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WHO Declares International Emergency Over Coronavirus

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The UN health agency on Thursday declared an international emergency over the deadly novel coronavirus from China — a rarely used designation that could lead to improved international coordination in tackling the disease.

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as he declared a “public health emergency of international concern”.

“This is not a vote of no confidence in China,” he said, emphasising repeatedly that the measure was intended to help other countries less able to cope and praising the Chinese government for taking swift action to tackle the outbreak.

“We must all act together now to limit further spread…. We can only stop it together,” said Tedros, who travelled to China this week and met with President Xi Jinping.

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Tedros also said there was “no reason” for any of the international travel or trade restrictions announced in recent days, such as flight suspensions, border closures and quarantine for apparently healthy travellers.

Top airlines including Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa have suspended or cut back services to China.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on January 30, 2020 in Geneva.  FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The WHO’s Emergency Committee, an advisory body of international experts, said in a statement that evidence had shown that restricting movement of people and goods during public health emergencies “may be ineffective and may divert resources from other interventions”.

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“Further, restrictions may interrupt needed aid and technical support, may disrupt businesses, and may have negative effects on the economies of countries affected by the emergencies,” the committee said.

But it added that “in certain specific circumstances, measures that restrict the movement of people may prove temporarily useful” — a possible reference to lockdowns within China that have affected millions of people.

WHO stopped short of declaring an emergency last week because its emergency committee was divided over the issue.

More than 7,700 people have been infected with the virus — almost all of them in China — and 170 have died.

The WHO said there have also been 82 confirmed cases in 18 other countries, including cases of onward transmission in Germany, Japan, the United States and Vietnam.

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The WHO has called a public health emergency of international concern only five times since the relevant legislation took effect in 2007 — for swine flu, polio, Zika and twice for Ebola outbreaks in Africa.

The designation, which is reviewed every three months, allows the WHO to issue global recommendations that the international community is expected to follow.

Governments, companies and people around the world have already been escalating efforts to contain the illness, which is believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Many countries have urged their citizens not to visit China, while some have banned entry for travellers from Wuhan and Russia said it was closing its far eastern border with China over the outbreak.

AFP

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike
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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered that the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors are restrained from continuing with the ongoing strike pending the determination of the substantive suit before it.

The court, therefore, ordered members of the association nationwide to return to work.

The court held that there is no amount of money that will compensate for the loss of lives in the circumstances.

Justice Bashar Alkali made the order on Friday while ruling on an application by the Federal Government in the suit against NARD.

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

The Federal Government’s lawyer, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), had moved his motion for interlocutory injunction, and prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant from continuing with the industrial action pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

He also prayed the court to compel the members of NARD nationwide to return to their duty posts pending the determination of the substantive suit.

He argued that resident doctors as persons who provide essential services cannot embark on strike and continuing to do so will wreck hardship on citizens.

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The resident doctor’s lawyer, Robinson Ariyo, vehemently opposed the application for interlocutory injunction and urged the court to discountenance their application.

He argued that the life of a medical doctor is not less useful than the life an average human being.

He argued that justice must be balanced, not just to the government, but also to the doctors who are the field marshals in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Details later…

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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG
The National President, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige
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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

Striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have said that they may shift ground on their ongoing strike that started on August 2 if they see signs that the Federal Government will honour agreements and clear some outstanding payments.

The outstanding payments the association is expecting the government to settle before they can consider ending the strike include death benefits of members who died during COVID-19 pandemic and salary arrears among others.

It was further learnt that the leadership of NARD and that of the Nigerian Medical Association would be meeting the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Friday in continuation of efforts to end the strike.

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Our correspondent gathered that the issue of review of hazard allowance will feature prominently in the Friday meeting.

Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

An earlier meeting NARD and NMA had with the minister on Tuesday was said to have been postponed due to the failure of both parties to agree.

When contacted on the telephone on Wednesday, NARD’s Secretary General, Jerry Isogun, confirmed the development to our correspondent.

Resident doctors, FG tell court they’re open to negotiation
However, the Federal Government and NARD on Wednesday told the National Industrial Court, Abuja that they were open to negotiations in order to end the ongoing strike action.

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They disclosed this to Justice Bashar Alkali when the matter came up in court.

The counsel for the resident doctors, Femi Falana (SAN), prayed the court to direct the parties to return to the negotiation table.

The counsel for the Federal Government, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), responded that the matter at hand was of a special breed.

He told the court that the parties were earlier sent to an industrial arbitral panel, but the arbitral process failed.

However, Maduka told the court that the Federal Government was still open to negotiations.

Consequently, the court fixed its ruling on the ongoing dispute between the Federal Government and the resident doctors for September 17.

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Falana had raised the issue of the court’s jurisdiction and had sought that his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction be taken.

But Maduka stated that the issue of contempt had yet to be taken and argued that the issue of contempt should take precedence over the issue of jurisdiction.

Punchng.com

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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors
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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has begged striking National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to call off their ongoing strike.

Akelicious Media reports that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made the call during the presidential committee on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

The minister begged residents doctors to put an end to the ongoing strike action, adding that Buhari has promised to settle all debts.

Last week his excellency, the president received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association in audience and in his remarks called on doctors on strike to return to duty and for those contemplating it to opt for peaceful resolution, so as not to put the lives of citizens at risk,” he said.

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“He reminded us that his administration has a sound track record of paying debts, even such debts as inherited from, or ignored by preceeding administration. Resident doctors are therefore assured from the highest authority in the land that all debts will be settled, when they are verified and validated.

Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

“With this, I call on striking doctors to put an end to their industrial action immediately and return to work. Nigeria has been lucky with the relatively low impact of COVID-19 so far, and we need to keep our preparedness optimal. We cannot afford to stretch our luck too far.”

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Buhari had last Friday met with members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in a bid to find a solution to crisis rocking the health sector.

Recall that Doctors on August 2, embarked on strike action, accusing the federal government of failing to implement agreements it had with their union on issues including salaries, hazard allowances, and others.

The strike embarked upon by the doctors had been expected to be close to a peaceful resolution until the resident doctors on Sunday told the federal government they won’t sign the memorandum of understanding put on the table by the government team.

The doctors accused the government of insincerity in its dealings, hence their inability to trust what is contained in the memorandum again since they’ve been deceived previously.

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