England will return to the lockdown mode from midnight next Thursday after the country passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases and a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions on Saturday night.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day.
Scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until December 2.
In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
“We must act now,” Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.
“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day.”
The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay, he said.
Essential shops, schools, and universities will remain open, Johnson said. Pubs and restaurants will be shut apart from for takeaways. All non-essential retail will close.
Johnson’s imposition of stricter curbs came after scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas.
The measures bring England into alignment with France and Germany by imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations.
“I am optimistic that this will feel very different and better by the spring,” Johnson said, adding that there was realistic hope of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.
Asked by reporters what took him so long to impose a national lockdown, Johnson said it was a constant struggle to balance the risk to life and the risk to livelihoods.
“We have to mindful the whole time of the scarring and the long-term economic impact of the measures,” Johnson said. His medical adviser Whitty said that without the tougher measures then the National Health Service could be overwhelmed.
The new lockdown will heap more pressure on finance minister Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England to increase their already huge support for the UK economy, the world’s sixth-biggest. The economy slumped a record 20 per cent in the spring.
So far the United Kingdom has reported 46,555 COVID-19 deaths – defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates puts the toll at 58,925.
The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth largest official death toll, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Buhari appoints Semiu Adeniran new stastician general
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mr Semiu Adeniran as the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics.
The appointment follows the demise of the former statistician general, Dr Simon Harry, on April 13, 2022, eight months into his five-year tenure.
A statement by Sufuyan Ojeifo, Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said, “Adeniran is a professional statistician of repute with bias for Demography and Social Statistics. He has over three decades of statistical hands-on experience garnered from various local and international institutions.”
“Until his appointment, Mr Semiu was the Director of Demographic and Household Statistics at the National Bureau of Statistics.”
Cancel gospel crusade in Abia — IPOB warns Kumuyi
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has asked the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, to take note of the ugly security in the South East zone and cancel the crusade he has scheduled to hold in Aba, Abia State.
Pastor Kumuyi is slated to hold a gospel crusade in Aba, from 24th to 29th May, 2022.
IPOB stated that it will not allow anybody to die because of this crusade as there are high chances of criminals operating as unknown gunmen to infiltrate the crusade and blame it on IPOB.
In a statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB urged the cleric to pray for an end to the insecurity in Biafra land and tasked Christians to engage God in fervent prayers to expose all those behind the insecurity in the land.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wish to advise Pastor Kumuyi of Deeper life Ministry to take note of the security situation in the South East as he comes to Aba for his gospel crusade. Let him and the organizers of the crusade make sure that nothing happens.
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“The security of this region is not good because of political and criminal activities. Therefore, we advise him to stop this crusade for security reasons. We equally want them to be united against the Islamic agenda against non Muslims in Nigeria. We had expected them to demand justice for the innocent Deborah Yakubu burnt alive by Muslim fanatics in Sokoto State. Her killers are walking freely today and 34 lawyers shamelessly volunteered to defend her killers but Christians are just watching them. The double faced Nigeria security agencies only managed to arrest two of her killers because they are Muslims. If it were to be in Biafra land, all the youths on the street will be in police cell by now while the unlucky ones would have been killed.
“How many Igbo or Christian lawyers came to defend our Leader fighting for the freedom of all Biafrans but 34 Muslim lawyers have come in defense of killers of Deborah Yakubu? Is it not time Christians and Men of God woke up to the realities in Nigeria? They should support Biafra and Oduduwa agitators in their bid to free Biafra and Oduduwa republics from the Islamic bondage in Nigeria so that they will enjoy freedom of worship in both republics.
“Leah Shuaibu is still in captivity today because she is a Christian but all the Muslims abducted along with her have since been freed. Christians must support IPOB to liberate them from bondage in Nigeria.”
The pro Biafra group further asked Kumuyi to pray against wicked leaders in Biafra land and Nigeria, stressing that they are the real problems of the people.
“Let him use the opportunity to pray against the powers holding people captive in Nigeria in his church in Lagos.”
I’ve no apology for being ‘mad’ about Nigeria ― Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he has a “mad passion” for Nigeria.
Obasanjo, who stated this when he played host to a presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen at his Penthouse residence in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said he had no apology for being mad about Nigeria “because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.”
According to him, Nigeria needs a leader who is ‘mad’ and passionate about the country to address its myriad problems and put it on the right path.
He said, “Passion means being mad about Nigeria; having a touch of madness and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say yes, you are mad about Nigeria too.”
Obasanjo lamented the deteriorating security situation in the country and insisted that Nigeria could overcome its security challenges within two years with the willingness to make tough decisions.
He said, “Some people say the human memories are short, maybe they are right because if human memories are not short, some of the mistakes that we are making, we will not be making them.
“I believe like you (Hayatu-Deen) have rightly said, that this period is not like any other period in the history of Nigeria and you used two words – decomposing and dissolving. I can’t find any better words to describe the situation we have found ourselves.
“It is an agonising situation for you obviously and also for me. I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to brace themselves to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path.”
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Hayatu-Deen who came in the company with his team at 12.30pm went into a closed-door meeting with Obasanjo which lasted for about an hour before speaking with journalists.
The former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, described Obasanjo as a father of modern Nigeria whose administration recorded tremendous achievements.
Speaking at the state PDP secretariat, Hayatu-Deen said he possessed the capacity, experience and knowledge to govern Nigeria.
The aspirant, who said he had been to several parts of Nigeria, including South-West, stressed that he is a passionate and complete Nigerian.
He said, “My blood is Nigerian blood. I had seen Nigeria with the eyes of a Nigerian and not from the perspective of a tribal man. I am prepared to govern Nigeria from the first day of inauguration on May 29, 2023.
“We are suffering from self-inflicted wounds. As an economist, I know how to fix the economy. I will provide social security, I will provide Energy Security, I will deal with the issue of national insecurity.”
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