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Cabinet minister refuses to apologise after report on UK Covid response

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Cabinet minister refuses to apologise after report on UK Covid response

A cabinet minister has refused to apologise to the families who lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic after a damning report from MPs on the UK government’s response found that tens of thousands of lives were lost because of a delay to the first lockdown.

Stephen Barclay, the minister for the Cabinet Office, insisted the government “did take decisions to move quickly” despite the inquiry finding Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll.

On Sky News on Tuesday, Barclay was asked repeatedly to apologise to the families who lost loved ones, but pointedly refused to do so. Asked about the inquiry, he said he had “not had a chance to read it”.

Barclay said: “Of course there are going to be lessons to learn, that’s why we’ve committed to an inquiry, but the government took decisions at the time based on the scientific advice it received, but those scientists themselves were operating in a very new environment.”

He added: “We protected the NHS, we got the vaccine deployed at pace, but we accept where there are lessons to be learned, we’re keen to do so.”

According to the 151-page Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report, led by two former Conservative ministers, the crisis exposed “major deficiencies in the machinery of government”.

It concluded that the UK “squandered” its lead despite being one of the first countries to develop a test for Covid in January 2020, and “converted it into one of permanent crisis”.

Barclay, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, said the decisions were taken on the evidence and the scientific advice at the time. A future inquiry would look at the lessons to take forward, he said.

“I think a question for the inquiry will be what information did the government have on something that was unprecedented. Were the decisions informed by the science at the time and do we now know different things about the pandemic to what we knew in February in 2020?”

The report did praise elements of Britain’s pandemic response, including the decision to pre-order vaccines even before trials had been completed. “[Of] course we’ve learned a huge amount, but we did take decisions to move quickly, that is why the vaccine was deployed at pace, that was a success that the report recognises,” said Barclay.

Asked about Boris Johnson’s decision to go on holiday to Spain as the report was released, Barclay said he believed the public would not begrudge the prime minister taking a holiday.

Pushed again on LBC Radio for an apology to the public, he said: “Well, I recognise it’s devastating and my heart goes out to any family, any of your listeners where they lost a loved one.”

Asked about the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit agreement, Barclay said the government wanted changes so it was accepted by both communities and said it must be “sustainable in the long term”.

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Health

F.G Approves Establishment Of Teaching Hospital In Taraba

The establishment of a Federal teaching hospital in Taraba State has been approved by the Federal Government.

Approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, the teaching hospital is to be sited at the federal university in Wukari Local Government Area of the State.

In a letter dated 26th of September 2022, the President gave the nod to the leadership of the institution to go ahead with the establishment of the health institution.

The letter which was signed on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, by the Director of Health, Teaching Hospital Division, Dr. Noah Andrew, urged the leadership of the university to make sure that all the needed facilities are in place.

“I am directed to refer to a letter dated 2nd September 2022 referenced SGF 6/T/380 from the Secretary of the Government of the Federation to inform you that His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, has graciously approved the establishment of a federal teaching hospital for the federal University, Wukari, Taraba State”, the letter read in part.

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Kaduna Enrolls 136,507 Into Health Scheme

The Kaduna state government has disclosed that it has enrolled about 136,507 poor and vulnerable population into the Kaduna State health insurance scheme.

Head of Administration and Finance, Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA), Mr Suleiman Mustapha, disclosed this in Kaduna, during a one-day Roundtable Dialogue on maternal and child health.

The Maternal and Child Health-Civil Society (MCH-CS) Partnership with support from Save the Children International organised the round table.

Mustapha said 79,329 poor and vulnerable populations were enroled for free basic health under the one per cent consolidated revenue of the state government.

According to him, the state government had so far released N1.1 billion to cover the basic health care services of the poor and vulnerable.

He also said an additional 50,648 poor and vulnerable population were enroled under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, adding that a total of N1.1 billion had also been contributed to cover their healthcare.

KADCHMA Executive Secretary , Mr Abubakar Hassan, said the agency was established in February 2018 and began provision of health services in June 2020.

According to him, the health scheme is part of the state’s human capital development and social protection strategy for all residents.

 

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55,000 Die Of Rabies Annually In Nigeria- USAID

The United States Agency For International Development USAID has disclosed that at least 55, 000 Nigerians die of rabies every year.

It said rabid dogs account for about 94 percent of confirmed human infections.

This was revealed by Mieko Mckay, Deputy Office Director for Health, USAID Nigeria, in Abuja on Monday during the launch of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Dog-Mediated Human Rabies in Nigeria.

The event was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Federal of Health and Breakthrough ACTION -Nigeria and other partners ahead of this year’s World Rabies Day.

Country Representative, World Health Organisation, Walter Mulombo, represented by his deputy, Alexander Chimbaru, said there were recent cases in Gombe and Enugu States.

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