“Like smallpox, COVID-19 is giving us an opportunity not only to fight a single disease, but to change the trajectory of global health.
“Also to build a healthier, safer, fairer world for everyone – to achieve universal health coverage, to achieve our dream from the establishment of WHO in the 1940s: Health for All.’’
He said, in addition, when WHO’s smallpox eradication campaign was launched in 1967, one of the ways countries raised awareness about smallpox was through postage stamps – when social media like Twitter and Facebook was not even on the horizon.
“To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of smallpox eradication, the United Nations Postal Administration and WHO are releasing a commemorative postage stamp to recognise global solidarity in fighting smallpox.
“I especially want to thank Mr Atul Khare, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, for making this commemorative stamp possible,’’ the director general said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
The Board of Directors and Management of Guinea Insurance on Thursday congratulated Mr Sunday Thomas on his appointment as the substantive Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) .
This is contained in a letter sent by the company to the NAICOM boss, which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
The Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Yunusa Abdullahi, announced this in a statement on Sunday.
Guinea Insurance noted that the appointment of Thomas was an indication of his strength of character, high probity and capacity to re-invent and attain feats others consider impossible.
The firm said that many people were beneficiaries of the new Commissioner’s years of selfless and dedicated service to humanity and the insurance industry.
“We seize this momentous occasion to give glory to God for choosing you as the vessel to champion regulatory policies that meet both the insuring and investing public’s expectation and provide an enviable playing field for all Insurance professionals in Nigeria,” the company said.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Since then, the disease has spread to over 30 countries in less than a month, now affecting all member states except for Lesotho.
“During this period, a sharp rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was observed in five countries: Sao Tome and Principe (from 11 to 171 cases, representing 1,455 per cent increase), and Guinea Bissau (from 77 to 292 cases, 279 per cent)
“Chad (from 52 to 170 cases, representing 227 per cent increase) Nigeria (from 1,532 to 2,950 cases, 93 per cent) and Central African Republic (from 50 to 94 cases, 88 per cent).
“Meanwhile, five countries, including Eritrea, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles have reported zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Of note, Namibia, Seychelles and Eritrea have reported zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 30, 28 and 16 days, respectively.
“As of 5 May, 2020, a cumulative total of 32, 953 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,193 deaths (case fatality ratio 3.6 per cent) have been reported across the 46 affected countries in the region,” it said.
Currently, it stated that the majority of the countries in the region were experiencing local transmission of COVID-19 and the number of countries with widespread community transmission also increasing.
“The region has also observed increased incidences of importation of cases from affected countries within the region.
“Overall, in the African continent, a total of 49,121 cases and 1, 956 deaths (case fatality ratio 4.0 per cent) have been reported as of 5 May, 2020.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
The lslamic Orphanage Foundation, llorin, Kwara, on Tuesday, provided food items worth N1 million to 176 orphans in llorin to cushion the effect of lockdown and ongoing Ramadan fast.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the palliatives which were packaged for 176 persons, were delivered to the door steps of all the 176 beneficiaries that registered with the foundation in llorin.
The distribution of the food items to the door steps of the beneficiaries, majority of whom were children and those in their teens ages, was led by the Chairman of the foundation, Mr Saefullahi Alege.
Each of the 176 orphans in various locations of the llorin metropolis, received a package of various food items like semovita, rice beans and Guinea corn, noodles among other edibles.
The foundation chairman, while speaking with NAN, said the gesture was to give the orphans a sense of belonging during the Ramadan and lockdown as a result of outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
He said the foundation had earlier organised a sensitisation programme for the orphans on how to keep away from contracting COVID- 19.
Alege advised the orphans to always comply with the government directives on prevention of Coronavirus pandemic.
He called on wealthy Nigerians and organisations to come to the aid of the foundation on its bid to improve the wellbeing of orphans under its care.
Two of the beneficiaries, Miss Plamide AbdulRasaq of Agbpoba area, Ilorin, and Master Kolapo Abubakarsaid, said the succour from the foundation assisted her during this period.
They said apart from food items, the foundation brought sanitisers, nose masks band other preventive materials for prevention of coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)
He saud that they could use Skype or Zoom to improve access to justice for victims of human rights’ violations.
Falana made the request in a letter he wrote to the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, and dated April 27, 2020; a copy of which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
It was titled, “Request to promote and facilitate online filing processes for the Community Court of Justice”.
He said that this would enable the court to attend to urgent matters especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic and satisfy the public’s rights to an open judiciary.
“This is also entirely consistent with the practices of other regional human rights’ bodies, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“Similarly, the United Nations special mechanisms are allowing victims and their representatives to file communications online,” he said.
Falana urged the court to take the advantage of internet technology to promote and facilitate access to justice for victims of human rights’ violations and abuses across the continent, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The filing of processes should be done electronically and sensitive information such as financial information can be removed to address any privacy or security concerns that may arise.
“However, it should be noted that court processes and documents are already public records available in hard copyie to anybody who appears as a clerk of court’s office.
“Public electronic access to court files should be permitted to the same extent that they are available at the court registry,” he said.
Falana advised the court to create electronic records by scanning documents, or simply upload documents that the court already had in electronic format.
“Having both remote electronic access and court registry access to the same information will also utilise more fully the technology available to the Community Court and will allow court officials to better and more easily serve the needs of the bar and the public.
“Furthermore, the public interest in obtaining information on litigation and the operation of the Community Court favour electronic disclosure,” he said.
It was created in 1991 pursuant to the provisions of Articles 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty of the ECOWAS.
It hears cases from Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivore, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
He made the request pursuant to the statutory and inherent jurisdiction of the court, to promote justice and provide redress to those facing repression and abuses linked to states’ responses to COVID-19.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Peter Dada (NAN)
The Management of First Bank of Nigeria Limited on Monday expressed its appreciation to all the customers of the bank for their continued patronage during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, expressed the bank’s appreciation to its customers while welcoming them to various branches and locations from May 4.
Adeduntan also assured the customers that stringent measures had been implemented to ensure its branches and locations across the country operate in line with the health and safety guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Adeduntan said the bank’s investment in technology over the years helped its staff to work remotely during the lockdown.
“We are glad that our investment in technology over the years has really borne fruit as many of our staff were able to work remotely during the lockdown with effective IT support to hand.
“We were, therefore, able to actively support our customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.
“We ensured business continuity across eight countries – Nigeria, Ghana; Democratic Republic of Congo; Sierra-Leone; the Gambia, Guinea; Senegal and United Kingdom.
“We recognise that this has truly been a trying period and are poised to continue to provide as much support as we can to our customers and communities we operate in,” he said in a statement.
Adeduntan disclosed that during the period of lockdown, the bank reviewed products and services to support customers better.
He also expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for the whole hearted adoption and patronage of its electronic services, which demonstrated the trust the public reposed in the bank.
“It is for this reason; putting our customers first, that our bank working to regulatory, Federal and State Government directives worked assiduously to keep over 50 per cent of our branches open across all nooks and crannies of the country.
“At the same time, the call centre was re-staffed in the most efficient manner and retooled as we provided even more opportunities for our customers to reach us for their banking needs,” he added.
According to him, the bank recorded approximately 12.6 million withdrawals amounting to about N156 billion across its ATMs well placed across the country during the five-week lockdown.
“Nigerians with First Bank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 trillion as they relied on us to settle their banking needs
“Our customers made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 Trillion across our digital channels.
“During this period, our 53, 000 plus agents have processed over N512 billion worth of transactions.
“We have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile; USSD and First-Online platforms,” Adeduntan said.
On community impact, he said the bank partnered with other organisations in the private sector to collectively help those most impacted by this pandemic.
This, he said, was to meet the intervention objectives in the key areas of health; testing, provision of much needed health infrastructure, isolation units and raising public awareness and where needed providing food to the most vulnerable.
“As the lockdown is lifted nationwide, we will continue to provide seamless service to our customers ensuring the highest levels of support whilst operating as efficiently as possible, ensuring safety of all is paramount and empowering our staff to drive these goals.
“We will do these with three things in mind: ensuring you are staying safe; supporting your business; and safeguarding our future,” Adeduntan said.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Salif Atojoko (NAN)
Prime Minister Nuno Nabian of Guinea-Bissau and several other senior officials have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Lusa news agency reported on Wednesday.
Nabian and at least three other members of his government are infected, Lusa quoted Health Minister Antonio Deuna as saying in a televised address.
A government source told Lusa that the other infected officials are Interior Minister Botche Cande and two secretaries of state, Mario Fambe and Monica Buaro.
The cases are related to a senior Interior Ministry official who has died, Lusa reported.
Guinea-Bissau had recorded 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death by Wednesday, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The small country, which has a population of about 1.8 million, is considered one of Africa’s most volatile states, with 16 coup attempts since it gained independence in 1974. Four succeeded.
Nabian has served as Prime Minister since February.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)