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WHO Says It’s Investigating Reports of Blood Clots in People Who Got AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

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The World Health Organization said Friday it is reviewing recent reports of blood clots in some people who received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that has prompted a few countries to halt their rollout of the shots.

At least nine countries, including Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Thailand, have suspended their use of the vaccine over safety concerns. As of Wednesday, around 5 million people in Europe had received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Of this figure, 30 so-called thromboembolic events have been reported in recipients. Those are blood clots that form in blood vessels and block blood flow.

AstraZeneca said in a statement Friday that there’s “no evidence” that the vaccine causes an increased risk of developing blood clots.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday that the agency’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety “systematically reviews safety signals and is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

As soon as WHO has gained the full understanding of these events,” he added. “The findings and any changes to our current recommendations will be communicated immediately to the public.”

Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant-director general for access to medicines and health products, added that the global health agency will “probably have a statement on this next week as investigations are completed.”

“WHO is very much aligned with the position that we should continue immunization until we have clarified the causal relationship,” she said.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said it remains unclear if the vaccine is actually causing the blood clots. An AstraZeneca spokesperson noted that “the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than what would be expected among the general population.”

The adverse events which are reported after vaccination have to be seen in the context of events which occur naturally in the population,” Swaminathan said. “Just because it’s reported following a vaccination doesn’t mean that it’s because of the vaccination. It could be completely unrelated.”

Europe’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, has stressed that there is no indication the AstraZeneca shot is causing blood clots, adding it believes the vaccine’s benefits “continue to outweigh its risks.”

“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population,” said Dr. Phil Bryan, vaccines safety lead at Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory.

“The safety of the public will always come first. We are keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” he added.

Education

2021 WASSCE To Hold August/ September

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The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria, says the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence in August and not May.

WAEC also debunked reports by some news platforms that it postponed the examination.

In a statement on Friday, Acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus Ojijeogu, said WAEC Nigeria Head, Patrick Areghan, was quoted out of context at a briefing on Tuesday when he announced the release of results of WASSCE for private candidate

According to Ojijeogu, Areghan said the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the academic calendars of schools, hence, it will be impossible for candidates to sit for the examination in May because most of the schools are still in their first term

The statement was titled, ‘Conduct Of WASSCE For School Candidates, 2021 In Nigeria’.

The statement said Areghan had at the Tuesday briefing said, “Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector

“The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable for the conduct of the examination will soon be released.”

The statement added, “The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education

“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.”

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Lagos Eases Restrictions on Social Gatherings, Event Centres

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The Lagos State Government has further eased restrictions on social gatherings and event centres across the state.

This was contained in a press statement titled ‘Lagos State Government eases restrictions on social and event centres’, on Friday.

The statement was signed by Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile Yusuff, and the Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, after due consultation and deliberations with relevant “stakeholders and MDA’s including The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Lagos State Safety Commission has approved the further easing of social centres across the State with immediate effect,” it added.

Meanwhile, Akinbile-Yusuff and Mojola have issued new guidelines for social/event facilities reopening.

While stating that COVID-19 protocols must be complied with, the officials said that “any violation of this protocol shall attract fines and penalties in line with the Lagos State Infectious Diseases Control Regulation 2020”.

Some of the guidelines stated that event centres must register before reopening and event duration should not exceed a maximum period of six hours.

The guidelines read in part, “All event centres must hold a valid license of The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event center in the State.

“Safety Marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.

“Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50 per cent of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein Occupancy Limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly pasted at the entrance of the event hall.

“Maximum allowable capacity for Event Centers irrespective of occupancy limit is 500 people. Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event.

“Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be six people on a table of 10 persons.

“Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of six hours.

“Event center owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff.”

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UK Court Bans THISDAY Editor and Arise TV Chairman, Obaigbena From Serving As Director Of Any Company For 7 Years

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According to the court, Obaigbena made efforts to clear some payments, but there were still large sums that remained outstanding.

The United Kingdom has disqualified the founding Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Media, ARISE News Channel and ARISE Magazine, Nduka Obaigbena, from serving as a director of any company in the country for seven years.

The application for disqualification was made under Section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 and arose from the compulsory liquidation of Arise Networks Ltd of which Obaigbena was the sole director since its incorporation on October 30, 2012.

According to the judgement, published on BAILII, the company had zero turnovers and as of December 31, 2013, it had recorded losses of £3,854,112 and debts of £1,545,883.

Due to foreign exchange restrictions by the Nigerian government in September 2014, it was difficult to “transfer necessary funding to ARISE”.

In December 2014, the company had expense debts of more than £3 million. The debt owed to creditors led to increased pressure from late 2014 onwards due to the company’s inability to pay off its debts.

A paragraph of the judgement partly read: “As of 31 December 2014, the total losses were £12,922,174, with trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) of £3,737,445 and associates being £14,407,929. By 31 December 2015, the total losses were £24,913,106 with the trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) in the sum of £5,635,596 and associates being £19,681,779. By 22 April 2016, the total losses were £25,671,167, trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) £5,850,730 and associated companies £20,313,691. The trade creditors rose by £2,113,285 even taking into account that certain liabilities have been discharged. The associated companies’ debt during this period rose by in excess of £5 million.”

An email quoted in the judgement read, “Hi Kevin/Nduka, Happy anniversary, I have been working under contract for six months at Arise. I’ve been paid one month’s money. February’s money is three months late. Still nothing, when will I get what is owed?”

According to the court, Obaigbena made efforts to clear some payments, but there were still large sums that remained outstanding. With no certainty of when any of the payments would be made, the court took into account that it did not consider the case of dishonesty but rather unreliability.

“However, this does not mean that the case is any less serious. The public interest is served in this case, in my judgement by disqualifying Mr Obaigbena for a period of 7 years,” the judgement read.

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