The world is still engaged in a fierce battle against the pandemic with some countries evidently worst hit than others. Brazil and India are currently hotspots for the virus with the death toll hitting 500,000 in Brazil while India recorded 50,581 new cases in the last 24 hours.
In Nigeria, 228 new cases were recorded by the Center for Disease Control in the last 7 days. Last week, 113 cases were recorded. The number of cases this week increased by more than 100%, indicating that the chances of communal transmission are still high.
In today’s update, the United States government is making 10 million vaccine doses available to Africa, the United Arab Emirates has reopened flights into the country from Nigeria. Here is everything interesting that happened.
US donates 10 million vaccine doses to Africa
African countries will be receiving another supply of vaccines from the United States soon. The doses will be taken from Pfizer-BioNtech, as well as from the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines if the latter has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This was announced on Tuesday by White House Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.
A total of 55 million doses will be shared among Africa, Latin America, Asia, Colombia, Argentina, Iraq, Ukraine, the West Bank and Gaza. 10 million doses will go to Africa, 16 million doses will go to Asia and 14 million will be sent to Latin America. 14 million doses will be sent to Columbia, Iraq, Ukraine and the other countries which the US identifies as “Regional Priorities”.
“We have announced today where these doses are going. We will continue to announce as they land on the ground and as they are being shipped, and we’re looking forward to doing that as quickly as possible,” Jen Psaki said.
UAE extends travel ban on Nigeria
Dubai’s major carrier, Emirates Airlines has announced the extension of its ban on Nigeria “until further notice”. This was revealed just 2 days after the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management released new travel protocols for international passengers coming from Nigeria, South Africa and the Republic of India.
The Dubai authorities said that the UAE carrier, Emirates Airlines will start carrying passengers from the three countries in accordance with the new protocols from June 23.
But in its own statement, the national carrier of the UAE said in line with government directives, passengers flights to and from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) are suspended with immediate effect from 21 June, 2021 until further notice.
“Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted to travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.Emirates
The airline said affected customers should contact their booking agents or Emirates call centres for rebooking. it says it remains committed to Nigeria and is looking forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow. It is, however, unclear when this would be.
Saudi Arabia donates $1M worth of Covid-19 equipment to Nigeria
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated Covid-19 equipment worth $1 million to help Nigeria in the fight against Covid-19. The donation includes 23 ventilators, nitrile gloves, sterile and non-sterile surgical gowns as well as surgical masks.
The donation will assist in making sure that health workers have access to the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in their efforts to test and treat people who have come in contact with the deadly virus.
FG seeks additional N895 billion for Covid-19 and military equipment
The Buhari-led administration has requested an additional N895 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 and military equipment. This was revealed in a letter to the National Assembly, in which the President, Muhammadu Buhari, said that the amount would make up a supplementary budget.
His letter reads in part, “We propose to fund N45.63bn of the N83.56bn required for the COVID-19 vaccine program by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be structured as well as other grants totalling $113.2m.
“The balance of N37.93bn required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditure totalling N41.6bn and N48.2bn recurrent component of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135bn from some special reserve levy accounts.”
He explained that the 2021 supplementary appropriation bill has become necessary because provisions for vaccine procurement were not made in the 2021 budget.
AU partners private sector to increase vaccine production
To reduce Africa’s dependence on other continents for vaccines, the Africa Union (AU), through the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, (CoDA) is working on facilitating vaccine production and distribution within the continent.
Souad Aden-Osman, the Executive Director of CoDA, shared the AU’s plans during a press briefing held in Benin, Edo State on Saturday. She added that the continent was too much dependent on other countries for ideas and products instead of developing her own.
“Africa should come up with its own solution and stop being at the receiving end of everything. We seem to be consumers of every idea, concepts, definitions, medications, vaccine, everything. So, anyone out there can bring something and it will be considered to be of a good standard for African consumption,” she said.
The CoDA is working with the private sector, civil societies and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement strategies for local vaccine manufacturing.
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