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Schools in Portugal to be closed again for 15 days over COVID-19

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Portugal said Thursday it will close schools for two weeks in a bid to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases with concerns over the spread of a more contagious UK strain.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the closures will begin Friday, speaking after a cabinet meeting just a week after the government imposed a second lockdown that did not require shutting schools or universities.

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“Precaution requires us to interrupt all teaching activities for the next 15 days,” Costa said, adding that the decision had become necessary because of “this new strain and the speed of its transmission.”

Portugal has this week been breaking daily records in virus death tolls, with an extra 221 fatalities in 24 hours announced Thursday by the national health authorities.

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After having hit Wednesday a record 14,647 new infections in one day, the country of around 10 million people registered 13,544 cases on Thursday.

The explosion in new infections is mainly the result of the spread of the British strain, which is much more contagious than original novel coronavirus.

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“There is a sharp increase with this variant,” the prime minister said, adding it now accounted for 20 percent of infections and could make up 60 percent of them as soon as next week.

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‘Nigeria To Escape Second Wave Of COVID-19 Soon- Dr. Ehanire Osagie

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Dr.-Osagie-Ehanire

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Ehanire Osagie has said that the country might soon exit the second wave of the COVID-19 virus.

Dr. Osagie spoke at a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday February 22.

He said the country has been recording a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The Minister also disclosed that the decreased positivity rate from sustained testing in states, is synonymous with global trends.

He said; 

“This trend in reduction compares with global observations of seeming decline in COVID-19 cases, signifying that the second wave may be receding.

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“On 21st of February 2021, 521 new infections and 8 deaths occurred in 20 states. The sustained testing in states has decreased positively rate.

“We are, however, not drawing conclusions yet and certainly not declaring victory, but rather watching developments as they unfold nationally and internationally, ready to make use of comparative advantages that may emerge.”

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On the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Osagie said the Nigerian government is closely monitoring the situation and also collaborating with the West African Health Organization (WAHO).

He added; 

“Nigeria is closely observing developments on the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea and working with West African Health Organization (WAHO) to contain it in the outbreak country of Guinea and prevent the spread to other countries in the region.

“We are pleased to note that the ECOWAS countries adjacent to the epicenter are taking strict measures with regard checking movement of persons.”

The Minister stated that though Nigeria has been classified as a moderate Ebola risk country because of its distance from Guinea, Port Health Service officers have been on high alert to step up border surveillance of travellers arriving by air or overland from destinations around the outbreak country  to avert disease importation.

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Nigeria Records 521 New COVID-19 Cases In A Day

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nIGERIA covid-19 cases today

521 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Sunday 21st of January.

NCDC made this know during their daily COVID-19 report in the country.

Lagos had the highest number of cases for the day with 166 new cases.

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Ogun came distant second with 52 new cases, Rivers had the third highest cases with 47 new cases.

Adamawa and Ebonyi both had 37 new cases for the day.

Here is a breakdown of the cases:

Lagos-166
Ogun-52
Rivers-47
Adamawa-37
Ebonyi-37
Akwa Ibom-25
Osun-21
Bayelsa-18
Kaduna-17
Oyo-16
FCT-15
Ekiti-14
Kano-12
Edo-12
Borno-9
Yobe-8
Ondo-6
Nasarawa-4
Bauchi-2
Kwara-3

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As at the time of this report, Nigeria has recorded 152,074 confirmed cases, 128,619 discharged patients and 1,839 deaths so far.

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Biden Set To Announce $4 billion Donation For COVID-19 Vaccines To Poor Countries

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JOE BIDEN

The President of the United States, Joe Biden is expected to announce on today, Friday that the United States will make first contribution of  $2 billion to a United Nations backed program seeking to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in the poorest countries in the world, according to senior Biden administration officials.

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ABC News reported that Congress had already allocated the money in December for the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide to Gavi, an international vaccine distribution alliance. The congress provided a total of $4 billion and officials said that the U.S. would give the rest to Gavi over the course of this year and 2022.

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President Biden intends to announce during a virtual meeting of the Group of Seven leaders.

To date, 10 countries have administered 75% of all COVID-19 vaccines, while more than 130 countries have not yet received a single dose, the United Nations said Wednesday.

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The United States has so far purchased 600 million vaccine doses, but it does not intend to give any of them to other countries until “there is sufficient supply in the United States.”

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‘Using COVID-19 Vaccines Carry Certain Amount Of risks’ – Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire

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Dr.-Osagie-Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has told Nigerians that the COVID-19 vaccines carry a certain amount of risk when used.

The World Health Organization (WHO), on the 11th of February a released a document detailing the use and risks associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to the Health organization, people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it,” and it is also not recommended for persons younger than 18 years “pending the results of further studies”.

Ehanire at the press briefing by the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday, February 15, said arrangements have been made for effective distribution of the vaccines that are expected to arrive Nigeria by the end of February.

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“It is important to stress that all COVID-19 vaccines carry a certain amount of risk, and any vaccine not approved by the federal ministry of health through its agencies cannot be used in Nigeria.

The government will not be responsible for the safety or efficacy of vaccines given outside the framework of the government. All the needs of Nigeria have been carefully calculated by NPHCDA, and it is possible to accommodate all interests in the framework.

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We have continued to work on the rollout of our COVID-19 vaccines, when they arrive. This morning, I inaugurated the vaccine coordination committee, an inter-ministerial, multi-sectoral committee to address diverse issues peculiar to COVID-19 vaccine acquisition by Nigeria. Their function is to advise on coordinating access to acquisition and distribution of vaccines when available, and on our immunisation strategy.

The ministry of health also engaged the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), who informed us of the free allocation of 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, of which 500,000 doses are expected by the end of this month, courtesy of MTN donation of seven million doses to Africa. The balance of 900,000 doses for Nigeria is expected by the end of March 2021. Other sources of vaccines are under negotiation.” Ehanire said

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The Minister disclosed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has received dossiers for vaccines manufactured in Russia, India, and China for evaluation and validation for use in Nigeria, with some of them nearly ready for results.

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COVID-19 Cases Reduce In Nigeria As Low Cases Recorded On Monday

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COVID-19 Testing

574 new CODI-19 cases were recorded on Monday February 16 according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.

NCDC made this known during their daily COVID-19 report in the country.

In the report, Kwara state had the highest number of cases for the day with 98 new cases.

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Lagos state which has the total highest COVID-19 cases in the country was close second with 81 new cases.

Others are: Edo- 59, Ondo- 44, FCT- 41, Kano- 34, Ogun- 33, Kaduna- 29, Osun- 28, Enugu- 23, Rivers- 18, Delta-16, Akwa Ibom-15, Bauchi-12, Imo-10, Borno-8, Niger-8, Kebbi-7, Nasarawa-5, Gombe-3, Ekiti-2.

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As at the time of this report, Nigeria’s COVID-19 figures stand at, 146,928 confirmed cases, 123,009 discharged patients and 1,761 deaths.

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