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Liverpool thump Newcastle to extend lead at top

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Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points by beating Newcastle – because Manchester City, who started the day as their nearest challengers, lost at Leicester City.

Goals by Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah from the penalty spot, Xherdan Shaqiri and substitute Fabinho, ensured Jurgen Klopp’s side will start 2019 at the top of the table.

Newcastle wasted a great chance to take the lead at 0-0 when Joselu failed to connect properly with Matt Ritchie’s excellent cross and were punished when Lovren dispatched a half-volley into the roof of the net.

Salah’s penalty doubled the lead after referee Graham Scott judged that Paul Dummett had fouled the Egypt forward, before Shaqiri tucked home the third from an assist by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

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Liverpool completed the scoring through Fabinho’s header and reach the halfway point of the season six points ahead of second-placed Tottenham, who were 5-0 winners against Bournemouth.

Is this finally Liverpool’s season?

News of Manchester City’s demise at Leicester – their second straight defeat – was greeted with a huge roar at Anfield.

A week ago there was just one point between Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions, yet Klopp’s side will go into their final game of 2018 on Saturday against Arsenal with Tottenham their nearest challengers.

The Reds certainly look the part.

They have reached the halfway point unbeaten – just like City did on the way to the title last season.

The Reds secured a 12th top-flight clean sheet without too many scares, although Joselu’s headed miss when the game was goalless was a let-off.

Shortly afterwards Lovren found the roof of the net with a sublime finish, before Salah doubled the lead from the penalty spot and Shaqiri pounced for his fourth goal in as many games.

It was at this point news filtered through from the King Power Stadium that Manchester City were losing 2-1 – and with Liverpool fans in party mood, substitute Fabinho headed the fourth to wrap up a 16th win in 19 league games.

In addition, this was Klopp’s 100th win as Liverpool manager in his 181st match.

Newcastle need a goalscorer

Before his return to Liverpool, the club he managed for six years from 2004, Rafael Benitez said it would be a “miracle” if his Newcastle side were to avoid relegation.

Despite a third defeat in six games, they remain five points above the bottom three in 15th spot.

Benitez might grumble at the award of the penalty that made it 2-0, when Salah and Dummett tangled and the referee pointed to the spot although the contact did not appear enough when the Egypt international hit the floor.

However, Newcastle have scored just 14 league goals this season and this was the eighth time in 19 top-flight games they have failed to find the net.

Joselu, one of six changes to the team, should have headed his side ahead when the game was goalless, while there will be questions as to why Salomon Rondon, leading scorer with five goals, was left on the bench and did not feature.

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Newcastle have picked up lately after a poor start but they were distinctly second best at Anfield.

A response is required at Watford on Saturday, with matches against Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham on the horizon.

Man of the match – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Jordan Henderson was immense in midfield. The Liverpool skipper produced a high-energy performance that included a string of key tackles on a big day for his club.

‘I didn’t like the start of the game’ – the managers

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “The start of the game offensively was very lively, defensively a bit in between. I didn’t like it too much.

“But apart from that the whole game was really good. We could’ve scored more, the chances were there with fantastic movements. Right to the end we were wanting to control the game but still wanted to score.

“It’s difficult to break down Newcastle’s formation. They worked hard but the boys stayed in the game and did the job.”

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez: “We knew we were playing a very good team and knew staying in the game was crucial.

“At the start of the second half there was a light penalty – it’s hard when you’re 2-0 down. If you have chances and don’t take them or make mistakes it is difficult.

“The first goal is a mistake and the second is key in terms of confidence.”

Still a miracle to keep Newcastle up? “Yes. You can see the difference between some teams. We have to carry on doing things right and we have to be better than three teams.”

‘The unbeatables’ – the stats

  • Liverpool are only the fourth Premier League team to be unbeaten at the halfway stage of a season, along with Arsenal in 2003-04, Manchester United in 2010-11 and Manchester City in 2017-18.
  • This was Newcastle’s heaviest league defeat at Anfield since December 1987 (also a 0-4 loss).
  • Mohamed Salah has been involved in 35 goals in 28 home Premier League games for Liverpool (25 goals, 10 assists).
  • Newcastle have now lost their last nine away league matches against the ‘big six’ teams and have been beaten in all six games those sides this season.
  • Xherdan Shaqiri has scored four goals in his past four Premier League matches – one more than he managed in the 20 before that.
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their past 20 matches in December, winning their past nine in a row.
  • This was the Reds’ seventh victory this month – their most in a calendar month since September 1996 (also seven).

What’s next?

The games come thick and fast and Liverpool face another huge match on Saturday when they host Arsenal (17:30 GMT) before heading to Manchester City on 3 January (20:00).

Newcastle are at Watford on Saturday (15:00) before hosting Manchester United on 2 January (20:00).



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

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Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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