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Covid-19: We have achieved 96% target of our vaccination status

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*Urges individuals eligible for second doses to do so

Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja

The Federal Government, FG, has revealed that it has been able to achieve over 96%( 1,929,237) of its covid-19 vaccination target in Nigeria.

Speaking while updating Nigerians on the status of the COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chief Executive of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, noted that the nation has also started the second doses, and the number has reached 4,683.

While calling on Nigerians who have received their first dosage of the vaccine to check their vaccination cards for their due date, the NPHCDA boss said, it is only by doing so that they can be fully protected from the disease.

He said, “We are very pleased to announce today that we have almost completed administering all first doses included in this campaign, as of 24th May. We have now provided the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to a total number of 1,929,237 Nigerians, representing 96% of the targeted population.

In addition, we have begun providing second doses, and that number has reached 4,683. Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose 6 to 12 weeks ago.

“We are advising that all Nigerians who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose, and ensure that they receive the second dose to gain full protection against COVID-19”.

While reiterating the commitment of his agency in raising more awareness on the pandemic which is currently ravaging the world, Dr Shuaib added that the agency is putting in place measures to ensure that Nigerians have access to accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination.

“As we transition to administering second doses, our teams have assessed the communication and mobilization activities that have been undertaken thus far to create awareness for the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage uptake. We will be building on the work we’ve already done in these areas to ensure that Nigerians can easily access accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination.

Our goal is to do everything possible to educate, combat misinformation, and ensure confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and to ensure all Nigerians have clear information on how, where, and when to get the vaccine. We will do this through continuous engagement and communication with communities across our country”.

On the success achieved so far, he said, “Permit me to say that the success we have achieved with the first dose is the collective efforts of all stakeholders, for which we are most grateful”.

He further disclosed that about 440,000 health workers have so far taken the core BD19 vaccine.

“Concerning the proportion of health workers that have been vaccinated so far, 440,000 health workers have taken the core BD19 vaccine. This represents about 23 percent of the total number of people who have been vaccinated so far.

“In particular, I want to use this opportunity to sincerely appreciate the father of the nation, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his exemplary leadership and for providing all the needed resources to enable us successfully conduct this unprecedented massive vaccination.

“We also wish to appreciate the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 response under the leadership of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha for his guidance. Our partners and donors have been with us providing technical support and resources.

“As most people here know by now, the global community is facing great challenges regarding vaccine supply. Like most nations, this impacts the clarity over Nigeria’s next shipment. While we have information that we may get the next consignment of vaccines by the end of July or August, these have not been officially confirmed.

When we are able to, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of the next shipment. At present, we do not have that information available due to the wider context we are in.

“However, we can update you on some positive developments. Pfizer and BioNTech pledged on Friday of last week to provide 1 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to low-and-middle income countries by the end of 2021, and another 1 billion doses in 2022. Johnson & Johnson also announced it has signed a deal to provide 200 million doses of its vaccine to Covax”.

“Separately, the International Monetary Fund is now advocating for a $50 billion fund to be spent on ensuring a faster rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally and is calling for at least 40% of the global population to be vaccinated by the end of this year, and at least 60% by June 2022.

The fund would be used to increase COVAX vaccine coverage, procure additional tests, and expand vaccine production capacity. We strongly endorse the creation of such a fund, and emphasize that all nations must have comparable access to COVID-19 vaccines in order to end this pandemic.

Additionally, the United States announced it will donate 20 million vaccine doses by the end of June to the COVAX scheme”.

He also rolled out the rescheduled dates for the PSC’s Zonal Town Hall meetings across the remaining Zones.

He further assured Nigerians that the Federal Government has taken significant precautions to protect Nigerians against B.1.617.2, known as the Indian variant.

“Flights from India and other high-risk countries such as Turkey and Brazil have been barred from entering Nigeria, we are ramping up our test and trace measures, and we are accelerating the national project to establish production of oxygen supplies across all states of Nigeria.

I want to seize the opportunity to enjoin Nigerians to continue to observe the Public Health or non-pharmaceutical measures in place to curb the transmission of Covid-19, as we are not out of the woods yet”, he added.

He commended World Health Organization, WHO and United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Country Representatives Dr Walter Mulombo and Peter Hawkins respectively, for coming for the press conference.

Earlier, UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, called on governors, traditional, religious leaders and community leaders to encourage their people to step forward and be vaccinated.

“I want to encourage all governors, traditional, religious leaders and community leaders to encourage their people to step forward and be vaccinated. Protecting yourself is important and by doing so you also protect your family and your communities.

“We hope that by the end of this year we will be able to vaccinate 40 million people and then in 2022 the remaining 60 million will be vaccinated to make up the 112 million which is our objective.”

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


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Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


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Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.

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