From July 19, the United Kingdom (UK) will no longer require British citizens to wear a face mask while the country will end the social distancing rules and other mandatory rules to curtail Covid, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a briefing on Monday.
Johnson said the government will also no longer going to announce advisorys to encourage people to work from home.
In a bold shift despite daily Covid cases rising a fifth in a week to 27,000, the PM told a Downing Street briefing that they could hit 50,000.
But he insisted even though the pandemic “certainly won’t be over” by July 19 and people should not be ‘demob happy’ the government will no longer issue ‘top down’ orders.
Johnson insisted he had to “balance the risks… the risks of the disease, and the risks of continuing with restrictions.”
“If we don’t go ahead now when we’ve clearly done so much with the vaccination programme to break the link between infection and death.
“If we don’t go ahead now when the summer firebreak is coming up, the school holidays, all the advantages that that should give us in fighting the virus, then the question is, ”when would we go ahead?”
“Particularly given the likelihood the virus will have an extra advantage in the colder months, in the autumn, and in the winter.
“So we run the risk of either opening up at a very difficult time when the virus has an edge, has an advantage in the colder months, or again putting everything off to next year so I do think it’s going to be a very balanced decision next week.”
The one-meter plus decree and advice to work from home where possible will be dropped, with mask-wearing no longer mandatory – while pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details and will again be able to serve drinks at the bar.
Johnson also said limits on gatherings are going and torpedoed the idea of legally requiring “Covid certificates” at bars and restaurants, with the vaccination drive instead of being trusted to do the heavy lifting of protecting the public.
The news was warmly welcomed by the hospitality industry and other sectors that have been hammered by the crisis.
However, although the premier said he intends to replace self-isolation with testing for anyone who is double jabbed and comes into contact with a positive case, he did not say when that would happen and it is understood it will probably be after July 19. Children would also be covered by the arrangements.
Johnson also said an announcement will be made later in the week on dropping the “bubble” rules that have been causing chaos in schools. There have been signs that the change will only take effect at the start of next term in September – although Sajid Javid suggested tonight that it could happen this month.
The PM stopped short of confirming that quarantine requirements for “amber list” countries will be waived for double-jabbed Brits from July 19. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to make an announcement later in the week.
The plan for the final stage of the roadmap will be subject to a final approval next Monday, although it appears it would take something extraordinary to change the PM’s mind at this stage.
The UK today recorded another 27,334 cases – up nearly a fifth on the same day last week – but deaths remained in single figures at nine.
The government has also said it will “maintain contingency plans for reimposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level” in case the situation deteriorates.
Meanwhile, doubts have been raised over whether mask-wearing will be completely scrapped this month, even though the law will fall away. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has refused to say whether he will keep the rules on the Tube, while Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has demanded a rethink to protect the vulnerable. Unions warned it would be “gross negligence” to drop the requirement.
Government sources suggested that in theory train companies and businesses could keep demanding face coverings are worn, even if the law is changed. Nicola Sturgeon has also suggested that the rules could continue for longer in Scotland.
Asked whether he would keep wearing masks, Johnson said it would ‘depend on the circumstances’ – pointing out that a crowded Tube train is very different from a deserted late-night service.
Chris Whitty – flanking the PM as usual at the briefing – said he would don a covering if other people were “uncomfortable.”
Putting his faith in the vaccines, Mr. Johnson said: “We’re seeing rising hospital admissions and we must reconcile ourselves sadly to more deaths from Covid.
“In these circumstances, we must take a careful and a balanced decision.
“And there’s only one reason why we can contemplate going ahead to step four in circumstances where we’d normally be locking down further, and that’s because of the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.”
He said the expectation remains that by July 19 every adult in the UK will have had the offer of the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and two-thirds will have had a second dose.
And he highlighted that lockdowns ‘inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods, on people’s health and mental health.”
“We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves ‘when will we be able to return to normal?” he said.
“And to those who say we should delay again – the alternative to that is to open up in winter when the virus will have an advantage, or not at all this year.”
Speaking at Downing Street, science chief Sir Patrick Vallance warned that ‘deaths are increasing’ and “we would expect that to continue as Covid cases rise, as he said people must ‘behave accordingly in terms of trying to limit transmission.”
Sir Patrick said infections are “going up” and “the link between cases and hospitalisations and cases and deaths is weakened but not completely broken, and we would expect to see some further increase.”
He said, “we are in the face of an increasing epidemic at the moment and therefore we need to behave accordingly in terms of trying to limit transmission.”
Africa Business Heroes Announces Top 50 Finalists; 12 Nigerians Qualifies
The Top 50 finalists have been chosen from 12,000+ entries, selected by a prestigious pool of 233 judges; 16 countries from Africa represented in the Top 50; 38% of Top 50 candidates are female entrepreneurs; 10% are Francophone; Top 50 finalists will progress to an ABH virtual boot camp and further judging. Top 20 to be announced in August.
Among the 50 finalists, 12 Nigerians qualified are Adebowale Odulana of Doctoora E-Health Ltd, Ebinabo Ofrey of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, Oghenetega Iortim of Gricd, Abiodun Adereni of HelpMum, Olorunishola Aje of IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED, Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Ige Atiba of Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited, YETUNDE OYALOWO of Market Doctors-Social Enterprise, Chidi Nwaogu of Publiseer, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited, OLAGOKE BALOGUN of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Limited, and Godwin Benson of Tuteria.
Africa’s Business Heroes the flagship philanthropic program for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa has announced the top 50 finalists for the 2021 ABH prize competition.
These 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their Africa Business Heroes journey.
Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa.
During this first round, judges were looking for visionary entrepreneurs who are providing innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. They were focused on identifying passionate professionals that demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, financial sustainability and growth potential.
Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation noted, “in the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation.
The top 50 of the 2021 Africa Business Heroes competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact.”
Sixteen countries are represented in the Top 50, 10% of which are Francophone. They include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with 12 in the Top 50. Women are well-represented, making up 38% of the Top 50.
There is an enormous diversity in the type of businesses, with sixteen different sectors, represented including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail and transportation.
From here, the Top 50 will participate in an ABH virtual boot camp to engage with and learn from business leaders as well as previous ABH winners.
The boot camp will prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.
The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the USD 1.5 million prize pool.
For more information on 2021 Top 50, please visit the dedicated section on the Africa Business Heroes official website. To join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs on their ABH journey, visit here.
The Voice Nigeria Honours Late Sound Sultan as Race For N10m, Other Prizes Enters Final Stage
Late legendary Nigerian rapper, singer and lyricist, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi popularly called Sound Sultan who passed on July 11 was honoured with a medley performance of his songs by the celebrity coaches and their talents as a glowing tribute in recognition and celebration of his contribution to the music industry.
Sound Sultan, a highly influential but jovial and unassuming singer is renowned to have mentored many award-winning musicians and wrote many hit songs.
The grand finale of the Voice Nigeria Season 3 is billed for this weekend, with the top six talents seeking viewers and fans’ votes to win the N10m grand prize and other mouth-watering gifts.
Meanwhile, Episode 17 saw great vocalists Anu and Nuel Ayo exit the show while Naomi Mac, Esther, Dapo, Kitay, Kpee and Eazzie continued the race as the last six out of the 25 talents who scaled the Auditions and started the contest.
Kitay in Team Yemi-Alade, Dapo and Naomi Mac in Team Falz, Eazzie in Team Waje with Esther and Kpee in Team Dare all survived by numerous votes from their fans.
The race to the finals of the Voice Nigeria season 3 continues to heat up as the six finalists gun for the N10 million cash, a car, and a record deal with Universal Music Nigeria.
During Episode 17 last weekend, the last six vocalists performed various songs and are hoping with their powerful performances to get maximum votes from fans for a chance to remain in the competition.
Esther opened the weekly show with a beautiful performance of Beyonce’s Love on Top, then Dapo with Michael Bolton’s When A Man Loves A Woman, followed by Kitay with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.
Naomi Mac sang Brenda Fassie’s Vuli Ndlela, Kpee with Fireboy’s Vibration while a very emotional Eazzie closed out with I’m Not Telling You by Jennifer Holiday before Host, Nancy Isime announced that Season 4 will be coming soon.
Episode 18 which comes up this weekend will have only four talents perform and fight for the grand prize via the highest viewers votes while the two talents with the least votes are dropped.
To keep their favourite vocalists on the show, viewers have to dial *894*7*talent’s code#.
The voting code of your preferred contestant to win the competition is in the embedded Instagram post below:
Voting, which opened on Saturday at 9:00 pm, closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday (today).
For over three months, with an electrifying mix of pulsating musical performances, music training, glamorous fashion and awesome entertainment, The Voice Nigeria 3 continues to dazzle to the very grand finale.
UN1TY Limited and Livespot360, producers of the global talents reality series, also emphasised that public voting has become very crucial at this final stage to keep participants on the voice Nigeria season 3, as sponsored by FirstBank, Baba Ijebu and Airtel.
Scores of vocalists have performed on the highly competitive musical TV reality series but dropped out going through the Auditions, Blinds, Knockouts, Battles and Live Show stages.
Whoever emerges as the winner will automatically make his or her coach the winning coach of the season. Waje, who has been part of the show since its inception, won the inaugural season.
Apart from versatile singers including Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz who doubled as both celebrity coaches and judges, Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa, co-hosts of the show have added great colour to the third season.
The first season of The Voice Nigeria was broadcast on Africa Magic from April 10 to July 31, 2016.
Agharese Emokpae popularly known as A’rese, a 28-year-old stage actress, won the first season while Daniel Diongoli, professionally known as Idyl, won season 2.
The music reality TV show is designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars.
Lead show sponsor, First Bank in a statement by its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, reiterated that The Voice Nigeria 3 is a Reality TV show designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars which aligns with First Bank’s commitment to providing a platform for nurturing
and showcasing talents and driving social cohesion.
The Financial giant added that its support for The Voice Nigeria 3 is a demonstration of First Bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.
For more details on the show, do visit the Bank’s official website https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/the-voice-nigeria/
The Growth of Digital Gifting in Nigeria
Over the past decade, Digital gifting has significantly evolved. This can be heavily attributed to technology which has created awareness and attractiveness about them. The growth in the gift card market is due to the rise in demand for gift cards in various sectors, including the corporate sector.
What is Digital Gifting?
You may be wondering, “what exactly is digital gifting?” What does it entail? and how does it work? Digital gift cards are Electronic gift cards sent by retailers usually to your Email after payment. Electronic gift cards perform the same function as physical cards, they both have Gift codes and can both be used as an alternative means of payment the major difference is Digital gift cards cannot be held unless it’s printed.
Thanks to technology, everybody can get their hands on an E-card from the comfort of their homes and offices. Retailers are all over the internet, all you need to do is search for the particular brand you want and amount on secure websites.
Many brands over the years have incorporated digital gift cards to avoid being left behind. Recently, Card owners now enjoy funding their Digital cards due to the ease it provides when it comes to making payments. Also, some of these E gift cards have high cashback value when considering selling the gift code. Which has created a bit of confidence in the minds of Card owners. The fact that purchasing these cards is not permanent provides a sense of relief. However, you should ensure to watch out for the fakes and trade on trusted platforms. A recent gift card survey stated that consumers tend to go for reloadable gift cards over regular gift cards as they can reuse them.
The request and sales for digital over paper ones skyrocketed in the past decade. Studies have hinged this on environmental issues as regards plastics. It is also projected that physical gift cards may soon be outdated.
A gift card survey once said ‘The growth in e-gifting sales, from $300 million in 2012 to an expected $3 billion this year, supports a healthy trajectory of growth for the market as a whole.’
The e-gifting trend has helped propel continued growth in the gift card market. Over $140 billion in sales since 2016. E-gifting has topped $10 billion and filled a niche for customers looking to buy and send their gifts to recipients they do not have to meet in person.
In 2020, the adoption of e-Gift cards increased tremendously during the global pandemic; covid-19.
This trend boosted the continued growth in the gift card market with an excess of $140 billion in sales since 2016. Digital gifting is advantageous and eliminates the process of having to meet the recipient in person before the gift card can be received.
Due to its convenience and flexibility, digital gifting has added a significant impact to the gift card industry. It has also brought about various considerations to limit or reduce the number of physical card productions.
In the United States alone, the gift card industry is expected to record a compound annual growth of 9.2% during 2020-2024. The market is expected to increase from US$ 163,050.7 million in 2019 to US$ 221,146.6 million by 2024. These numbers are estimated on the continued adoption of physical and digital gift cards by millennials, rising e-commerce, and an increase in demand for cryptocurrencies in the USA.
We are now in a time where the world is conforming to Blockchain technology, digital currencies and gifting. People are finding alternative and easier methods of making payments. As a brand to further provide convenience for your customers, you should seriously consider how to incorporate Gift cards into your business if you are not already on board.
Technology3 weeks ago
Opera Becomes the World’s First Alternative Browser Optimized for Chromebooks
Government4 weeks ago
Justice Binta Nyako Grants FG Request, Remands Kanu in DSS Custody
Economy3 weeks ago
130 Countries Signs Commitment to Global Tax Rate, Nigeria Abstains
Naira3 weeks ago
Naira Exchange Rates Today, Monday, July 5, 2021
Business2 weeks ago
How to Redeem Gift Cards, Gift Card Rates in Nigeria
Dogecoin4 weeks ago
Dogecoin Released New Fee Structure Proposal
Business3 weeks ago
Jeff Bezos Steps Down as Amazon CEO- How Much Power Will He Give Up?
Finance2 weeks ago
African Development Fund Extends $83.6 Million in Grants to Boost Ethiopia-Djibouti Electricity Trade