Fred Ezeh, Benjamin Babine, Abuja, Clement Adeyi, Osogbo, Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 23 new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria with Akwa Ibom recording it first case- five in one fell swoop.
NCDC, in a tweet, last night, said nine cases were recorded in Lagos, seven in the FCT, five in Akwa Ibom, one in Kaduna and one in Bauchi State.
It said: “As at 08:00 pm 1st April, there are 174 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. Nine have been discharged with two deaths.
Meanwhile, breakdown of cases by states indicated that currently, Lagos has 91 cases, FCT- 35, Osun- 14, Oyo- eight, four each in Ogun, Edo and Kaduna, Bauchi- three, Enugu- three, one each in Ekiti, Rivers and Benue while Akwa Ibom recorded five.
Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, said the fresh case in Ekiti barely 24 hours after the index case was discharged from the isolation facility located at the Oba Adejugbe Hospital, Agric Olope, Ado-Ekiti.
Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, urged the people of the state not to panic assuring that the Fayemi administration was working hard to curtail the spread.
He urged residents to comply with the stay-at-home order and follow other directives aimed at tackling the disease.
“Part of the measures put in place is the total lockdown of the state where movements are restricted to curb the spread. We salute the security agencies for ensuring that the lockdown issued by Governor Kayode Fayemi is obeyed.
“We appeal to our people to complement government’s efforts by staying indoors till April 12 and maintain personal hygiene of hand washing, use of sanitisers and maintain social distancing to curb the spread,” he said.
Meanwhile, Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has called on the Federal Government to extend the lockdown measure to other states to contain the spread.
He said this against the background of the three new confirmed cases in the state on Tuesday. It was gathered that the three new cases were part of the 127 returnees from Cote d’Ivoire, who had been at an isolation centre in Ejigbo Town. The three new cases returned positive from 24 suspected cases that were tested.
Oyetola said the total lockdown of the country had become necessary to avoid trans-border transfer of the virus.
“The war against coronavirus must be total. We should not be concentrating on three or few states alone. We should see this as a national emergency. I am advocating for a total lockdown so that what is happening in Lagos, Ogun and FCT can be extended to other states as a better way to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“About four days ago, my colleague governor in Ogun State alerted me to the fact that some Nigerians of Osun origin were coming in from Cote d’ivoire. I thanked him for his efforts because he also provided escort for them to be conveyed to us. We immediately received them on arrival and kept them in an isolation centre in Ejigbo. By Tuesday, out of the 24 samples that were tested, three are already positive. So you can imagine what the other outcomes will look like by the time we get the results of the remaining 103 samples.
“So, we should look beyond Lagos, FCT and Ogun, if we must adequately contain the spread of the virus. I want Federal Government to come to the aid of the states. As it is, most of the states do not have the facilities to combat the disease. As we all know, most of the states are struggling to pay salaries, like us in Osun, in spite of the fact that we are struggling to pay salaries, we have purchased seven new ventilators and set up isolation centres. So the Federal Government should come to our aid. The cases we have for now are stable. They are receiving adequate medical care. We have also set up the State’s Food and Relief Committee to help cushion the effect of the lockdown,” Oyetola said.
In the same vein, Edo has threatened total lockdown.
During the facility tour of the 12-bed isolation centre at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin, Commissioner for Health, Patrick Okundia, told newsmen: “Edo State is bordered by several states. if Anambra and Delta put a lockdown on their borders, they have also blocked Edo State border. So, if the other states blocked their borders, we are already protected. but when it becomes absolutely necessary, we may take that decision for a complete lockdown.”
Okundia said the 12-bed Isolation centre fully equipped with 13 ventilators was ready to handle any case adding that, another 28-bed Isolation centre was near completion.
Cases’ll soon reach 1m globally –WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm that confirmed cases will soon reach one million globally.
Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed the figures during his COVID-19 update, yesterday.
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new COVID-19 cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week.
“In the next few days, we will reach one million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 50,000 deaths.”
He said while relatively lower numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported from Africa, Central and South America, WHO realises that COVID-19 could have serious social, economic and political consequences for these regions.
“It is critical that we ensure these countries are well equipped to detect, test, isolate and treat COVID-19 cases, and identify contacts.
“I am encouraged to see that this is occurring in many countries, in spite of limited resources.”
Ghebreyesus said he had called on governments to put in place social welfare measures to ensure vulnerable people have food and other life essentials during the crisis.
NCDC activates virology lab in Abakaliki for testing
The NCDC has activated the virology laboratory at the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
It confirmed that the laboratory which has commenced COVID-19 testing brings the number of testing laboratories in Nigeria to seven.
Prior to the inauguration of the Abakaliki centre, there were six COVID-19 testing centres in Nigeria namely African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease at Redeemers’ University, Ede, Osun State; NCDC National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Gaduwa, Abuja; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos; Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, Lagos; Irrua Teaching Hospital, Edo State; University College Hospital, Ibadan.
Nigerians have repeatedly called for the expansion of testing centres to allow more people run the test, but the government has said it is hampered by the shortage of PCR machines, trained manpower and reagents that are used to conduct the test.
The NCDC recently said it had expanded the number of molecular laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19 to six with the inclusion of the virology laboratory of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, told journalists that seven new molecular laboratories would soon be added to existing ones to fasten the testing for COVID-19 in few weeks.
Rep calls on FG, state govts to set up price control units
The member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo, Benue State, in the House of Representatives, Francis Ottah Agbo, has called on the Federal Government and the 36 state governments to immediately set up price control units to check the arbitrary hike in prices of goods and services as the country goes into a lockdown.
Agbo, who is spokesman of the minority caucus in the Green Chamber lamented that traders had capitalised on the lockdown to exploit Nigerians.
He said the units should be empowered to constitute and coordinate task forces that would “move from markets to markets, move from shops and malls to malls across the country to checkmate exploitative traders and businessmen. He said a similar Price Control Task Forces had worked in the post-civil war Nigeria and expressed confidence that as “Nigeria slips into a recession, Price Control Units are critical to the practical management of Nigeria’s economy.”
He said majority of Nigerians were already bleeding economically, and that subjecting them to further hardship would send many citizens to early grave.
Dr. Agbo who is the House Committee Chairman on Narcotic Drugs also hinted that he had already taken up the matter with the leadership of the National Assembly. He expressed confidence that Nigeria will emerge stronger from COVID-19.
The lawmaker also called on his constituents to cooperate with the Benue State Government, health practitioners, and observe all the safety precautions in the fight against coronavirus.
JAMB donate ventilators to UATH, Bwari hospital
Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has donated two ventilators to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, Abuja, and one to Bwari General Hospital, being the principal hospital in the board’s host community, Bwari.
JAMB spokesman, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said the donation was to support government’s effort to respond to the upsurge in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Abuja.
“This proactive step was borne out of the board’s desire to plan in line with the Federal Government’s determination to ensure that no Nigerian succumbed to the virus. The donation of these ventilators which cost several millions of naira was to get the hospitals ready to give necessary treatment to COVID-19 patients whether in Bwari or any other part of Abuja. These are, indeed difficult times for Nigerians as we collectively battle to contain the spread of COVID-19. It is in the light of this that JAMB appeal to prospective tertiary institutions’ intakes, students, parents and, indeed, the entire country to support government by abiding to instructions aimed at fighting the spread of the pandemic,” Benjamin said.
NITDA emphasises need for data backup
As part of activities to mark the World Backup Day, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called on Nigerians to always back up their data and to protect their computing assets, even during the period of coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, NITDA explained that regular backup was one way to minimise the damage that can be caused by malware that usually encrypts data.
“Making a regular backup is one way to minimise the damage that can be caused by malware that encrypts your data. Having a clean data backup means you can restore most of your data from a non-infected backup whenever the need arises.
“The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for people to work from home means that more data will be generated and may not necessarily be backed-up appropriately. Therefore, as we strive towards the realisation of Digital Nigeria in these challenging times, the importance of creating a culture of regular data backup among Nigerians cannot be over emphasised.”