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African Catholic bishops compose prayer against Coronavirus

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African Catholic Bishops have composed a prayer to be recited by Catholics against the dreaded Coronavirus, write ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE, BISI OLANIYI, ERIC IKHILAE, BLESSING OLAIFA AND KELVIN OSA OKUNBOR 

Even as Coronavirus (COVID-19) continued its rage across the world, leaving no fewer than 3,000 people worldwide dead and no fewer than 100,000 others infected in no less than 45 countries across the world, the African Catholic Bishops said they have composed prayer for faithful against the raging Coronavirus.

The bishops who spoke under the aegis of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) urged faithful to pray against the virus.

The bishops in the statement also advised the public to adhere strictly to the instructions being given by both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities regarding the novel coronavirus.

The statement said, “We express our sympathy for and solidarity with those who are infected and affected by this strange epidemic and pray that an effective and affordable treatment of this disease may soon be found.

“In the meantime, we strongly urge our people to adopt the highest level of preventive measures to curb the spread of this disease.

“We also ask that they pray for those infected and affected by this disease and for a quick end to the scourge of the coronavirus,” the statement said.

The bishops also suggested prayers that their faithful could say for a quick end to the virus thus:

“Almighty and merciful Father, who shows your love to all creation, we come before you asking for a quick control of the Coronavirus currently ravaging our world.

Hear graciously the prayers we make for those affected by the virus in various parts of the world.

“Grant healing to the sick, eternal life to the dead and consolation to the bereaved families.

“We pray that an effective medicine to combat the sickness be speedily found.

“We pray for the relevant Governments and Health Authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of the people.

“Look upon us in your mercy and forgive us our fallings. “We ask this through our Lord Jesus.’’

Coronavirus cannot survive in hot weather

The Niger State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, has described the hot weather condition in the state as a positive development capable of keeping coronavirus at bay.

Makusidi, who disclosed this at press conference in Minna on Monday, said coronavirus would not survive under the present weather condition in the state, which he put at 40°C, saying that it could still go higher.

He explained that if the state could keep Lassa fever at bay, it would also do same to coronavirus, assuring that the ministry was ready for it.

The commissioner said that isolation centres had been made available inside and outside the hospital to quarantine any person who might be affected by the virus.

“We thank God for the media; we are sensitising our people on radio, television and even in mosques and churches on the importance of hand washing and the need to use hand sanitisers as often as possible.

“The ministry is now producing sanitisers so that it can be made available to everybody at subsidised price. We decided to do that because some people are taking advantage of the situation to exploit others.

“The ministry, with the support from the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has already started sharing information on how to prevent infection and mitigate it in case of an outbreak in the state,” he said.

Makusidi further explained that the state would strengthen the surveillance system to detect any case of coronavirus, including investigation and monitoring of any outbreak.

“The Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC) would continue to be on watch mode and continue to enhance surveillance in the state,” he said.

Niger state government said it has started the manufacturing of hand sanitizers.

The Executive Director of the Niger State Drug and Hospital Consumables Agency, Dr. Muhammad Audi, who disclosed this on Monday said the government went into the production of sanitisers to prevent exploitation.

He lamented over the rate at which the prices of the hand sanitizers had increased indiscriminately in the past two weeks.

Audi said the government will only supply to organisations and people with genuine interests such as schools and other institutions adding that it will not be given to people with an ulterior motive of selling it at a high price.

In his address, the Niger State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muhammad Makusidi has said that the government is closely monitoring the incident of coronavirus in other states and is working to ensure that all modalities are in place to prevent its entry into Niger state.

Japan offers help

The Japanese Government said it will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to enable it effectively address rising health challenges, particularly the Coronavirus threat.

The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria Kikuta yutaka gave this assurance in Abuja, while speaking with journalists at the 2020 annual gathering of members of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Alumni Association of Nigeria.

Represented by the Deputy Head of Mission, Japanese Embassy in Nigeria, Shinozawa Takayuki, said his home government will continue to strengthen its bilateral ties with Nigeria through collaborations in area of technology, agriculture, education, among others, with a view to aiding the improvement of Nigeria’s economy.

He noted that the recent agreement between his country and Nigeria to support NCDC will go a long way in improving the nation’s health sector.

UNIZIK stops Chinese Programme

Meanwhile the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Unizik, said it will be closing its Chinese Confucius Institute in the meantime. It said students will continue their studies online.

Unizik’s Vice Chancellor Prof Charles Esimone, who disclosed this on Monday, said the online option is adopted in order to ensure that academic activities are not interrupted.

Esimone said, “Some of our teachers went on vacation in December. But when the Coronavirus issue came up, in line with government policies, we told them to stay back.

“Those that were in China before the issue came up were asked to stay back, while those here were asked to remain.

African Catholic bishops compose prayers

The Catholic bishops of Africa have raised their concerns over the growing number of cases of death from Coronavirus in Africa and the rest of the world. The bishops who spoke under the aegis of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) also composed prayers that the faithful could pray against the virus.

These are contained in a statement signed by its president, Cardinal Philippe Quedraogo and its Secretary, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, after the meeting of SECAM’s standing committee members held in Nairobi, Kenya, between March 4 and March 7, 2020.

It was made available to journalists by Faustina Angmor, the Communications Officer of SECAM Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

SECAM is the continental body of all the Catholic bishops from the English, French and Portuguese speaking regions of Africa.

The statement said, “We express our sympathy for and solidarity with those who are infected and affected by this strange epidemic and pray that an effective and affordable treatment of this disease may soon be found.

“In the meantime, we strongly urge our people to adopt the highest level of preventive measures to curb the spread of this disease.

Avoid partying

Chairman, Agege Local Government Council, Lagos, Mr Ganiyu Egunjobi, has cautioned residents against attending parties and other social gatherings considering the threat of Coronavirus and LASSA fever.

Egunjobi who spoke on Monday said chances of contracting and spreading the diseases was high in such gatherings.

“We need to be very careful, especially in Lagos state; we must suspend all unnecessary social gatherings to curb further spread of the virus.

The chairman said that community needed to be sensitised to ensure that people were aware of the implications of spreading and contracting the infectious virus.

Ban Okrika clothes

A serving Senator Francis Fadahunsi has called for a permanent ban on the importation of fairly used clothes popularly called Okrika.

A former Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, who is Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, said there are many containers with clothing materials from China at Onne Port waiting to be cleared into the country.

Fadahunsi said the Federal government through the Federal Ministry of Health and other health agencies of government need to move fast to prevent eventual epidemic of the coronavirus ensuring that used clothing materials from China and other parts of Europe are banned totally.

Immigration goes mum

The Nigerian Immigration Service has declined to give any updates on the screening of travellers in and outside the country as the outbreak of the COVID-19 continued to generate concerns across the globe.

The Spokesman of the Service, Mr Sunday James, said government had constituted inter-agency committee to give general updates on the index case in Nigeria and other related issues on the Coronavirus, stressing that only the Minister of Health can speak on the matter.

Cabo Verde Airlines suspends flight to US

Cape Verde’s national carrier, Cabo Verde Airlines on Monday said it was temporarily suspending flight from Sunday March 8, to March 31, 2020, to and from Washington from its headquarters in Sal.

According to its  Country Manager Nigeria, Tariye Orianzi , the decision taken by the airline board was  due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to corona virus COVID-19.

She said Corona Virus outbreak  was changing worldwide aviation as passenger demand has decreased as a result of the outbreak

She said :”As a result of the outbreak, passenger demand has decreased. Consequently, airlines have been trimming services and this also impacts Cabo Verde Airlines.

“As other aviation companies in general, Cabo Verde Airlines is paying attention to destinations where the focus of COVID-19 is increasing and affected customers will be contacted to accommodate travel needs.

Virus’ adaptability

A Medical Imaging Scientist, Mr Livinus Abonyi, has urged Federal Government to take proactive step of investigating and conducting research on if Coronavirus was a tropical and endemic disease that could thrive in Nigeria.  Abonyi, also a Lecturer in Medical Radiography Department, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, gave the advice in an interview on Monday in Lagos.

He said the government could achieve this through collaboration with the scientists, researchers, stakeholders and all other relevant authorities.

Abonyi said the research was expected to reveal whether Coronavirus was a tropical infectious disease that could thrive in hot, humid conditions and environment like Nigeria.

The scientist added that the research would also reveal the right medication for the treatment of the virus and possible preventive measures.


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