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Shapps criticised for remarks on wearing masks in enclosed spaces


Shapps criticised for remarks on wearing masks in enclosed spaces

Vaccinations have made people more confident to sit in enclosed spaces without masks, Grant Shapps has said, prompting scientists to warn that such messages risked complacency, and that mask use was vital in limiting the spread of Covid.

Speaking at a packed fringe event about the rail industry at the Conservative party conference, where many people in the room did not have a face covering, the transport secretary noted the return of confidence of people to travel.

“It is the case that coming out of the pandemic, everyone needs to make that first journey – you felt, actually, that wasn’t so bad,” Shapps said. “You look at us in this room. Three months ago it would have been unimaginable for us to be sat in this room, in reasonably close proximity, [without] face coverings.”

Saying that anyone still unvaccinated without a medical reason was “mad”, Shapps said the extent of vaccination meant there was “a feeling of safety coming back, because people will know they’re jabbed, and everyone else is jabbed”.

Asked at the event in Manchester whether it was a good thing that so many people without masks were in the room, Shapps said: “I don’t think I said I was pleased. I was simply making the comparison that three months ago this would have been impossible, if we hadn’t come to the end of the programme of vaccination. And it is undoubtedly a good thing that society is able to open up.”

However, some scientists said it was important that the messaging on masks was not undermined. Dr Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said it was clearly established that people who were vaccinated could get infected and transmit Covid, and should wear masks in crowded places.

She said: “Infection rates in England currently are very high, so the risk of ‘superspreading’ in indoor crowded places is also very high. And government officials not wearing masks in such environments undermines their own public messaging that advises others to do so, and further erodes public trust, which is critical in the midst of what is a crisis, where we’re having an NHS that’s already struggling and 1,000 deaths per week and it’s not even winter yet.”

Trish Greenhalgh, a GP and professor of primary care health at the University of Oxford, said while Covid vaccines had been a “game-changer” for the pandemic, vaccinated people should still wear masks at indoor events.

“People who are fully vaccinated can still transmit the virus and still catch it,” she said. “The more people in the room, the more chance that someone is exhaling the virus even when they’re vaccinated, but especially if they aren’t.”

She urged people to take a “belt and braces” approach, adding: “The combination of masks and vaccines gives vastly more protection than either one alone.”

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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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