UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that vaccine alone cannot defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Guterres gave the warning at a news conference in New York on Wednesday ahead the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week starting on Monday.
“Many pin their hopes on a vaccine, but let’s be clear – there is no panacea in a pandemic.
“A vaccine alone cannot solve this crisis; certainly not in the near term,” he told newsmen.
The warning comes as the world eagerly awaits a vaccine to defeat the pandemic, which the UN Chief said had reached the “grimmest of milestones”.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no fewer than 29.4 million confirmed cases, including 931,321 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
Guterres recommended massive expansion of “new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives, especially over the next 12 months.
“But starting now, a vaccine must be seen as a global public good because COVID-19 respects no borders.
“We need a vaccine to be affordable and available to all. A people’s vaccine.
The UN Chief also drew attention to what he called “vaccine hesitancy”, which he blamed on misinformation.
He noted that people should be willing to take a vaccine for it to work, saying, however, that the prospect was being threatened by “proliferation of misinformation about a future vaccine.
“This is fuelling vaccine hesitancy and igniting wild conspiracy theories. Mistrust in vaccines is on the rise around the world.
“We have seen alarming reports of large segments of the population in some countries indicating their reluctance or even refusal to take a future COVID-19 vaccine.
“In the face of this lethal disease, we must do our utmost to halt deadly misinformation.
“We must also do far more to address the global fragilities that the virus has exposed,” he said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Emmanuel Yashim
Schools reopening: Gov. Ganduje lauds FG’s level of preparation
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has commended the Federal Government for progress recorded and measures taken toward reopening of schools in the country.
Hassan Fage, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, said this in a statement on Sunday in Kano.
The governor described the federal government’s policies and programmes in education as veritable tools to national development.
He said: “the progress recorded and measures taken by Buhari led administration in reopening of Schools in the country is commendable.
“I wish to acknowledge the commitment of the federal government in the education sector, particularly at this time when schools are about to be reopened,” he said.
Represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, Ganduje made the assertion while receiving the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who visited him in his office.
Ganduje also said the state government was committed to prioritising the education sector in view of its importance.
Hr said fumigation had been conducted with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to the schools across the state.
“As part of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols for ensuring safety and protection of the teaching staff and the students ahead of the reopening of schools, fumigation has been conducted with PPE provided to the schools across the state.
“The state government recently released the sum of N880 million for the renovation of some schools across the State, ” he said.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said he was in Kano for the North West Stakeholders meeting to review the guidelines and protocols for reopening of schools.
He further said during the visit that he would also assess the facilities in the schools with a view to making them functional.
The minister also commended the efforts of the Kano government for its laudable initiatives in promoting education, which he described as worthy of emulation by other states.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Northern states may reopen schools before Oct. 30 – commissioners
The Commissioners of Education in the 19 Northern States, say they may reopen schools before October 30, but subject to approval of their respective state governors.
The commissioners made this known in a communique issued in Kaduna on Sunday, at the end of a two-day meeting on student exchange programme, school reopening and other matters held in Abuja.
The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner of Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).
The meeting was attended by commissioners of 10 of the 19 northern states namely, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Plateau, Niger, Kogi Gombe, Taraba, Nassarawa and Plateau, while others sent their apologies.
“We have agreed to reopen schools as soon as possible, hopefully before Oct. 30, fully or in phases, but subject to the approval of our respective governors.
“Some states have already reopened fully while others opened partially since Sept. 14, so we are looking at the possibilities of reopening as soon as we get approvals.
“We therefore urge state governments, development partners, parents and relevant stakeholders to combine efforts in the provision of COVID-19 prevention facilities in schools to fast track reopening.
“The Federal Government should equally support states to meet the COVID-19 requirements for school reopening, as it did to other sectors,” they said.
They recommended the establishment of an effective communication channel between the FME and the state commissioners of education, on policy issues, development in the sector, and particularly plans on schools reopening.
The commissioners observed that most of the SEP schools were overpopulated and directed that affected states should adhere to the numbers stipulated in the guidelines establishing the programme.
According to them, decongesting the schools will ensure quality teaching and learning.
“Commissioners should intensify monitoring of SEP and other schools to improve the education delivery system in their respective states.
“States should equally invest in building the administrative capacities of principals and teachers by organising workshops and supporting school administrators and teachers to attend courses in institutes of education and public administration.
“Similarly, Information and Communication Technology should also be included in school administration to equip school principals and teachers with relevant skills to deliver quality education,” they stated.
The commissioners also resolved to engage the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in developing the needed strategies for integrating children of all almajiri schools into the formal education system.
They agreed to intensify efforts to gain the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure success of the integration process.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Edo Polls: Foundation commends security personnel
Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commended the conduct of the security personnel deployed for the Edo State Governorship election on Sept. 19.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation, gave the commendation in a preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Olugbuo said that the conduct of the security agents made the electorate feel safe and confident while carrying out their civic duty.
“We observed the feeling of safety at the polling units. Our reports showed that 78 per cent of the polling units were safe and secure while 22 per cent were observed to be somewhat safe and secure.
“Report from our observers also showed that 94 per cent of the security personnel at the polling units were approachable and 83 per cent of the security personnel were impartial.
“However, we observed that at Uwa Primary School, Ward 10, Pollin Unit 21, Oredo Local Government Area, party and security agents were observed monitoring electorate’s votes in the cubicle disregarding the secrecy of the balloting system,” he said.
He lauded the security for early arrivals at 86 per cent of the polling units and for not scaring or threatening the safety of the electorate with the possession of firearms.
Olugbuo said its foundations observers also reported that on the aggregate, 83 per cent of the polling units had three or more security personnel which boosted voters’ safety and confidence.
He said that 96 per cent of security personnel were observed to be wearing easily identifiable name tags, which also encouraged voters to feel safe.
He said that apart from wearing of facemasks, there was no physical distancing and there was absence of sanitisers.
He said that other observations were vote trading across the state, malfunctioning of some smart card readers and late commencement of voting in few places.
Olugbuo said that the organisation would continue to observe the elections and issue its post-election statement to detail more on the overall conduct of the security personnel.
He said that the observation was done by its trained observers under the platform of the Election Security Support Centre (ESSC), of the foundation, in collaboration with the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Donald Ugwu
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