Surge

Iran’s smog, blackouts made worse by power-sapping crypto mining

Outages have been compounded by cryptocurrency mining, which uses banks of high-powered computers. Cities across Iran have been cloaked in thick layers of toxic smog and darkened by blackouts, as the alleged use of low-quality fuel and power-sucking cryptocurrency mining deepen the country’s hardships. Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, the country’s most-read daily, ran the headline, “20 Days Living in Smoke,” on Wednesday over a photo of the capital covered in smog. Power plants have been forced to switch to burning low-grade fuel oils to generate electricity because high levels of domestic consumption have led to natural-gas shortages, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported. Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh denied earlier this week that any of Iran’s power stations are us...

Russian coronavirus vaccine trials begin in UAE as cases rise

Abu Dhabi has started Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine, known as Sputnik V, amid a surge in infections in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s media office said on Thursday. The human trial, announced in October before the recent rise in cases, is initially seeking up to 500 volunteers to be vaccinated at a hospital in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Two doses of the vaccine will be given, 20 days apart, to volunteers, the statement said. Participants will have to be 18 years or older, have not previously been infected with COVID-19 or participated in other COVID-19 vaccine trials, it said. The UAE is also conducting Phase III trials of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The UAE has approved the vaccine and it is a...

Egypt to probe four coronavirus deaths due to alleged lack of oxygen

Egyptian prosecutors opened an investigation into the deaths on Sunday of at least four coronavirus patients at a public Egyptian hospital, after a video of nurses struggling to keep the patients alive was shared widely on social media. The governor of Sharqia province denied allegations by a relative of one of the patients that the deaths were caused by a lack of oxygen at the government-run intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients. Governor Mamdouh Ghorab said the patients died because they suffered chronic diseases in addition to the virus. The relative, who also filmed the video, offered no immediate evidence to back up their claim that the hospital ran out of oxygen. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with more than 100 million people, is facing a surge in confirmed v...

Egypt to probe four coronavirus deaths due to alleged lack of oxygen

Egyptian prosecutors opened an investigation into the deaths on Sunday of at least four coronavirus patients at a public Egyptian hospital, after a video of nurses struggling to keep the patients alive was shared widely on social media. The governor of Sharqia province denied allegations by a relative of one of the patients that the deaths were caused by a lack of oxygen at the government-run intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients. Governor Mamdouh Ghorab said the patients died because they suffered chronic diseases in addition to the virus. The relative, who also filmed the video, offered no immediate evidence to back up their claim that the hospital ran out of oxygen. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with more than 100 million people, is facing a surge in confirmed v...

Official: One million Americans vaccinated against coronavirus

More than a million people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield said Wednesday. “The United States achieved an early but important milestone today — jurisdictions have now reported that more than one million people have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine since administration began 10 days ago,” said Redfield. In a call with reporters, Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor of the government’s Operation Warp Speed, said that the objective of immunizing 20 million people this month was “unlikely to be met.” But he said the US was still aiming for 100 million people immunized by the end of the first quarter of 2021, and another 100 million by the second quarter. Three million doses...

Coronavirus: President Buhari extends tenure, mandate of PTF

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the mandate of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 “for a further period till the end of March, 2021 bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines.” The president disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the End-of-Year Report of the task force. He said: “Recent reports reaching me indicate that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world. “New epicentres have been identified and the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. ”I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant f...

Imo governor orders workers to stay home over spike in coronavirus

Imo state governor, Hope Uzodimma, yesterday ordered the workers in the state, to stay home from Monday next week till further notice, ahead of the festive period. The governor in his state-wide broadcast to Imo people in Owerri, said that the reason was that due to the expected influx of people coming home for Christmas that there could be a surge in the cases of covid -19. Uzodimma while wishing his people fruitful Christmas celebration noted that the wearing of facemask would be compulsory and that mobile courts would be deployed to within the state, to enforce the order. He continued: “My dear good people of Imo State, it is with a great sense responsibility that I address you on this auspicious season of Christmas.In normal times, with just a few days to Christmas, I should be saying ...

California hospitals overrun even as vaccine is rolled out

Even as high profile figures like U.S. Vice President Mike Pence rolled up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccinations, patients already ill with the disease crowded emergency rooms and overran intensive care units in California, now a worldwide epicenter. Another 41,000 people tested positive in the most populous U.S. state on Thursday, and 300 died, state public health officials said. In a state with 40 million residents, only about 1,200 intensive care beds remained available by Friday – just 2.1% of the total, the California Department of Public Health said. “We anticipated a surge, but I’m not sure if anyone imagined it would be as bad as it has been,” said Adam Blackstone, a spokesman for the Hospital Association of Southern California. Hospitals are strained under the press of patients,...

Air passengers decry upsurge in fares, seek urgent attention to roads, railway

Nigerians, who travel by air, have decried the “sudden” upsurge in air fares and urged the Federal Government to intervene to avoid poor patronage that could dwindle the fortunes of the aviation industry. Newsmen report that the air fares shot up by about 100 per cent in the last one week, with some airline operators even raising their fares by as much as 120 per cent or more. At Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the fare from Abuja to Lagos, which was N35,300 (Economy Class), rose to between N70,000 and N75,000. Newsmen found that Business Class travellers were charged between N100,000 and N120,000, depending on the airline. Our correspondents, who visited other airports across the country, found that the rise in airfares was the same, a situation that forced some passengers to...

Canada approves Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine

Canadian health officials have authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, hailing the development as a “critical milestone” and paving the way for the inoculant to be administered across the country. The authorisation on Wednesday comes a day after the United Kingdom became the first country to begin giving the vaccine to the public. Emergency use authorisation (EUA) is also pending in the United States, with officials saying the first doses could be administered as early as next week. The US Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to consider its EUA on Thursday. Bahrain has also authorised the vaccine for public use. “Canadians can feel confident that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place,” Health Canada, the department responsible fo...

Nigerian government seeks new Eurobond

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would approach the Eurobond market next year in its effort to shore up the economy, amidst cocktails of measures being put in place to douse the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. On the same day, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while speaking at the 55th Annual Bankers Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, predicted a two per cent growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021. Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed the Eurobond plan while speaking on Bloomberg TV, explained that the decision would depend on the prevailing interest rates. She, however, did not specify the amount to be accessed from the Eurobond. The Eurobond option is ...

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