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Over 600,000 children to receive free malaria care in Kwara State



No fewer than 600,000 children aged between 3 months and 5 years in 11 Local government areas of Kwara State are to receive free malaria care.

The state Commissioner for health, Dr Raji Razaq made the disclosure in a statement in Ilorin.

According to him, free malaria care is part of the benefits of the multimillion naira counterpart funds paid by the state government to access various basic healthcare programmes for the people of the state.

Dr Razaq said the state government has received anti-Malaria commodities worth over N344 million naira preparatory to the forthcoming house-to-house distribution of Antimalaria medications.

He explained that the booster is aimed at positioning the State-Based Malaria Elimination Programme to reach all eligible children in the Chemoprevention exercise along with 19 other states of the federation.

Ali Rabiu

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COVID-19: NCDC records 18 additional deaths, 122 infections in Nigeria



The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has registered additional 18 deaths and 122 COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 166,682.

The NCDC made the disclosure on Thursday via its official Twitter handle.

It stated that the additions were recorded in eight states and the FCT.

The agency said that 105 cases were recorded in Lagos, four cases each were found in Imo and Kaduna, three in Akwa-Ibom and two in FCT.

The states of Delta, Rivers, Oyo and Ekiti reported one case each.

COVID-19: NCDC records 41 new infections, no death

The nation’s public health institution noted that the country’s death toll had risen to 2,117 as 18 more deaths were linked to the virus.

The NCDC also stated that 2,575 people have been successfully treated and discharged from isolation centers across the country, while the total resolved cases stood at 162,521.

“Today’s report includes six states with 0 cases reported: Plateau, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Ogun, Osun and Ondo.

“There are backlogs of data due to ongoing data harmonization from Lagos, Delta and Benue States.’’

COVID-19: Total active cases now 10,363 as NCDC reports 113 fresh infections

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Biden plans to vaccinate most US adults by July



US President Joe Biden has set a new vaccination target to deliver at least one shot to 70% of adult Americans by July Four.

Mr. Biden announced the new goal on Tuesday as his administration faced the vexing issue of winning over the “doubters” to get vaccinated.

Demand for vaccines in the US has dropped off markedly, with some states leaving more than half their available doses unordered.

Aiming to make it easier to get shots, Mr. Biden called for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis. He said he would be directing many pharmacies to do likewise.

Speaking from the White House, the president also said his administration was, for the first time, moving to shift doses from states with weaker demand to areas with stronger interest in the jabs.

“You do need to get vaccinated,” Mr. Biden urged his compatriots. “Even if your chance of getting seriously ill is low, why take the risk? It could save your life or the lives of somebody you love,” he added.

Mr. Biden’s goal equates to delivering at least the first shot to 181 million adults and fully vaccinating 160 million. Analysts say the new target can be interpreted as a tacit acknowledgment, by the administration, of the declining interest in shots.

Already more than 56% of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 105 million are fully vaccinated. The US is currently administering first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day — half the rate of three weeks ago, but almost twice as fast as needed to meet Mr. Biden’s target, the Associated Press has reported.

“I’d like to get it 100%, but I think realistically we can get to that place between now and July Fourth,” the president said of his new goal.

He said the administration would focus on three areas as it tries to ramp up the pace of vaccinations: Namely, adults who need more convincing to take the vaccine, those who have struggled or are in no hurry to get a jab, and adolescents aged 12-to-15.

Mr. Biden’s push comes as his administration has shifted away from setting a target for the US to reach “herd immunity,” instead focusing on delivering as many shots into arms as possible.

Administration officials have said the president’s vaccination target will result in a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases heading into the summer.

As of May 4, 2021, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide had surpassed 154 million, with the death tally exceeding 3.2 million.

The US is the country worst-hit by the disease worldwide, with the number of confirmed cases reaching nearly 33.3 million and 591,162 deaths.

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India surpasses 200,000 deaths amid unprecedented surge in infections



The number of deaths from the deadly coronavirus disease in India exceeded 200,000 on Wednesday as the world’s second most populous nation faced a devastating, new surge in cases.

For days now, new infections have torn through dense cities and rural areas alike, overwhelming health care systems that are already on the brink of collapse.

In the last twenty-four hours, the country’s health ministry reported a single-day record of 3,293 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 201,187.

India also reported 362,757 new infections, a new world record, which raised the overall total past 17.9 million. The previous high of 350,000 on Monday had capped a five-day streak of recording the largest single-day increases in any country throughout the pandemic.

India, a country of more than 1.3 billion people, is the fourth to cross 200,000 deaths, behind the US, Brazil and Mexico. Experts believe the foregoing tallies of cases and deaths in India are gross underestimates.

The first known COVID-19 death in India occurred on March 12, 2020, in southern Karnataka state. It took five months to reach the first 50,000 dead. The toll hit 100,000 deaths in the next two months in October 2020 and 150,000 three months later in January this year.

Deaths slowed until mid-March, only to sharply rise again.

For the past week, more than 2,000 people have died across India every day.

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COVID-19: Macron orders lockdown across all of France



French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered his country into its third national lockdown, saying schools will shut down for another three weeks.

Mr. Macron announced the new restrictions on Wednesday as he sought to push back a third wave of COVID-19 infections which has threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Addressing his countrymen on national television, Mr. Macron said with the death toll nearing 100,000 and intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point, he was now forced to abandon his goal of keeping France open to protect the economy.

A slower-than-planned vaccine roll-out had also made the new restrictions all the more necessary.

“We will lose control if we do not move now,” the president said.

His announcement means that movement restrictions already in place for more than a week in the capital, Paris, and some northern and southern regions, will now apply to the whole country for at least a month, from Saturday.

Mr. Macron also said schools will close for three weeks after this weekend.

First, learning will be done remotely for a week after this weekend. Then, schools will go on a two-week holiday, which for most of the country will be earlier than scheduled.

Thereafter, nursery and primary pupils will return to school while middle and high school pupils continue distance learning for an extra week.

Describing the new measures as “the best solution to slow down the virus”, Mr. Macron said France had succeeded in keeping its schools open for longer during the pandemic than many neighbours.

Daily new infections in France have doubled since February to average nearly 40,000, according to a recent Reuters report, which also says the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has breached 5,000, exceeding the peak hit during a six-week-long lockdown late last year.

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WHO calls for safety ahead of religious festivals



The World Health Organization, WHO on Wednesday warned against crowded indoor celebrations that could trigger a fresh surge in coronavirus infections during Easter and Ramadan.

“In countries experiencing widespread community transmission of the virus, virtual meetings, postponing or reducing such gatherings should be seriously considered,” said a WHO statement.

“Regardless of location, any religious service should be held outdoors wherever possible or be limited in size and duration, with physical distancing, ventilation, hand hygiene and mask use, as appropriate,” it added.

Better would be for people to mark the festivals with those they lived with and avoid meeting others — especially if feeling unwell or in isolation or quarantine, it said.

“Indoor gatherings, even smaller ones, can be especially risky.”

Experts are worried that some people may drop their guard while celebrating religious festivals, just as many countries are imposing restrictions to try to slow rising numbers of COVID-19 infections.

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