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‘Worst phase of pandemic’: Brazil hits record daily deaths, cases | News

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Brazil has set daily records for new coronavirus cases and related deaths with nearly 1,600 deaths on Wednesday and a government under President Jair Bolsonaro determined to ease lockdowns designed to quell the outbreak.

Brazil is second only to the United States in the number of cases and deaths confirmed from the coronavirus.

The 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 additional deaths reported by the Health Ministry pushed the country past 2.5 million cases and a death toll in excess of 90,000 people.

The rise in deaths, however, was partly due to the country’s most populous state, Sau Paulo, reporting the number of deaths from two days rather than one.

Brazil’s previous record death toll for a single day was set on June 4, when 1,473 fatalities were reported. Deaths have been ticking upwards for five straight weeks as the coronavirus has spread into new regions, with deaths averaging more than 1,000 each day.

New COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in Brazil


Authorities say Sao Paulo did not report COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday because of a counting glitch. As a result, the 713 deaths it confirmed on Wednesday included two days of deaths. The state also reported 26,000 new cases.

President Jair Bolsonaro has fought against restrictions on economic activity, and the disease has advanced as governors and mayors have yielded to the pressure from Brasilia.

In some cases, Brazilians have packed into bars and crowded public squares without masks, often in defiance of local rules.

Global testing ground

Last week, Brazil recorded 7,677 deaths from COVID-19, the most fatalities in any week since the pandemic began, despite repeated claims that the outbreak had peaked.

“Brazil is experiencing the worst phase of the pandemic,” said Alexandre Naime, head of the department of infectious diseases at Sao Paulo State University.

“Paradoxically, public policy and personal behaviour are going in the opposite direction, as if we are not living through a daily tragedy,” he added.

Bolsonaro’s government announced on Wednesday that it would lift a ban on foreign travellers flying into the country that was imposed in March so long as they have health insurance coverage for their trip.

New hotspots are also appearing across the country.

Will Brazil’s president be forced to take the coronavirus seriously? | Inside Story

 

While Sao Paulo and neighbouring Rio de Janeiro were hit first by the virus, health officials have expressed rising concern over outbreaks in the centre-west and far south of the country as winter arrives. 

“We present national data but it’s like we have (multiple) COVID-19 pandemics with different regions of the country behaving differently,” health vigilance secretary Arnaldo Correia de Medeiros said in a televised press briefing.

The scale of the outbreak hs turned Brazil into a global testing ground for drug companies to test potential vaccines.

A Brazilian research institute on Wednesday said it had reached an agreement with China’s Sinopharm to start what would be the fourth major trial of a potential vaccine in the country.

Bolsonaro himself has flouted social distancing guidelines by joining supporters at rallies around Brasilia, the capital, in recent months. He fell ill with coronavirus this month, and spent weeks in partial isolation before recovering.

The right-wing populist has argued that the economic damage from lockdowns is worse than the disease itself, which he has played down as “a little flu” that can be cured by unproven treatments, involving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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Museveni issues ultimatum to police boss

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Museveni flagged off distribution of motorcycles for NRM chairpersons

President Yoweri Museveni has given Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martins Okoth Ochola a chilling ultimatum: You either do your work or I will do it myself!

Museveni disclosed the ultimatum he gave to the IGP today Monday at the NRM secretariat at Plot 10 Kyadondo Road in Kampala where he was flagging off the distribution of motorcycles to parish chairpersons of the ruling National Resistance Movement party across the country. 

“I told the IGP that if the police doesn’t do their work, I will do it myself by arresting the police officers themselves,” Museveni stunned his audience as he commented on the electoral violence that marred the NRM primaries held on Friday last week. At least 4 people were killed across the country during the primaries. 

“There was violence in Bukono county [Namutumba district] where people were beaten. I got information that police has not done much work. Some (policemen) have been arrested and given police bond; there is no police bond for somebody who has attacked Ugandans!,” Museveni added. 

Museveni vowed to deal with all persons who messed up the party primaries.  In some parts of the country, there were massive regularities where candidates who had been defeated ended up being announced winners. In some places like Namutumba, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Jinja, Katakwi, among others, there was violence that led to the killing and wounding of civilians. Museveni said that they are going to make sure that all those who participated in these irregularities and violence are held to account. 

Museveni said although the violence was orchestrated by the politicians, the police personnel are to be held accountable for failing to contain it.

Last week, police spokesman Fred Enanga warned police personnel especially those guarding VIPs against being drawn into the politicians’ political wrangles, reminding them that they would face the music if they did. With the president now threatening to go and conduct the arrests of errant policemen himself, IGP Ochola is likely to move fast to avert the spectacle. 

Museveni wondered why police would shoot at unarmed people who were fighting amongst themselves: “That policeman must be arrested; even the ones who are threatening people you will go to jail for that if we get evidence,” a seemingly incensed Museveni said.

He also said that the state minister of Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana who was captured on camera attempting to shoot people over the weekend in Ntugamo after he lost the  Rushenyi primaries, will be charged with threatening violence and attempted murder. 

 “This game is finished,” Museveni said.

Rukatana has since been charged and remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district in western Uganda. Museveni called upon all those dissatisfied with the election results to write petitions to the regional panels of elders which he said are going to be constituted to hear all election complaints.

“We are going to get three respected people who are not part of the struggles, then we shall go and audit village per village and we shall discover. If you have committed forgery, the registrar or the politician who ordered,  you all shall go to jail. The game is finished; the voting is by lining and if you miss-add, you are ‘miss-add’ yourself,” Museveni said.

Museveni’s speech came shortly before that of Justine Kasule Lumumba, the secretary general of the NRM who called upon the president to reign over some senior people who with impunity were freely changing the results of the elections.

“Some of our staff were lured into changing declaration forms on the way forgetting that people who had participated at the village don’t need to write; they registered the record in their faces…Some have done things with impunity… in Butemba county Kyakwanzi district, one of the candidates who got 3,000 votes brought in soldiers, cordoned off that place and was declared a winner and off they went away,” Lumumba said. 

The ball is now in Ochola’s court to get the police to execute their duties professionally and with impartiality. In March 2017, President Museveni warned Ochola’s predecessor Kale Kayihura to clean the police force of wrong elements. As months passed with no visible sign of police officers shaping up, Museveni resorted to other security agencies who started arresting rogue senior police officers and charging them in the military court for various crimes.

Kayihura was then removed from office, arrested and jointly charged with the errant officers in the army court. To avoid similar fate, Ochola is likely to use a firmer hand on the police officers so that by the time of the February 2021 elections, there is no laxity in the force’s execution of its mandate to maintain law and order.





Source – observer.ug

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