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Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa… Canada rejects COVID test results from 10 African countries

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The Canadian government says it will not accept results of molecular COVID tests done in Nigeria and nine other African countries.

The other affected countries are Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Canada had, on November 30, banned travellers from the 10 countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron COVID variant.

In the “quick facts” section of its travel advisory, the country said Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act who have been in the affected countries are allowed entry into Canada.

It, however, added that they would be required to obtain proof of a valid negative COVID test from a third country.

This implies that such travellers would need an in-transit PCR test result for entry into Canada.

“Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act who have been in these countries—Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe—in the 14 days before travel to Canada will be required to: Obtain, within 72 hours of departure, a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test in a third country before continuing their journey to Canada,” the statement reads.

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Travellers from the aforementioned countries will also be expected to “complete testing upon arrival to Canada, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19”.

They will also be “required to complete a test on Day 8 after arrival and quarantine for 14 days”, while “those arriving by air will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while they await their arrival test result”.

“They will be permitted onward travel once they have received a negative arrival test result. Those arriving by land may be allowed to proceed directly to their suitable quarantine location,” the statement reads.

“If they do not have a suitable and robust quarantine plan—where they will not have contact with anyone with whom they haven’t travelled with—or do not have private transportation to their place of quarantine, they will be directed to stay at a designated quarantine facility.

“There will be increased scrutiny of quarantine plans for travellers from these countries and rigorous monitoring to ensure travellers are complying with quarantine measures.

“Further, PHAC is contacting travellers, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19, who have entered Canada from these countries in the past 14 days to direct them to be tested and to quarantine while they wait for the results of those tests.”

The new protocol came into effect on December 1

The Cable

COVID-19

COVID-19 infections rise by 231.5% in one month

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COVID-19 infections have reportedly risen by 231.5 per cent within one month in the country.

Epidemiological data obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control showed that from May 28 to June 29, a total of 1,262 cases were reported.

But from June 30 to August 1, the cases took a new surge as 4,183 cases were reported, indicating an increase of 2,921 (231.5 per cent).

The country now has 261,473 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,147 deaths. The total recoveries in the country have now increased to 254,953.

The NCDC confirmed in its latest biweekly epidemiological report that in the last 10 weeks, the test positivity ratio had continued to increase with the majority of cases reported from Lagos, FCT, Rivers, and Kano states.

The NCDC, however, noted that there was a drop in the testing rate as reports for weeks 27 and 28 showed that the number of samples tested decreased to 24,411 from 35,063 reported in weeks 25 and 26.

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Meanwhile, only 27,528,710 Nigerians representing 24.6 per cent of the total eligible population targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been fully vaccinated, while 11,768,202 have been partially vaccinated representing only 10.5 percent of the total eligible population, according to official data by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, told our correspondent that the agency’s surveillance system continued to record a gradual increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.

“This is a reminder of the prevailing risk we face and the need for continued adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as the use of face masks in closed gatherings, physical distancing, and regular hand washing.

“These should be done in addition to taking the vaccines which have been proven to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” he said.

 Yellow fever cases

Similarly, the NCDC has reported a total of 1,005 suspected cases of yellow fever from 36 states, including the FCT in 390 local government areas.

The cases were reported from January 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022.

According to the situation report, Borno State is leading with 88 cases, followed by Anambra State with 75 cases.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.

Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days.

The report read in part, “The cases were reported from the following states: Abia (28), Adamawa (18), Akwa Ibom(8), Anambra (75), Bauchi (34), Bayelsa (13), Benue (15), Borno (88), Cross River (20), Delta(5), Ebonyi (25), Edo (11), Ekiti (18), Enugu (43), FCT (5), Gombe (14), Imo (38), Jigawa(71), Kaduna (8), Kano (4), Katsina (67), Kebbi (21), Kogi (12), Kwara (21), Lagos(4), Nasarawa(23), Niger (25), Ogun (22), Ondo (55), Osun (18), Oyo (60), Plateau (34), Rivers(22), Sokoto(16), Taraba (27), Yobe (24), Zamfara (13).

“Total of six presumptive positive and four inconclusive results were recorded from the Nigeria Laboratory network.

“These presumptive positives were from UBTH Benin (2), MDH Abuja (1), CPHL Lagos (2), and YDMH (1). The cases were reported from Edo -1 (Egor); Niger -1 (Suleja); Rivers-1 (Port-Harcourt); Sokoto-1 (Dange-shuni); Osun-1 (Atakunmosa East); Ondo-1 (Akure South). The inconclusive cases were reported from Oyo -1 (Olorunsogo); Anambra-2 (Idemili South & Ayamelum) and Imo -1 (Nwangele).”

 Expert reacts

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr Stephen Fagbemi, said the discovery of the COVID-19 and yellow fever cases showed that the surveillance system was active and strong.

“We are at the peak of the wet season; so, people will be coming down with the infection. People need to get vaccinated, some people got the first shot and ran away and some have not taken it at all. COVID-19 is still with us and people should keep adhering to the non-pharmaceutical protocols.

“For cases of yellow fever, it could be because some children missed out on vaccination during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic but we will overcome it,” Fagbemi said.

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Joe Biden Tests Positive for COVID-19, Shows Mild Symptoms

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U.S. President Joe Biden

Joe Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States has tested positive for COVID-19.
He is experiencing mild symptoms and would continue working but in isolation, the White House disclosed yesterday.
However, Biden yesterday Twitted that he is “doing great” despite testing positive for COVID-19.

“Folks, I’m doing great. Thanks for your concern. Just called Senator Casey, Congressman Cartwright, and Mayor Cognetti (and my Scranton cousins!) to send my regrets for missing our event today,” Biden tweeted on his official @POTUS account on Twitter.
Biden, 79, has a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough, which he began to experience late Wednesday, White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a note made public.

Biden has begun taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid, O’Connor said.
“He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” Reuters quoted Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, to have said in a statement.
“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she added, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House would provide a daily update on the president’s health, Jean-Pierre said.
Biden’s administration is facing major challenges including soaring inflation and Russia’s land assault on Ukraine. His popularity has dropped sharply over the past year.

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A Reuters/Ipsos survey completed on Tuesday showed 36 per cent of Americans approve of his job performance.
Multiple members of Biden’s administration and other senior figures in Washington had tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months, including Vice President Kamala Harris in April, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
All have since tested negative and resumed working.

U. S. stocks briefly headed lower following reports of the president’s diagnosis, with the S&P 500 (.SPX) dropping about 0.5 per cent over the following 10 minutes. The index quickly retraced that loss and by mid-morning was back to near the unchanged mark on the day.
While many Americans have moved on from the strict precautions of the pandemic’s early months, returning to offices and schools and resuming summer travel, the virus continues to spread.

Cases in the United States are up more than 25 per cent in the last month, according to CDC data, as the rapidly spreading BA.5 sub-variant has taken hold.
Evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection, BA.5 has been the dominant sub-variant in the United States since at least early July and has driven a surge of new infections globally.
Biden is tested regularly for the disease and anyone who meets with him or travels with him is tested beforehand, the White House had said. Biden had last tested negative on Tuesday.

If given within the first five days of infection, the Pfizer Inc. antiviral drug Paxlovid that Biden is taking has been shown to reduce the risk of severe disease by nearly 90 per cent in high risk patients.
But Paxlovid has in some cases been associated with rebound infections, in which patients improve quickly and test negative after a five-day course of the drug, but then days later symptoms return.

THISDAY

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Fear over COVID-19 resurgence as Nigeria records 247 new cases

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There fears that the dreaded coronavirus may be staging a comeback as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 247 new cases on Saturday, with Lagos being the worst hit.

The report specifically said Lagos recorded 203 cases, raising the national figures to 256,958 infections since the pandemic started.
The latest is the highest since March 13, when the new confirmed cases surged to 333.
The latest COVID-19 cases were recorded in four states and the federal capital territory (FCT), from June 21 to 24, according to the agency’s update on Saturday.
Lagos was followed by the FCT with 17 cases; Rivers with 14; Cross Rivers with 12 and Kano with one case.
Also, the agency said there is currently 3,637 active case of the virus in the country.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, a total of 250,177 patients have recovered from the virus, with the death toll hitting 3,144 in the country.
Overall, Lagos accounts for the highest tally of coronavirus fatalities in Nigeria with 769 deaths, followed by Edo (321)and the FCT (248).
At 100,125, Lagos also takes the lead in the number of reported cases, followed by the FCT and Rivers with 28,738 and 16,761 respectively.

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