Senegal has reintroduced restrictive measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19, following a pronounced rise in cases.The Senegalese Minister of the Interior Aly Ngouye Ndiaye told a press conference in Dakar that, since the lifting of the state of emergency, the government had noticed what he called “a certain laxity” amongst members of the public in terms of masks and social distancing.He said figures clearly demonstrated a very large increase in recorded cases during May, from 757 to 2,737.He said the measures would take “immediate effect” and included “a ban on gatherings at beaches, sports grounds, public spaces and theatres” as well as “prohibition of all demonstrations on the public highway, especially in the Dakar region.”Mr Ndiaye continued: “Mandatory wearing of the mask in the services of the administration and the private sector, in shops, in transport (must be observed).”He also called for “scrupulous respect of the orders of the Minister of Transport concerning the number of authorised spaces in public transport.“Any violation of these provisions exposes the perpetrator to penal sanctions, which may range from a fine to imprisonment, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Contraventions.”Technological Epicenter: A Teenager’s Dream for Nigeria Mr Ndiaye said he hoped the police would strictly enforce these measures.Since the beginning of March, Senegal has declared a total of 10,887 cases of coronavirus, including 225 fatalities.The country lifted the curfew and state of emergency at the end of June and international flights resumed on July 15, despite the increase in the number of cases. Land borders still remain closed.COVID-19: 87 stranded Nigerians In Sudan Arrive Abuja87 Nigerians have arrived in Abuja, the nation’s capital from Sudan.The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this on Saturday, adding that the Air Sudan flight conveyed the returnees.According to the agency, the flight landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 09:15 am.“87 Stranded Nigerians arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, Abuja at about 0915HRS via Air Sudan today, Saturday 8th, 2020,” NIDCOM said.The returnees are to undergo mandatory self-isolation in line with guidelines from the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).This comes a day after 331 Nigerians were repatriated from the United Arab Emirates.Although the evacuees had tested negative to COVID-19, NIDCOM said they will be undergoing mandatory self-isolation in line with PTF and NCDC guidelines.Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travels across the world, thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home.Health Workers Issue 3-week Ultimatum For Lagos Govt To Improve Welfare ConditionsHealth workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have issued a three-week ultimatum for the Lagos state government to improve their working comditions.The unions made this known during a joint congress yesterday.JOHESU is the umbrella body for all health workers unions and associations.Olatunji Tajudeen, chairman of the Lagos state chapter of JOHESU, said improved conditions of service will discourage health workers from leaving the country.“The state government should concentrate more energy on the health sector so that people will not be travelling outside the country for treatment all the time,” NAN quoted him as saying.“Both federal and state government hospitals should be fully equipped with tools and personal protective materials; we noticed that Nigerian health professionals abroad are doing well due to good healthcare system.“What we are demanding for is equity in terms of welfare, number of staff and even, salary. We noticed that the disparity is becoming wider everyday; the doctors just finished their warning strike and we are not just waking to demand for our needs.“Initially, all health workers, including doctors, planned to come together so that Lagos state government will pay more attention to the health sector. No Nigerian will say health workers are not performing well, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, but if government wants us to do more, they need to encourage us.”He called for the implementation of their 2018 demands, which include “adjustment of the consolidated health salary structure and employment of additional health professionals”.On his part, Rasak Falade, chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Lagos chapter, said they had written a formal letter to the state government on their grievances.“A lot of health workers, within the state public health sector, are suffering, particularly during this COVID-19 era. We are giving the Lagos state government another three weeks ultimatum, after which JOHESU will no longer be able to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the Lagos public health sector,” Falade said.Blessing Israel, chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Lagos chapter, emphasised the need for health insurance for medical personnel, as they lost members to COVID-19.“Government needs to encourage all health workers because we are all important in the nation’s healthcare sector. Even, our environments are not conducive for us; many of our members live far away from their assigned workplaces which stresses them. Government needs to provide accommodation quarters for us, because nurses are the backbone of the health sector; we are always with the patients 24 hours,” she said.==Gates Attacks Trump Over Handling Of COVID-19 Pandemic In USAmerican entrepreneur and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has made a number of critical remarks regarding the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States by President Donald Trump.During a recent interview with Wired, Gates identified three particular time periods, all of which he described as “disappointments”.First, he pointed at 2015, “until this particular pandemic hit”, arguing that “if we had built up the diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine platforms, and if we’d done the simulations to understand what the key steps were, we’d be dramatically better off”.“Then there’s the time period of the first few months of the pandemic, when the US actually made it harder for the commercial testing companies to get their tests approved, the CDC had this very low volume test that didn’t work at first, and they weren’t letting people test”, Gates said. “The travel ban came too late, and it was too narrow to do anything. Then, after the first few months, eventually we figured out about masks, and that leadership is important”.Gates noted that he is “surprised at the US situation because the smartest people on epidemiology in the world, by a lot, are at the CDC”, noting that he’d have expected them to “do better”.“You would expect the CDC to be the most visible, not the White House or even Anthony Fauci. But they haven’t been the face of the epidemic”, he remarked. “They are trained to communicate and not try to panic people but get people to take things seriously. They have basically been muzzled since the beginning. We called the CDC, but they told us we had to talk to the White House a bunch of times”.He also said that people not “getting their tests back quickly enough”, as the interviewer put it, is “just stupidity”, adding that “the majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted”.However, Gates said “yes” when asked whether he was feeling optimistic at this point, arguing that, despite “trillions of dollars of economic damage” and “a lot of debts”, the “innovation pipeline on scaling up diagnostics, on new therapeutics, on vaccines is actually quite impressive”.“And that makes me feel like, for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022”, he said. “That is only because of the scale of the innovation that’s taking place”.Earlier, Gates warned that come fall, the US may witness an increase in death tolls comparable to those during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, though he also noted an apparent reduction in the risk of death from the coronavirus.==France, Germany Blast US For Trying To Lead WHO Discussions Despite WithdrawalFrance and Germany walked out of World Health Organization reform talks in frustration after the United States attempted to lead talks despite deciding to leave the organization, according to a report.The US gave notice in July that it planned to leave the agency after President Trump accused the leadership and organization of close ties to China that may have caused the WHO to mishandle the coronavirus pandemic.However, Washington remains involved in reform talks, Reuters reported, which have been ongoing for almost four months during the pandemic.Three officials told Reuters that despite its intentions to leave the WHO, the U.S. attempted to take charge of reform talks this week. The health ministries of France and Germany confirmed to Reuters that each nation opposed the US leading the talks.The general outline of the US roadmap for reform is not known.“Nobody wants to be dragged into a reform process and getting an outline for it from a country which itself just left the WHO,” a senior European official involved in the talks said.Other nations remained involved, but a spokesman for the Italian health ministry indicated that Italy is in agreement with its European allies regarding US involvement in the talks.“Everybody has been critical of Tedros,” one negotiator from a European G7 country told Reuters, referring to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.“All members of the G7 explicitly supported the substance of the WHO reform ideas,” said a senior Trump administration official. “Notwithstanding, it is regrettable that Germany and France ultimately chose not to join the group in endorsing the roadmap.”Peter Aitken is a New York born-and-raised reporter with a focus on national and global news.Russia Set To Launch World’s First COVID-19 Vaccine This WeekAmid the high number of coronavirus cases across the world, Russia is all set to register world’s first COVID-19 vaccine this week, according to reports. The vaccine was developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry. The vaccine will be registered on August 12.“The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya centre will be registered on August 12. At the moment, the last, third, stage is underway. The trials are extremely important. We have to understand that the vaccine must be safe. Medical professionals and senior citizens will be the first to get vaccinated,” Gridnev told reporters, according to reports.After the registration, the vaccine will be reportedly tested on about 1,600 people to ensure its safety and effectiveness.In April, Russia President Vladimir Putin ordered state officials to shorten the time of clinical trials for a variety of drugs, including potential coronavirus vaccines.Clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder, according to news agency AP.Initial reports showed immunity in all participants, the Russian Defence Ministry said. “The results of the check-up clearly demonstrate an unmistakable immune response attained through the vaccination. No side effects or issues with the body of the volunteers were found”, the ministry said, according to Sputnik News.“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” Industry Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by state news agency TASS.World Health Organization on Tuesday urged Russia to follow the established guidelines for producing safe and effective vaccines after Moscow announced plans to start swiftly producing COVID-19 jabs.“There are established practices and there are guidelines out,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva. “Between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference.” he said.Apart from the vaccine formulated by the Gamaleya Research Institute, Russia’s Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology has also started developing a COVID-19 vaccine.“I’m worried that Russia is cutting corners so that the vaccine that will come out may be not just ineffective, but also unsafe,” said Lawrence Gostin, a global public health law expert at Georgetown University.Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease specialist, questioned the fast-track approach last week. “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing a vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing I think is problematic at best,” he said.