The Zambian government on Tuesday launched the water and sanitation policy aimed at facilitating effective and efficient water supply and sanitation services in the southern African nation.
Jonas Chanda, Minister for Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection said that the policy also provided a framework for a coordinated development towards the attainment of universal access to clean and safe water supply and sanitation.
According to him, the launch of the policy has come at a time when the world was facing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change which has resulted in the unpredictability of water.
He noted that this calls for investment in water storage facilities in order to ensure a sustained supply of water and sanitation services.
According to figures, 72 per cent of the population in Zambia get water from unhygienic sources while 54 per cent had no access to improved sanitation services.
He added that the development of the policy took into consideration both international and regional conventions to which Zambia was a party to.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
Vaccine nationalism unfair, self-serving, says UN Chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday denounced “vaccine nationalism” among some developed countries, saying it was unfair and self-serving.
Opening the annual General Debate of the UN General Assembly, Guterres reiterated his call for global solidarity to defeat the coronavirus pandemic codenamed COVID-19.
“We are working to advance treatments and therapies as a global public good, and backing efforts for a people’s vaccine available and affordable everywhere.
“Yet some countries are reportedly making side deals exclusively for their own populations.
“Such ‘vaccinationalism’ is not only unfair, it is self-defeating.
“None of us is safe, until all of us are safe,” he said.
Some wealthy counties, including the United States, the UK, and Canada have pre-ordered millions of potential coronavirus vaccines for their citizens.
Through this move, referred to as ‘vaccine nationalism’, these countries are striking mass purchase deals with drug manufacturers with promising vaccine candidates.
The UN Chief echoed concerns by stakeholders that the move could leave poor countries behind, thereby undermining efforts to defeat the pandemic.
“Since the beginning, we have pushed for a massive rescue package worth at least 10 per cent of the global economy.
“Developed countries have provided enormous relief for their own societies. They can afford it.
“But we need to ensure that the developing world does not fall into financial ruin, escalating poverty, and debt crises.
“We need a collective commitment to avoid a downward spiral,” he said.
In his address, United States President Donald Trump reaffirmed commitment to his “America First” agenda, saying it was the right thing to do.
Trump argued that it was “only when you take care of your own citizens, will you find a true basis for cooperation”.
“As President, I have rejected the failed approaches of the past, and I am proudly putting America First, just as you should be putting your countries first.
“That’s okay, that’s what you should be doing,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Russia says COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women requires separate study
A separate clinical study would be needed to include pregnant women in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Alexander Gintsburg, the Head of the Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said on Tuesday.
“Certainly, it is necessary to conduct a separate clinical study, which has not been carried out yet,” Gintsburg said at a roundtable on COVID-19, hosted by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
On Aug. 11, Russia became the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine, named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Institute.
However, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide passed 30 million on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the World Health Organisation ( WHO) said daily case numbers were growing at an “alarming rate” in Europe.
The global death toll stands at 943,203 people and is expected to pass 1 million by Oct.1.
The United States accounts for than 22 per cent of global cases, at 6.67m, and nearly 200,000 fatalities.
Meanwhile, the WHO warned of “alarming rates of transmission” of Covid-19 across Europe and cautioned countries against shortening quarantine periods.
The WHO said the number of coronavirus cases in September “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us”.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Peter Dada
Coronavirus: WHO reports highest weekly increment of nearly 2m cases globally
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a record number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus registered across the world over the past week – almost two million infections.
This marks the highest number in a single week so far.
“From Sept. 14 through Sept. 20, there were almost two million new cases of COVID-19, which represents a six per cent increase compared to the previous week.
“And this the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic.
“During the same period, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of deaths, with 36,764 deaths reported in the past seven days,’’ the WHO said in a situation report late on Monday.
In particular, an increase in the weekly case incidence rate was reported across all regions in the last seven days, except for Africa.
The two Americas remaining the worst-hit areas and accounting for more than 38 per cent of all new cases reported over the past week.
Meanwhile, Europe showed the greatest increment in the number of fatalities in the past week, with a 27 per cent increase compared to the previous week.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Lack of fans will be devastating for many clubs, official says
Government’s decision to halt the return of fans to sports events in Britain could have a devastating impact on the football industry, Tranmere Rovers chairman Mark Palios says.
The move, which was announced on Tuesday, was made because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
After a difficult year caused by the pandemic, clubs were looking forward to having 25 to 33 percent capacity crowd back from Oct. 1.
But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that would be postponed, perhaps for as long as six months.
While Premier League clubs enjoy huge broadcasting revenue, further down the football pyramid match day revenue is vital to keep club finances turning over.
“It’s not entirely a surprise, but it is going to be a devastating blow for an industry that’s already been really struggling with the COVID pandemic,” Palios said.
“There were a lot of things that made the football industry unique and a lot of clubs were already having financial difficulties before this pandemic started and this may sadly tip some of them over the edge.”
While Palios insists fourth tier Tranmere can ride out the crisis, he fears many clubs will not.
“There are other clubs who were living (from) hand to mouth before this started and I fear this may be the nail in the coffin for some of them,” he said.
A coalition of more than 100 sports bodies had called on Monday for emergency funding in the light of the expected development.
These include the tennis, cricket and rugby governing bodies, as well as the Premier League.
Steve Evans, manager of third tier Gillingham, said Premier League clubs should help.
“We do need the Premier League or government, or whoever it is, to step in and help out football clubs that would go to the wall if that is not forthcoming,” he said.
“We have waited long enough. It is time for the Premier League to help us.”
The Football Supporters’ Association said fans felt safer in football stadiums than in other social situations that remain largely unaffected by the government’s rule-tightening.
“Feedback from our members at test events has confirmed high levels of compliance with all the health and safety measures put in place,” FSA chief Kevin Miles said.
“Having fans at games is of course not only important to the lives of supporters, it is also crucial to the survival of so many clubs who play a crucial role within their communities.”
Gloucester Rugby Club chief executive Lance Bradley said the news was disappointing after his club ran a successful pilot programme last week with 1,000 fans at Kingsholm for a game.
“Everyone at Kingsholm on Monday was socially distant. So, they were no closer to anybody than they would be if they went to a park or anywhere else outside,” he said.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)