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Covid-19: Passengers To Pay Fine Of £500 If They Fail To Comply With Pre-Departure Testing

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Covid-19

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that from next week inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa. He equally said that Passengers would be subjected to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing.

Today’s (8 January 2021) decisive action is in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe. Pre-departure testing will protect travel and will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10-day self-isolation for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England. A negative pre-departure test reduces the risk of someone travelling whilst infectious, acting as another safeguard to prevent imported infections. Passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their pre-departure test result to provide further robust protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.
Prior to departure passengers will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to carriers, as well as their passenger locator form. The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England to ensure that passengers are fully compliant. The move further bolsters existing protective measures which helped to safely enable international travel last year, with self-isolation for new arrivals and travel corridors remaining critical in reducing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions. “Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.” National lockdown restrictions which came into force on 6 January 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.

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Permitted travellers will need to take their test up to 72 hours before departure, and this will apply irrespective of whether a country is on the travel corridor list. The government will set out the standards that these tests will need to meet and what proof passengers will need to present. Passengers arriving into England who have successfully demonstrated a negative result prior to departure from a country not on the travel corridor list will still have the option to reduce the self-isolation period from 10 to as little as 5 days by paying for a test through the Test to Release scheme. The scheme requires a test to be taken on or after the fifth full day since leaving a country not on the travel corridor list. Passengers will be required to show their negative test result before boarding, and transport operators will deny boarding if necessary. On arrival back into the UK, Border Force will check passengers test results through the current spot check regime, to ensure that individuals are compliant with the new rules, and passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500. There will be a limited number of exemptions, including for hauliers, children under 11, crews and for those who travelling from countries without the infrastructure available to deliver the tests. Further exemptions will be set out on GOV.UK. This follows the recent decision to temporarily suspend direct travel from South Africa to England after new evidence emerged from health authorities reporting an outbreak of a variant strain of coronavirus spreading to some local communities. Those who travel indirectly from South Africa must self-isolate for 10 days. All travellers will still be required to complete a passenger locator form before arrival into England. This is critical in being able to track the virus in case of any local outbreaks, and those who fail to complete a passenger locator form will be subject to an increased fine of £500.

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COVID-19

BioNTech to produce two billion Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2021

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COVID-19 VACCINE

German company BioNTech, which developed the first coronavirus vaccine approved in the West, said Monday it expects to produce two billion doses in 2021, up from the 1.3 billion previously forecast.
“We now believe that we can potentially deliver approximately 2 billion doses in total by the end of 2021, which incorporates the updated six-dose label,” said the company, referring to an additional dose that could be extracted from each vial of the vaccine.
European regulators last week approved doctors drawing six doses from each vial, boosting dosage capacity by 20 percent.
The Mainz-based company, which developed the jab with US giant Pfizer, is planning to open a new factory in Marburg, Germany, in February, expected to ramp up production capacity by 750 million doses a year.

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The site will join five other sites in Germany, Belgium and the US shared with Pfizer.
The company said it had shipped nearly 33 million doses by January 10, more than a month after Britain became the first Western nation to approve any vaccine on December 2.
BioNTech’s announcement comes after the EU agreed to raise its orders of the vaccine by 200 million doses, with an option for another 100 million.
But the vaccination rollout has been criticised across Europe, with sluggish starts in nations like France and the Netherlands.
The company added that Covid-19 will “likely become an endemic disease”, and that vaccines would need to fight against the emergence of new viral variants and a “naturally waning immune response”.
The German company said last week that studies show its vaccine works against the new mutation found in variants uncovered in Britain and South Africa.

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Hospitals won’t be able to handle serious COVID-19 cases soon — NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the country is now reaching a critical level, adding that the hospital capacity will no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a series of tweets on Monday while reacting to the spike in COVID-19 infections in the last one month.

Ihekweazu said this as the fear of COVID-19 spread at the National Identity Management Commission grew on Monday because Nigerians besieged the NIMC offices following the workers’ suspension of the strike they embarked upon on Thursday.

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Recall that Nigerians have been trooping to the NIMC offices since December 14, 2020 when the Federal Government ordered telecommunications firms to disconnect telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their NIN to their subscriber identification modules.

No fewer than 164 million Nigerians, whose telephone lines could be disconnected on the grounds of not having the NIN, have been thronging NIMC offices, disregarding COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks and social distancing.

The matter came to a head on Thursday when the NIMC workers began a strike over the fear of COVID-19 spread in the agency.

The President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC unit, Asekokhai Lucky, had exclusively said on Thursday that three workers of the agency at its headquarters had been infected with COVID-19.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, had, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme earlier on Monday said the Federal Government might soon suspend the registration for the NIN.

The minister said, “My understanding is that the whole process may be suspended so as to reorder the whole process in terms of management of the crowd because it was never intended that it would become a rowdy process like

that. So people may have to wait and be called at intervals to go through the process.

But later at a press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mamora ruled out the suspension or postponement of the NIN, blaming the challenges on the attitude of Nigerians.

Mamora stressed the need to avoid crowding as was seen under the guise of NIN enrolment.

He said, “There is absolutely no cause for this, if only people would voluntarily comply with advisories and guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Communications and its relevant agency.

“The statement credited to me on the social media as to the suspension of the exercise is out of context, hence misleading. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. President’s order on the matter remains as being carried out by the relevant ministry.

Mamora added that the result from the tests conducted on prospective National Youth Service Corps members had confirmed that no part of the country was free of COVID-19.

The minister also said that the plan of the Federal Government regarding activation of oxygen availability in the states was on course with a view to effecting immediate repairs of non-functional oxygen plants.

On his part, Ihekweazu, in a series of tweets on Monday, said Nigeria was reaching a critical level, adding that the hospital capacity would no longer be able to cope with serious COVID-19 cases.

The NCDC DG tweeted, “We are reaching a critical level where our hospital capacity will no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases and health workers will be forced to make tough decisions. We need to protect our more vulnerable citizens.

“We all have to take responsibility. This is not for the NCDC, the PTF or government alone. By organising large gatherings indoors, you’re not only putting yourself and guests at risk, but also the staff who have limited choice but to serve. By going to clubs, you’re putting your parents at risk.”

Ihekweazu added that the number of coronavirus cases reported in the country had been on the rise in the last four weeks.

“In the last four weeks, we‘ve recorded a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases. The virus is spreading fast, causing mild symptoms in some and severe illness/death in others,” he tweeted.

The NCDC boss said Nigerians must note that the 100,000 persons that contracted COVID-19 in the last 11 months were not just figures but persons.

“Most important of all, the 100,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths are not just numbers. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends whose deaths will be mourned and the pain of their loss deeply felt. The response starts and ends with the people of this country,” he said.

Later at the PTF press conference, Ihekweazu, disclosed that the centre would from next week roll out rapid diagnosis test kits in five tertiary hospitals in Abuja while the facility would be extended nationwide from February.

Also at the press conference, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the Federal Government was considering extension of the curfew hours as part of its response to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in April 2020 declared an 8pm-to-6am curfew. It was eventually relaxed to 10pm-4am and later 12am to 4am, which still exists to date.

But Aliyu said the Federal Government was in talks with the state governments on the review of the curfew.

The PTF coordinator also sensitised health workers to patients who present persistent fever “especially if there are respiratory symptoms or shortness of breath; it is possibly going to be COVID.”

Aliyu urged vulnerable persons to “please stay at home,” especially those who were above 60 or are diabetic and other core morbidities.

He said, “While we are not in (another) lockdown yet, it is in your best interest if you fall within this group to lock down because now is the time to actually keep away from the general public and mass gatherings.

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FG will Stop Train Services if COVID-19 Cases are Detected —Amaechi

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Stop Train Services

The Federal Government says it will shut down the Lagos-Ibadan and the Abuja-Kaduna train services should there be any case of Covid-19 detected among passengers
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated this on Monday. He said train users must comply with all Covid-19 protocols from the beginning of every trip to the end.
The minister said, “If we see that we are conveying passengers who have Covid from Lagos to Ibadan and Ibadan to Lagos, we will stop it just like we are threatened to stop the one from Kaduna to Abuja if people don’t comply with the Covid protocols.

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“Don’t forget that on Kaduna-Abuja, we convey 4,000 passengers in a day. Imagine that about 20 per cent have Covid, they can transmit Covid to the entire passengers. The rate of transmission will be high. The same is applicable to Lagos. Everybody must comply with the Covid protocols, wear your masks till the end of the journey.”
The minister also added that the $1.6bn Lagos-Ibadan railway project which would be completed this month would be inaugurated virtually by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Nigerian Railway Corporation had in December 2020 commenced operations for the Lagos-Ibadan railway, a standard gauge rail mainland
covering a distance of 156km.

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COVID-19 PREVENTION

infectious diseases in your community. It is very important to wash your hand frequently with soap under running water.

COVID-19 IS REAL

#COVID19NIGERIA Situation Report

The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 21st July, 2020 has been published. Our daily reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria

The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 21st July, 2020 has been published. Our daily reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria

@Africa CDC

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

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"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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