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WHO drawing closer to declaring a pandemic

first_imgJun 2, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The global novel H1N1 influenza situation is drawing closer to the status of a true pandemic but is not there yet, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) lead spokesman on the issue said today.”Globally we believe we’re in phase 5 but are getting closer to phase 6,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO assistant director-general for health security and the environment, referring to the WHO’s pandemic alert phases.By the WHO definition, phase 5 means a novel virus is causing sustained community outbreaks in more than one country within one WHO region, in this case the Americas. Phase 6 signals a full pandemic, defined as a novel virus spreading widely in more than one global region. The phases as currently defined do not say anything about the severity of the disease, only its geographic extent.Speaking at a news briefing, Fukuda also said the WHO will come up with ways to describe the severity of the epidemic and provide related guidance so that governments will have more information on how to respond to the situation.Last week, after a number of countries voiced concern that a pandemic declaration would cause undue alarm and disruption in the context of a generally mild disease, Fukuda said the WHO would consider modifying its phase definitions. Today, in the wake of a teleconference with experts yesterday, he signaled that the WHO will stick with the current definitions, but promised the agency would supplement them by finding a way to describe the severity of the disease threat.Transitional countriesFukuda said several countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Chile, and Australia, seem to be moving from having limited H1N1 outbreaks related to travelers and institutions to having widespread community transmission.”However, we still are waiting for evidence of really widespread community activity in these countries, so I think it’s fair to say that they are in transition and are not quite there yet,” he said.He contrasted those countries with the United States, Mexico, and Canada, where the virus is widespread, and most other countries, where cases are limited and mostly linked to travel or to institutional outbreaks.As of today, the WHO has confirmations of 18,365 novel H1N1 cases in 64 countries, with 117 deaths, Fukuda reported. He said the WHO now plans to update its online H1N1 case count on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, instead of 5 days a week.Offering a kind of one-word descriptor that the WHO has generally avoided, he said, “It’s probably fair to call the situation moderate right now. We have some hesitation in calling it mild, for a couple of reasons.”One reason is that while the number of serious and fatal cases appears relatively low, the WHO doesn’t know the true proportion of severe cases, he said. Another reason is that the infection can be fatal in some people, including those with underlying medical problems, pregnant women, and even some who were previously healthy.Creating a severity scaleThe WHO’s decision to assess severity but not change the pandemic phase definitions comes out of a series of telephone consultations yesterday with about 30 experts from 23 countries, Fukuda reported.He said the discussions were fruitful and produced consensus in a number of areas: “The experts urged WHO to continue to use geographic spread as the basis for moving to phase 6, but also said WHO should modify this movement with an assessment of severity, and WHO should provide more tailored guidance to countries, responding to the severity.”Much of the discussion focused on how to assess severity, which has to do not only with the virulence of the virus but also with the vulnerability and resilience of populations, which are likely to vary from country to country, he said.The WHO may come up with something like a 3-point severity scale, Fukuda said. The agency hopes to develop a general severity assessment that will be useful to all countries but link it with detailed guidance to help local authorities assess their own situation and respond appropriately.”One of the things we hope to do is reduce some of the more drastic actions that may be uncalled for, but also provide guidance to countries regarding what steps they can take,” he added. He cited embargoes on pork and the slaughter of pigs, measures used by some countries in the early stages of the epidemic, as examples of uncalled-for actions.In other comments, Fukuda said the novel virus seems to be behaving pretty much the same in the southern hemisphere as it has in the northern hemisphere. In Chile and Australia, for example, most cases have been mild, but some severe cases with respiratory failure have occurred, just as in North America.”Overall, what we’re seeing in the first few countries in the southern hemisphere is similar to what we’re seeing in the northern hemisphere,” he said.He also reported that most of the flu viruses identified recently in Chile have been the novel H1N1 rather than the seasonal flu viruses that normally show up at this time of year.See also: May 26 CIDRAP News story “WHO may redefine pandemic alert phases”last_img read more

Final 8: Pillars Through to Final, Pick Continental Ticket

first_img2017 KWESE PREMIER LEAGUEAfter a tensed semi final battle between Kano Pillars and Kwara Falcons of Ilorin, Kano Pillars emerged victorious beating Kwara Falcons 69-59 points to zoom into the finals of the 2017 Kwese Premier League holding at the Indoor Gym of the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.The clash between the two conference champions was a thriller of sort with the Falcons giving Pillars a big fight. With the win Pillars becomes the first team in the Final 8 championship to book a continental ticket. Kano Pillars star Abubakar Usman scored the game’s highest with 24 points while Nwafor Josep and Eli Ibrahim contributed 10 points each with Dele Ademola completing highest scores with 11 points for the hosts.Hard-fighting Falcons player Mojuba Oyeleye scored 18 points to finish as the Ilorin based team’s highest scorer.Mathew Omonya expressing happiness for emerging as the first team to reach the final and aim for the ultimate N20m prize money said the cash prize was their biggest motivation: ” When the prize money was announced we became extra motivated to go all out for the win.“It was a hard fought battle but we had to surmount the hurdle because we didn’t want to be left out of the largesse. The money was a big motivation for us and we thank the sponsor Kwese Sports for this. Our eyes are on the trophy and the sponsorship prize money,” stressed Omonya.Meanwhile, in line with the Tijjani Umar led NBBF board’s philosophy of reaching out to the less privileged and giving back to the society, coaches and players participating at the Kwese Premier League Final 8 yesterday visited the Nasarawa Children’s Home in Kano.The Community Outreach Service instituted by the Umar led board a couple of years ago is part of activities flagged off in the ongoing Kwese Premier Basketball League Final 8 Championship holding at the Indoor Hall, Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.Umar, who led some members of the board, former national team coaches, coaches of clubs at the Final 8, former national team players and some players in the ongoing league, referees and technical officials to deliver some gift items said: “Today we identify with the less privileged to show that we care and are willing to support them to aspire and become great in life.“This is important to us because we want to contribute to their lives and encourage as well as motivate them to look up to these players and aspire to be like them. Life is all about give and take and we really appreciate and thank the management of the Home for taking care of the children.”Delivering the gift items on behalf of the group, D’Tigers player and Captain of Mark Mentors of Abuja, Stanley Gumut, pledged that more good things were coming the way of their way as the Tijjani Umar led board was planning to return and build a basketball court for the Home.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Arsenal’s possible starting XI, with £42m of new signings and fit again midfield stalwart

first_imgArsenal could add to their signing of Mohamed Elneny before the January transfer window slams shut.Reports claim Arsene Wenger has his eye on two new forwards and a young defender, as the French manager looks to strengthen his side’s title challenge.So, could the Gunners challenge for the Premier League trophy with a line up featuring some notable changes?Take a look at Arsenal’s possibly starting XI after the transfer window closes by clicking the yellow arrow above, right. 10. Left wing: Alexis Sanchez – Sanchez made his return in Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea, and while the result was one to be forgotten, his performance certainly lifted the mood of Gunners faithful. The Chilean will be lacking match sharpness, but it isn’t expected to take too long for him to return to full fitness. Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Campbell will be both frustrated and pleased to see the former Barcelona winger back in action. 8. Right wing: Theo Walcott, Andriy Yarmolenko or Joel Campbell – Wenger isn’t short of options out wide, which makes his job all the more difficult. And if Yarmolenko makes a surprise move to the Emirates in the next few days, with reports claiming a £23m fee has been agreed, there will be many fighting for a place on the flank. Alexis Sanchez, when fully fit, is a certain starter on the left, but what about the right? Yarmolenko has been in fine form for Dynamo Kiev, while Walcott and Campbell are also challenging for a spot. The former’s arrival could be devastating news for Oxlade-Chamberlain. 2. Right back: Hector Bellerin – Mathieu Debuchy has been forced to address his future this month as a consequence of Bellerin’s commanding form. The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough 2014/15 campaign, and his performances are only improving in north London. 11 3. Centre back: Gabriel Paulista – Per Mertesacker has often been preferred ahead of Gabriel, who arrived in January 2015, but the former’s red card against Chelsea may come as a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. The Germany international’s lack of pace has often left his side exposed at the back, and while his current ban lasts for just one match, he could face a battle to get back into the starting line up. 1. Goalkeeper: Petr Cech – to see the XI that Wenger could start after the January transfer window click the arrow above – The former Chelsea goalkeeper has proved to be one of the signings of the summer. Cech’s influence on the team has been clear, with his confidence breathing new life into a Gunners side that has so often struggled to maintain a title challenge. Top spot is still within reach, despite defeat to the Blues in their last league outing, and Cech’s experience will be crucial over the next few months. 11 4. Centre back: Laurent Koscielny – Of Arsenal’s four senior centre backs, Koscielny is arguably the most superior. While the Frenchman does deliver the odd poor performance, he is one of the first names on the Gunners team sheet. It’s deciding his partner that is most problematic, with Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker competing for the remaining spot. 11 7. Centre midfield: Aaron Ramsey – Ramsey started the campaign off on the right flank, pushed away from his favoured central role to accommodate Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. Injury to the pair, though, has allowed the Welshman to step inside and his performances have impressed Wenger. The major concern with the 25-year-old in this position is his defensive naivety, but as Coquelin looks set to return to action before Cazorla, a new midfield partnership could thrive. 6. Centre midfield: Francis Coquelin – Coquelin has been on the sidelines since November, recovering from knee ligament damage, but he is nearing his return. The Frenchman is back in training, and is set to be thrown into action in the Gunners’ FA Cup clash with Burnley this coming Saturday. He faces competition from new signing Mohamed Elneny, but so long as his confidence hasn’t been affected, Coquelin will be Wenger’s first choice in a holding midfield role. 11 11 11 11 11 5. Left back: Nacho Monreal or Ben Chilwell – Monreal has been excellent for Arsenal – with his reputation in the Premier League having risen tremendously over the last season and a half. Reports, however, claim that Leicester City left back Chiwell could be heading to the Emirates to inject further youth into Wenger’s back line. If the Gunners can seal a deal before the close of the January window, it’s unlikely the 19-year-old will be thrust straight into action, but as Bellerin has shown, experience isn’t everything. 11. Striker: Olivier Giroud or Nolito – After an uncertain start to the campaign, Giroud has again become Wenger’s first choice striker, with the Frenchman grasping the opportunity to impress during Walcott’s absence through injury. He could, however, have some new competition to contend with in the shape of Celta Vigo’s Nolito. The Spaniard, who has eight goals and five assists this season, could be the subject of a late bid from Arsenal, strengthening an already impressive attack at the Emirates. 11 9. Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil – Often deployed out wide in his first two seasons at the Emirates, the Germany international has flourished in his favoured no.10 role, registering 16 assists in the Premier League already. This tally is expected to rise, with Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single campaign well within his reach. Upon his return to full fitness, Jack Wilshere will be eyeing Ozil’s position, but it’s almost impossible to see any other player stepping in if his form continues. 11 11last_img read more

DONEGAL STUDENTS MAKING TOUCHING RETURN TO NORTH AFTER OMAGH BOMB MASSACRE

first_imgA ban on Donegal-based Spanish students crossing the border after the horrific Omagh bombing has been lifted for the first time in 15 years.Gonzalo Cavedo poses for a picture just seconds before the car containing the Omagh bomb explodes behind him.Two Spanish students were among the 29 people killed in the massacre on August 15th 1998.Students have continued to come from Spain to spend summers in Donegal but have never been allowed to cross the border into Northern Ireland. But this week small group of students have been allowed to visit the Peace Bridge in Derry.Fernando Blasco Baselga (12) and group leader Rocio Abad Ramos (23) were among the victims, along with Buncrana youngsters Shaun McLaughlin (12), James Barker (12) and eight-year-old Oran Doherty.Another Spanish visitor to Omagh on the day of the blast features in one of the most poignant images from the day.Gonzalo Cavedo was captured posing with a young child on his shoulders, completely unaware that in the red car just yards away was a 500lb bomb which seconds later would claim the lives of many in the picture and injure hundreds more. Mr Cavedo and the child survived, but the photographer was killed. Organiser Paula Helguero of the Donegal Centre scheme told the Belfast Telegraph that time has been a healer.“Families were worried that something could happen again. But time has been something of a healer and we thought we should return to the north, especially with the Year of Culture and with Derry looking so great.“We haven’t brought all the students together, but rather in groups of around 15 or 20.”In the years after the bombing, the Spanish students who stay with host families in Donegal were brought to Buncrana via Sligo rather than having to travel through Northern Ireland.Paula also revealed that her own niece was caught up in the bombing and was badly injured. However she made a full recovery and has since gone on tow work with Ryanair in Oslo.Paula and her students are planning to remember the bombing today by holding a special mass in Buncrana.DONEGAL STUDENTS MAKING TOUCHING RETURN TO NORTH AFTER OMAGH BOMB MASSACRE was last modified: August 16th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:buncranaOMagh bombingSpanishstudentslast_img read more