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No 10 appears to confirm Nimco Ali’s Christmas lockdown stay with Johnsons


No 10 appears to confirm Nimco Ali’s Christmas lockdown stay with Johnsons

A close friend of Boris and Carrie Johnson did stay with the couple during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown last Christmas, Downing Street has in effect confirmed, while insisting that no Covid rules were broken.

It is understood that Nimco Ali, a campaigner and Home Office adviser who is godmother to the Johnsons’ son, Wilfred, was at Downing Street over the Christmas period as part of their childcare support bubble.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson declined to formally confirm that Ali was there. “As you might expect, I’m not going to get into speaking about individuals that the prime minister has seen over Christmas,” he said. “What I can say is that the prime minister and Mrs Johnson have followed the coronavirus rules at all times.”

However, the spokesperson did say that neither Boris Johnson’s mother – who died last month aged 79 – or Carrie Johnson’s mother were with the family over Christmas. Asked to confirm whether or not Ali was there, he did not respond.

“It is entirely accurate to say that they followed coronavirus rules at all times,” the spokesperson said, rejecting the argument that it was legitimate to seek clear answers on the arrangements given lockdown breaches by senior government figures such as Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings and the ex-health secretary Matt Hancock.

“I don’t accept that,” he said. “We have been very clear that throughout this pandemic the prime minister has expected all ministers to adhere to the guidelines. That is what the prime minister and Mrs Johnson have done, both at this time and throughout, and I’m happy to make that clear.”

Downing Street had also insisted that Cummings had not broken any lockdown rules, and when photographs emerged of Hancock kissing an aide in breach of regulations at the time, No 10 initially said the matter was “closed”.

Nonetheless, questions remain about which rules covered the presence of Ali, a prominent campaigner against female genital mutilation who has a two-days-a-month role advising the Home Office, which was seemingly not advertised.

An article in the magazine Harper’s, written by a senior editor of the Spectator, the magazine Johnson used to edit, which first reported Ali’s presence at Downing Street over Christmas, said she was there “despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.

While the government did introduce a “Christmas bubble” allowing people to mix on Christmas Day, this was not in place in areas in the highest tier of restrictions, which included London at the time.

The rules said it was possible for people to use a childcare bubble on 25 December, even in areas under the highest tier, “but only if reasonably necessary for the purposes of childcare and where there are no reasonable alternatives”.

Johnson’s spokesman refused to say if or why such a childcare arrangement was necessary at the time.

Carrie Johnson’s mother, Josephine McAffee, was reportedly part of a support bubble with her daughter, an arrangement that was allowed if one member lived alone or if a household had a child aged under one, which Wilfred was last Christmas.

It was possible for households to have both a support bubble and childcare bubble, but the latter had strict rules and must be used only for childcare, not as a reason for people from different households to mix socially.

It is not clear whether the childcare bubble arrangement for Ali was longer-term or only in place for Christmas. Under the rules, childcare bubbles could change, but only if there was a reason connected to childcare logistics. If this happened, the family with the child had to stop using any childcare for at least 10 days before the bubble changed.

Ali has not commented beyond tweeting that she had received “two days of racist and disgusting tweets” after it was reported that she had breached lockdown rules when she had not.

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AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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