Moshood Adebayo, Fred Ezeh, Abuja, Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti, Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Lagos Government may discharge six coronavirus patients believed to have responded to treatment at the Yaba isolation centre and had stopped secreting the virus, today.
Their release followed test results which confirmed the status of them to be negative and no longer posing health risk.
With this development, the number of cases of persons that have recovered from the deadly disease in the country has risen to seven, including the Italian national.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, revealed this during an interview with a radio talk show in Lagos, yesterday.
He assured that government was working hard to ensure that cases of coronavirus were contained, adding that Lagos State had expanded its capacity to deal with the pandemic.
“We are going to discharge six out of our 24 patients. So our admitted patients will go down theoretically to 18, but if we admit more it will go up. We have got plan A,B and C. So depending on how things go we will deploy different levels of strategy,” said Abayomi.
The government is set to commence the disinfection of streets and public places in a bid to ensure a safe environment for residents in view of the ravaging COVID-19.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed this in his verified twitter handle.
He revealed that the fumigation exercise will be handled by officials from the Vector Control unit of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and urged citizens to obey all medical prevention advice against contracting the disease.
Meanwhile, governors of Ekiti, Edo and Bayelsa, Kayode Fayemi, Godwin Obaseki and Douye Diri have tested negative.
The governors who had contacts with persons that tested positive to the virus submitted themselves to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) for tests to ascertain their status.
Governor Fayemi who doubles as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) had urged his colleagues to undergo the test.
In Ekiti Government House, yesterday, there was jubilation among party faithful following the news that the governor had tested negative.
Obaseki, however, had decided to remain in self-isolation despite testing negative.
“I can confirm that the governor tested negative for coronavirus when he ran the rapid diagnostic test for the virus. However, we are currently awaiting the result of more conclusive PCR test. In the meantime, the governor has decided to continue to work in self-solation and he is asymptomatic,” Crusoe Osagie, the Edo governor spokesman said.
Also, Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri, has doused the tension and anxiety generated over his status after other governors went into self-isolation due to their interaction with Governor Bala Muhammed.
Diri’s samples were taken on Wednesday by officials of the epidemiology unit of the state Ministry of Health led by the State Epidemiologist, Ifiemi Iwuji and sent to the Irrua Specialist Hospital.
Similarly, Ministers of State for FCT and Information and Culture, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu and Lai Mohammed,also tested negative to COVID-19.
Aliyu announced the result of the test on her Twitter page, yesterday: “I am glad to inform all my family, friends, associates and colleagues, including the good people of FCT, that I have tested negative to COVID-19.”
This came as Smile Nigeria, an internet service provider, has asked anyone who visited its Abuja regional office in the last five days to self-isolate themselves.
The firm, in a statement, said one of its sales agents may have been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus.
It said the office has been disinfected and closed down, adding that all its employees have been asked to self-isolate.
“We are concerned that one of our Sales Agents based in Abuja may have been in contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
“Further to the above, as a precautionary measure our Abuja Regional Office have been thoroughly disinfected/sanitized, and closed while employees have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
Afe Babalola tasks scientists on solution
Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) has challenged scientists in his university to join their counterparts in other parts of the world in undertaking researches geared at finding a solution to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
Babalola enjoined scientists in ABUAD’s Colleges of Engineering, Sciences and Medicine to take the advantage of the one-month closure of schools throughout the country to engage in researches and come out with workable solutions and show that they are globally relevant in the scheme of things.
Babalola observed that Nigerian academics often go to sleep after obtaining their Ph.Ds when that should actually mark the beginning of research and contribution to knowledge.
A statement by ABUAD’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Tunde Olofintila, said Babalola’s challenge for research into the cure of COVId-19 by the school was part of his own way of giving back to the society.
Babalola emphasised the place and import of collaborative efforts within and outside the university in tandem with global best practices to ensure that the dream of eradicating coronavirus is realised in Nigeria.
•Violate Lagos lockdown directive, go to jail
The Lagos House of Assembly has passed into law an emergency bill to help the state combat the pandemic.
“Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020” sponsored by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, among others stipulates a fine of N100,000 for defaulters, one month imprisonment in the correctional centre or three months community service.
Where the offence is not spelt out, it attracts N200,000 and also allows the leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restriction format.
Section 8 of the bill makes provision for the coronavirus Trust Fund.
The bill further empowers the governor to declare a state of emergency of up to three months if the situation requires so.
Coscharis scales down
In deference to government’s directive, Coscharis Group has scaled-down operations in its Lagos office.
The company in a statement signed by Abiona Babarinde, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, urged customers, staff and stakeholders not to panic but take precautionary and safety measures as instructed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) to stay safe against COVID-19.
“During this challenging period, while we would be exploring options that will reduce to the barest minimum of any physical engagements except where it is extremely necessary with limited number of human interaction, we encourage our customers and stakeholders to utilise other platforms like telephones, emails and our website as credible options to engage for our services,” said Babarinde.
Dr. Cosmas Maduka, President of Group said: “We have been following with great details the global developments as it relates to the Covid-19 health situation which is really unprecedented and has brought the whole world to a standstill. As it is, as a responsible corporate entity, we are heeding to government and the health institutions’ advice to ensure the safety of our assets who are our staff and all our entire stakeholders. We have put in place critical safety precautions in line with required guidelines across all our facilities and business concerns. In line with the Lagos State Governor’s directives, all our Lagos based offices have been directed to drastically scale down number of their staff that will be coming to the office to achieve the required social distance directives while others work from home to be able to continually deliver value for all our stakeholders.”
Maduka said the company would stand by all the efforts of the government to control the spread of this unfortunate virus and encourages every citizens and foreigners alike to remain responsible as we believe this is just a phase that will soon fade away in our lifetime.
Chidoka urges politicians to lead the fight
Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, has called on politicians,irrespective of party affiliation, to use their campaign structures to spread awareness about coronavirus as part of efforts to prevent the pandemic from spreading to villages and local communities.
Chidoka made the call in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ikechukwu Okafor.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain said all politicians should deploy the same ingenuity, intensity, energy and methods used during political campaigns to reach out and educate the masses on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He charged public office holders to use resources at their disposal, including allowances and security votes, to provide financial support to the vulnerable in the society.
•Jigawa closes land borders
Jigawa Government said it would close its land borders with other states and the neighbouring Niger Republic with effect from today.
Commissioner for Health, Abba Zakar, who made the disclosure to newsmen in Dutse on Thursday said the state took the decision in order to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.
“From midnight of Friday, the 27th of March 2020, we will close all our borders linking us with neighbouring states of Bauchi, Kano, Katsina and Yobe.
“However, this does not affect people traveling within the state, that from one local government to another,” he said.
The commissioner said that the the state had reached an arrangement at a meeting with religious leaders that both Muslim and Christian leaders would intensify prayers against the spread of the disease.
According to him, it was also agreed that Chief Imam of congressional (Friday) prayers and Pastors would shorten the time of payers in order to avoid congestion and keeping people staying together for long.