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Tory MPs appear to heed Javid call to set example by wearing masks

MPs

Tory MPs appear to heed Javid call to set example by wearing masks

A call by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, for MPs to show more of an example over measures to combat Covid by wearing masks in the Commons has seemingly had an impact, with a notable increase in face covering on Conservative benches on Thursday.

Since parliament resumed after the summer break there has been a clear contrast in mask use between opposition MPs, the majority of whom have worn them, and Conservatives, most of whom have not.

But in an admittedly sparsely attended chamber on Thursday morning, during an urgent Labour question on Covid, six of the 12 Conservative MPs present were wearing masks, a much higher proportion than usual.

They did not include Maggie Throup, the junior health minister who was responding to the question. But her health department colleague Gillian Keegan was masked on the front bench. Among Tory refuseniks were the likes of Desmond Swayne and Mark Harper, who oppose many Covid measures.

It comes after Javid unexpectedly called for more MPs to wear masks at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday. Previously ministers have brushed aside concerns about maskless Tory MPs crammed into the Commons chamber, a compact arena with limited ventilation, saying it was within guidelines as the MPs are colleagues.

At the press conference, Javid was asked about the risks of mixed messages on masks and other areas, such as the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, encouraging the public to book Christmas parties.

Javid conceded this was an issue. “I think that is a very fair point. As I say, we’ve all got our role to play in this,” he said, standing alongside Jenny Harries, head of the new UK Health Security Agency, and Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England.

Javid said: “We, the people standing on this stage, we play … our public roles as secretary of state, as someone from the NHS, as the head of UKHSA. But we also have a role to play in setting an example as private individuals as well, and I think that’s a very fair point, and I’m sure a lot of people will have heard you.”

It is understood that Javid’s comments on masks were not expected by Downing Street or party whips, and there has been no formal instruction from Tory whips for MPs to wear masks in the chamber.

Asked if Boris Johnson would wear one when next in the Commons, the prime minister’s spokesperson said he had been unable to ask him, as Johnson was on a visit to Northern Ireland. He added: ““It remains the case that it a matter of personal judgment for all individuals on wearing a mask.”

Before the urgent question, the Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, criticised Javid for his comments about masks – but only for making them at a press conference rather than telling MPs in person.

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Health

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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Health

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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Health

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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