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COVID-19: Japan opens mass vaccination centres ahead of Olympics

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In a bid to fast-track a cautious Covid-19 inoculation programme, Japan opened its first mass vaccination centres on Monday.

The two military-run centres in Tokyo and Osaka have been saddled with the responsibility of administering thousands of shots daily, initially to elderly residents of the cities, as the country battles a fourth wave of virus cases.

It was gathered that two per cent of Japan’s population of 125 million are fully vaccinated so far — compared to around 40 per cent in the United States and 15 per cent in France.

Criticism has been mounting over the relatively slow rollout, hindered by strict medical rules and complex bureaucracy, but the first people to get a jab at the Tokyo centre said they were excited to move on with their lives.

“It’s wonderful. I can rest easy now. For a long time, a year and a half, I was feeling rather anxious and tense,” Hideo Ishikawa, 73, told reporters.

Munemitsu Watanabe, a 71-year-old engineering lecturer, also expressed relief but said the rollout could have been quicker.

“Had they done it earlier and had 80 or 90 per cent of people injected by the time of the Olympics, then the Games could be held more smoothly,” he said.

The Tokyo centre aims to deliver up to 10,000 jabs a day, while the Osaka centre will give up to 5,000.

Both are using the two-shot Moderna vaccine, which was approved for use in Japan on Friday along with the AstraZeneca formula.

But the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used immediately due to concern over very rare blood clots.

Japan began giving the Pfizer jab in February first to medical workers and then over-65s, who the government aims to finish inoculating by late July, when the Olympics begin.

But ministers insist the Games do not figure on their rollout schedule, and no date has been announced for other age groups.

Japan has seen a relatively small coronavirus outbreak, with around 12,000 deaths overall, but a recent surge in infections has put hospitals under strain.

Tokyo, Osaka and eight other regions are under a virus state of emergency curbing commercial activities until the end of May, with reports saying the measures could be extended for another three weeks.

Public opinion is largely opposed to holding the Olympics this summer but organisers insist the event can be held safely.

The majority of athletes and others staying in the Olympic village will be vaccinated before they enter Japan, but inoculation is not required to participate.

AFP

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Politics

FFK’s Admission Into APC, A Symbolic Presidential Amnesty – Kayode Ajulo

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FFK’s Admission Into APC, A Symbolic Presidential Amnesty – Kayode Ajulo

Dr. Kayode Ajulo, a legal practitioner, has described Femi Fani – Kayode’s (FFK) admission into the APC as a ‘symbolic presidential amnesty’, considering his past attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ajulo said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, against the backdrop of FFK’s recent defection to the APC.

He said the APC was magnanimous to have received FFK, irrespective of the fact that some persons including some party members might not be happy with the development.

”FFK’s past attacks on President Buhari and the APC had unwittingly influenced passions in some quarters, for armed and unarmed agitations against the President and the Nigerian state.”

Fani Kayode-Crystal News

Fani Kayode-Crystal News

He recalled that FFK had suggested on different occasions with his tweets, that the APC government was filled with terrorists.

Ajulo, however, said that the commendable magnanimity of President Buhari to FFK should be extended to various agitators across the country as a basis for amnesty.

According to him, amnesty in this context is not to be viewed from the strict standpoint of legal knowledge, rather the ordinary meaning is desirable.

“For our immediate purpose, therefore, amnesty means forgiveness, cessation of remembrance of wrong, leniency, and mercy,” he said.

READ ALSO: APC Postpones State Congresses, Announces New Date

He stated that it might not be wrong to state that the symbolic ‘amnesty’ granted to FFK by the President and the APC almost came on a platter of gold.

“The symbolism by the President signposts the fact that the vilest of ‘sinner’ in his lucid moment of thorough reflections, can be granted safe passage toward the “mercy seat,” he said.

Ajulo admitted that FFK is misunderstood man and has a controversial personality.

According to him, haven been given the benefit of ‘eating his cake and having it, the same level of understanding, leniency, and mercy should be extended to his allies.

He said some of the agitations by secessionists had not gone without the open endorsement and support of FFK.

He advised FFK to totally divest himself of his divisive un-nationalistic past.

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Sanwo-Olu Seeks Innovative Solutions For Cardiovascular Disease Patients

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has tasked the Nigeria Cardiac Society, (NCS) to develop innovative solutions and reinvent methods to reach out to patients with cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr Olusegun Ogboye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Lagos state, made the call at the 50th anniversary and scientific conference of the NCS in Lagos.

The theme of the conference was : “Delivering Cardiovascular Care in Emergency and Disaster Situations”.

”Science and technology has successfully made life easier and better through several inventions and innovations, such as telemedicine and use of artificial intelligence in the health sector.

“As we are aware, people with underlying health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, are more at risk of the severity of COVID-19 complications.

”The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed in 2016 that non-communicable diseases are estimated to account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria.

”With cardiovascular diseases being responsible for 11 per cent of these deaths and also responsible for a high burden of morbidity and disability leading to strokes and others.

“These statistics serve as a pointer to the fact that cardiovascular diseases have somewhat dire consequences when not properly and closely monitored,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that in Lagos state telemedicine has been integrated into our health care system.
“It is one of the innovations we have embraced from the lessons COVID-19 has taught the world.

“I remain proud of all the great strides and achievements of the society, being the first cardiac society to perform an open heart surgery in black Africa.

“This society has contributed to manpower training in cardiovascular medicine and surgery,” Sanwo-Olu added.

Speaking, Dr Okechukwu Ogah, President, Nigerian Cardiac Society said there was a need to collaborate with basic, social and public health scientists in order to advance our research in common cardiovascular health conditions in the country.

Ogah said that in recent time there had been remarkable contributions of our members in the areas of congenital heart disease, hypertension, COVID-19 and other heart diseases.
“We are also working with the World Heart Federation(WHF) and Federal Ministry of Health in many areas to tame the growing burden of Non-communicable Diseases.

”It is no doubt that we are working in very difficult terrain at a time the world is bedeviled by a pandemic, “he said.

Oga noted that locally, they were facing a very disruptive health care system, massive migration of health workers, economic down turn, devaluation of our currency and high cost of drugs.

“We therefore, use this opportunity to call on our governments at all levels to look into the plights of our patients and those who provide the care.

”We thank all the public and private health institutions that have added value to the practice of cardiovascular medicine in Nigeria.

“At the founding of our society, there were very few human and material resources to take care of the cardiovascular needs of the country.

”Today cardiac care services are provided in many tertiary centres and private-owned super-specialty cardiac care services are springing up, but currently affordable to the rich in the country, “he said.

Sanwo-Olu Seeks Innovative Solutions For Cardiovascular Disease Patients

Oga called on the Federal and State Governments to embrace universal health coverage and provide the enabling legal framework and resources in Nigeria.

Also contributing, Prof. Amam Mbakwem, Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference said that the time was apt for us to deliberate on the best way to deliver cardiovascular care during these periods.

Mbakwem said that the level of environmental degradation, global warming, encroachment on the natural habitats of some of the hosts or carriers of these pathogens, no one was sure what happens next.

”However, come what may, we would innovate and look after our patients in a safe and effective manner.

“The problems of cardiovascular care delivery are magnified in our environment with very weak and fragile infrastructure and health systems.

”During this conference, we will take a critical look at how far we have come as a society as we attain the golden jubilee age.

“In this conference, we have three generations of cardiologists; founding fathers, the cardiovascular care professionals of today and our young fellows,” she said

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Business

CBN Sets To Roll Out E-naira October 1

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CBN Denies Non Remittance Of 80% Surpluses-Crystal News

The director of Information Technology, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Rukiya Mohammed, on Wednesday said the apex bank has concluded plans to launch the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on October 1.

Mohammed disclosed this in a webinar, themed “Digital currency and the prospects of CBDC in Nigeria”, organized by the committee of e-Business in industry Heads Nigeria (CeBIH).

Mohammed said that the use of digital payment was rising while cash payment was declining both in Nigeria and globally.

She said that over 85 per cent of Central Banks worldwide were considering digital currency and so CBN was also innovative to cope with global trends.

“CBDC would contribute to macro-economic growth in the country, if people adopt more of the usage of the e-naira, it would enhance more data to formulate macro economic policies.

“Also, when more countries have their own digital currencies, it would increase exchange of currency and be able to build cross border trade at lower cost.

“Even though Nigeria has a good payment system, this would also improve Nigeria’s payments efficiency,“ she said.

She said the CBN has partnered with a lot of experts in digital currency technology providers such as MasterCard, came up with the design and would soon publish the design.

“CBN would focus on low amount payments at the introductory stage, instant settlement with low cost.

“CBDC would be legal tender with one e-naira equivalent to one naira which shows fundamental differences between CBDC and crypto currencies,” she said.

Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adedutan, Managing Director, First Bank Nigeria, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria CBDC was a game changer that would provide an alternative payment system and would radically transform the payment landscape.

Adedutan, who was represented by the Banks deputy chief executive, Mr Francis Soba, said CBDC provides a platform for the government to leverage blockchain technology to maintain a centralised and institutional role over of the currency.

‘’It should be noted that there are significant differences between CBDCs and cryptocurrencies,” he said.

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