From Noah Ebije, Kaduna, Fred Itua, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Gyang Bere, Jos,
Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has threatened to impose a lockdown to save lives and prevent the collapse of the healthcare system.
This is as the state recorded no fewer than 47 COVID-19 deaths in the last three weeks and average daily infection of 100.
The governor, who spoke during a media chat with some broadcast journalists in Hausa said the spike was as a result of non-adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures.
El-Rufai said the government expected voluntary compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols so that livelihoods could be pursued in safety.
He directed all residents to wear face masks when leaving their homes, adding that security agents would enforce compliance and mobile courts will try offenders.
According to Commissioner of Health, Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni, one out of every three samples turned out positive.
He revealed that the infection rates were higher in eight local governments, including Kaduna North and Kaduna South local government areas, Chikun, Igabi, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Jema’a, Lere and Soba.
•Lalong tests positive, goes into isolation
Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, has tested positive following a test he and members of his family carried out. Other members of his family, however tested negative.
Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, in a statement, said the governor who is asymptomatic has gone into isolation while his close aides are being tested.
The statement said the governor will henceforth work from home during the period of treatment while all state matters requiring his physical presence will be handled by his deputy.
FG declares second wave
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic (PTF), yesterday, officially declared the second wave of the virus in Nigeria.
Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure while briefing the media.
Represented by by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the SGF who is still in self-isolation in total compliance to the PTF own rules and regulations, as some members of his family tested positive to COVID-19, said Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections and stands the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also not losing the precious lives of our citizens.
He said the PTF believed that “if we do the right things, adhere to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimized and the rising curve will begin to flatten out.”
According to him, while the country in the last two weeks on the one hand, received cheering news of the COVID-Vaccine on the other hand, “we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad. The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.”
Mustapha said the PTF held the end of term technical session last week Tuesday and would be submitting the final report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, December 22.
“Current realities, however, point to the fact that the course of further opening up of the economy may have to be reviewed.
“The festive season is here and we remain conscious of the fact that large gathering events will take place. It is our strong advice that all non-essential trips be cancelled outrightly. We also urge citizens to avoid large gathering events,” he said.
NEC raises the alarm over spike
The National Economic Council (NEC) is set to enforce compliance of measures to contain the spread of the disease across the country.
This was contained in resolution released at the end of the virtual meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and attended by Governors, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and other federal ministers from their various locations.
The Council said it “is alarmed that the current trends are now approaching or surpassing the levels reached during the lockdown imposed at the height of the epidemic earlier in the year.”
While enlarging the membership of its Adhoc Committee on COVID-19 and mandating it to urgently come up with additional measures to deal with the spike in cases, NEC noted that “the country is now experiencing a huge resurgence of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care and the existing health facilities are fast becoming overwhelmed.
The Committee chaired by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa with the Governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Anambra and the FCT minister, has now been enlarged with the addition of the governors of Ogun and Kaduna. The Minister of Health is also a member of the committee, while the Ministers of Information and Youth and Sports have also been asked to join. Also, Health and Information Commissioners in the states would also now be co-opted into the assignment.
Benue bans Christmas, New Year picnic activities
Benue State Security Council has banned picnic-related activities during the Christmas and New Year celebrations in the state.
Briefing journalists after the State Security Council meeting in Makurdi, Gov. Samuel Ortom said the decision became necessary to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the increasing numbers of cases of the pandemic in the country was worrisome.
Ortom said Benue has started recording more cases of the pandemic in its second wave and urged residents to obey all NCDC COVID-19 protocols.
Kogi gov warns
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has warned state actors against the mismanagement of COVID-19 pandemic. He said if those saddled with the responsibility of advising President Muhammadu Buhari on how to handle the pandemic create panic, posterity will not forget.
Bello recalled how he warned against a nationwide lockdown at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. He said if his advice had been taken, the recent economic recession may have been avoided.