Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigeria has recorded a second fatality due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure at the first joint press conference by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He said fatality case recorded over weekend was that of a patient who has severe underline illnesses.
According to Ehanire, “As of today the 30th of March 2020, we have recorded 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria of which 68 are in Lagos, 21 FCT, seven in Oyo, three in Ogun, two in Bauchi, two in Edo, two in Osun, two in Enugu and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers States.
“Majority of them are persons who came from overseas and others have been traced as close contacts of such returnees.
“The high number of cases in Lagos and Abuja is due to their function as country gateways for air travel.
“Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment but sadly another fatality was recorded over weekend in the person of a patient who has severe underline illnesses.
“We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat in other to reduce the spread of the infection.”
The health minister said more testing sites were on their way. possible.
He said: “With new additions to the case definition, persons with fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath in an area of medium or high prevalence of COVID-19, can test for the disease.
“To meet the demand that will arise as a result of this expansion of the case definition, the NCDC has added a new laboratory to its network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19. This is the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Oyo State. We project that in three weeks, seven more labs in Abakiliki, Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Sokoto will be added to this network to further expand testing capacity nationwide.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has named Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as the head of economic sustainability committee.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who chairs the committee said the terms of reference as well as members of the committee will be announced soon.
He said: “We do not desire to slow down the economy in anyway.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has the lockdown of by Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Osun, that has left travelers in agony as illegal.
Mustapha said President Buhari’s broadcast on Sunday was very definitive and categorical, that only Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory are on lockdown.
According to the SGF: “As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.
“I referred you to paragraph 29 of the President’s broadcast. We are mindful of the fact that there are those inconsistencies in policies. Such states began to implement their lockdown before the President’s broadcast. The President’s broadcast was very definitive and categorical, we are only locking down Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital. Those are the only three designated areas for the lockdown now.
“I will make some calls to some security agencies in those borders. I expected that after Mr. President’s broadcast what should ordinarily happen is that, if you had stopped people from getting to their destinations that broadcast should have enabled you release those people to get to their destinations.
“You can put proactive measures like a toll gate to ensure that you test them and allow them get to their destinations. That was what we did at the airport before we finally locked down the airport.
This lockdown like the president said paragraph 29 of the national broadcast will be systematic, consistent and will be based on best practices.”
The SGF said all the donations from international organizations, corporate Nigeria and individuals were still promissory notes.
He assured that donations will be used to purchase more testing materials and that the committee will give more details on how people can make more donations.
Mustapha said: “Well, there has been announcements from different quarters. I will start from our donor partners, nothing has come in yet. But we have received commitment from the EU, United Nations Group, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, and the Corporate Nigeria, we have received pledges from different organizations and individuals.
“The coalition of the private sector ably led by the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, about two days go announced a commitment to deploy resources to the tune of about N120 billion in aid, to ensure that collectively as a people with the cooperation and support of government that we deal with this pandemic.
“I believe they are going to own up to their words, we have been talking with them even this afternoon I spoke with Alhaji Aliko Dangote and I have been speaking with the governor of central bank. They have asked for a list of things that we need to build capacity and ensure that we have sufficient consumables, testing materials, ventilators and the rest. And this list has been sent to them.
“They have constituted four committees one is the steering committee which they have graciously asked me to chair, funding committee, technical committee and operational committee. So they are very organized. They intend to raise their resources, they intend to commit it to the fight of coronavirus.
“I believe the generosity of Nigerians will come into play here, we are totally a generous people and I believe not only this group, so many other Nigerians will join this fight.
“By tomorrow we will give details as to the platforms in which these donations will be paid into. We have received authorization and we have directed the accountant general of the federation to open an account in the central bank.”