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World Bank approves $114.28m for Nigeria’s COVID-19 response

The World Bank has approved $114.28 million to help Nigeria tackle its coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The global lender said yesterday that the intervention includes $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, said in statement, that: “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, but more needs to done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.

“The project will provide the states with much needed direct technical and fiscal support to strengthen their position in combating the pandemic.” Through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP), the Federal Government was expected to provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as immediate support to break the chain of COVID- 19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies. According to the statement from the World Bank, grants to states will be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies which are in line with the Federal Government guidelines and strategies.

CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan. CoPREP will finance further support to all states and Abuja Federal Capital Territory through the NCDC to implement their COVID-19 Incident Action Plans. The bank said the loan was its initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the country’s economy.

Health workers warn against industrial unrest

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), has warned it was running out of patience and could no longer guarantee industrial harmony if the ten percent COVID-1919 allowance wrongly paid its members was not corrected before payment of the third batch of allowances. National President of MHWUN, Josiah Biobelemoye, who expressed the union’s displeasure during a visit to the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), said the agreement signed with the Ministry of Health was that those who earned five thousand naira as hazard allowance would be replaced with 50 per cent of their basic salary. He said: “There is one misinformation that has been going round about COVID-19 allowances. we enter an agreement and is explicit, the agreement in paragraph one part A, B, C and D is very clear but the CMDs were mislead to acting in only paragraph D, leaving out full aspect of paragraph A, B and C.”

Benue tests 250 people daily

Benue State Deputy Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu, has said about 250 people are been tested of COVID-19 on a daily basis in the state. Abounu, who doubles as the state chairman of the COVID-19 committee, said in Makurdi, that: “As of today, we are testing not less than 250 people a day to ensure that those who are infected are quickly mopped out of circulation, taken into isolation and treated. “If not because of the help of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi where we have up to about 26 to 30 beds, the situation would have been worse.”

No plan to sack workers, says KWASU VC

The Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Prof. Muhammed Akanbi, has clarified that the institution has no plan to sack any of its staff despite the economic downturn being witnessed in the country occasioned by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, which has also taken its toll on universities and other tertiary institutions. Addressing journalists in Ilorin at the ‘News Keg’ programme of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kwara State Council, Akanbi said: “We plan to go into large scale farming so as to be able to augment our finances and also assist our host and other communities.”

Obaseki trains 100 emergency response workers

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is boosting the capacity of the state’s health sector to respond to emergencies with the training of 100 health workers to provide quality and affordable healthcare services to victims of accidents and cardiovascular diseases. The governor said this when he visited healthcare providers undergoing training at the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy, in Benin City. He said: “During a review of our healthcare system under the Edo-HIP, we observed that something as basic as emergency care was absent in our health facilities. As a government, it is a concern because we expect that every trained health personnel should be able to respond to emergencies in terms of accidents and be able to rescue the victims.”

Lagos mosques observe prayers

After about five months worship centres were declared closed in Lagos as part of the measures to check the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, mosques in the state yesterday opened for congregational weekly Jummah prayers with strict compliance with guidelines given by the state government and National Centres for Diseases Control (NCDC). At most Central mosques yesterday, the usual manner and style of prayers were altered in compliance with the new normal and as spelt out by the health experts. Temperature check were carried out on all the worshipers before entering the mosques while all the worshippers were wearing facemasks. Also, there was no usual closeness among the worshipers while observing the two-rakat Jummah prayers as most mosques only allowed 40 per cent of their usual capacity in compliance with the social distancing guidelines. At various mosques visited worshipers came in their numbers, yet registers were filled by worshipers to ease contact tracing at the advent of any need for such act while everyone was screened with temperature check. Saturday Telegraph also observed that the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Alausa only accommodated 500 worshipers comprising 350 males and 150 females. The figure was said to be the about 25 percent of the mosques capacity as tags were provided to the first 500 worshipers while others were turned back. At the Barrack Central Mosque and the Lagos State House of Assembly mosque, the Jummah prayers were also observed with strict compliance. Handshake and other close contact greetings were forbidden. Temperature tests were also carried out on every single worshiper. Speaking with Saturday Telegraph, an official Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, who pleaded anonymity, said the mosque management deliberately designed tags to ensure the worshipers don’t crowd the mosque all in the name of the Jum’mat prayers. He said: “We refused to open some of the halls and other places where we usually observe the prayers just to ensure we comply with the government’s directives.”

Muslim faithful commend govt

Muslim faithful across some prayer centres in Lagos State yesterday, expressed gratitude over the state government’s directive for mosques to open after five months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While some of them commended the government, some said they were grateful and happy to return to the mosque to observe Jumm’at service. In some of the mosques monitored by our correspondent in the state, low turnout greeted the reopening as Muslim faithful were still afraid of coming out to observe the Friday prayer. According to a worshiper, Mr. Ibrahim Yahaya, “They are elated that they are back to mosque to observed Jumm’at Service.”

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