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WHO reveals half of Europe will be infected with Omicron within weeks

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The World Health Organization has said more than half of Europe’s population will be infected with Omicron variant of coronavirus within the next six to eight weeks.

This comes after more than seven million new Covid cases were reported in the region in the first week of 2022, with the numbers doubling over a two-week period.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, the European director for the World Health Organisation, Dr. Hans Kluge, said: “At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts that more than 50 percent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks.”

In a Covid-19 results briefing covering the European Union, which was released on January 8, the IHME wrote: “Our models for the European Union suggest that infections will peak at just under 5 million in the middle of January, although national peaks will vary considerably, with later peaks in the eastern part of the EU.

“We expect more than 50 percent of the EU population will be infected by Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks. The infection-detection rate (IDR) is declining, although shortages of testing may lead to more rapid decreases in the IDR than we currently model.”

They expect reported cases within Europe to reach 1.9 million by the third week of January and then decline steadily. It is also predicted that hospitalisations across Europe could be a third higher than last winter, but modellers caveated this by saying that many of these will be “incidental admissions”.

They wrote: “Because the prevalence of Omicron infection is so high, many individuals hospitalised for other conditions will have asymptomatic infections. Incidental admissions may exceed 50 percent of total Covid admissions in some countries.”

Daily deaths will increase only slightly, as Omicron is less severe than Delta, the forecasters said.

WHO Europe director, Dr. Hans Kluge said on Tuesday that 26 countries in its region reported that more than one percent of their populations are being infected with Covid each week. He warned that there was now a “closing window of opportunity” for countries to prevent their health systems from being overwhelmed.

“Omicron moves faster and wider than any (previous) variant we have seen”, he added. Dr Kluge asked countries to mandate the use of masks indoors and to prioritise vaccination and booster doses.

He also said that as Omicron moves east across the European continent, the variant will have a much higher toll on countries with a lower vaccination rate.

WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, also warned against countries treating Covid as an endemic illness like flu, rather than as a pandemic. Ms Smallwood said: “We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic.”

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Photos from Alao Akala’s candle night

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Hundreds of residents of Ogbomoso in Oyo State, on Wednesday, organized a candle night procession in honour of a former governor of the State, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala.

Alao-Akala is an indigene of Ogbomoso, the second largest city in the State. The former police officer died in the early hours of Wednesday, 12th January, 2022.

He was the governor of the State between 2007 and 2011.

To pay their last respect for the former governor, youths, women and men in their hundreds organized a candle night procession in honor of the former governor.

The event attracted friends, family and supporters of the late politician.

The procession, which started around 4.pm, took off from Alao-Akala’s residence.

It moved through Takie, Sabo, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Orita Naira, Oja’gbo, Ijeru, Arowomole, Oja Akande and Seminary.

All the participants wore black attires.

They described the former Governor as someone whose legacies cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

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Minna district head suspended over forceful marriage

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District Head of Allawa in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, Mallam Bello Haruna has been suspended by Minna Emirate Council for engaging in forceful marriage.

The district head who was accused of forcefully marrying out a girl (name withheld), humiliating her father and also ordering that she be beaten by vigilantes, was also accused of insubordination by not answering the calls from the Emirate council leaders to explain some of the complaints against him.

In a letter signed by the Emirate’s assistant secretary, Usman Umaru Guni, the district head was accused of not having the leadership qualities necessary for peace and progress of the community he was appointed to lead.

Galadima Allawa, Ahmadu Magaji has now been appointed as the acting district head.

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AMCON MD, Ahmed Kuru, allegedly in EFCC net

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The Managing Director of Assets Management Company of Nigeria, Ahmed Kuru, has allegedly been arrested and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Sahara Reporters reports that Kuru, who has been accused of assets diversion and selling of seized assets by businessmen accused of loan default with banks, to cronies at below value prices, was invited by the EFCC on Wednesday, January 19.

A source at the EFCC confirmed to the publication that Kuru was invited by the commission after confirmation of him selling assets worth billions of naira belonging to Atlantic.

“Kuru will certainly spend the night with the commission as he is still undergoing interrogation,” the source said.

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