Romanus Okoye, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Fred Ezeh, Abuja, Joe Effiong, Uyo, Paul Orude Bauchi,, Aidoghie Paulinus, George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 14 new cases of coronavirus taking the total to 65.
NCDC in a tweet confirmed that two cases were confirmed in FCT and 12 in Lagos. It noted that out of the 14 fres cases, six were detected on a vessel, three were returning travellers into Nigeria while one was close contact of a confirmed case.
As at 7:35 pm 26th March, there are 65 confirmed cases, 3 discharged and one death.
This is as Bauchi government confirmed that two persons who made contacts with Governor Bala Mohammed tested positive to coronavirus.
This came as the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, confirmed that an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, had tested positive top COVID-19.
Though Ehanire declined to disclose the identity of the aide,there were strong indications that it was none other than the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari.
Bauchi Commissioner for Health, Dr Aliyu Maigoro, at a press conference, yesterday, said 48 samples of persons who made contact with the governor were taken for test and two were confirmed positive; a 62-year-old male and a close friend of the governor. He said 37 others tested negative, while the results of nine samples were still being expected.
The commissioner noted that the State Ministry of Health had since begun the contact tracing on the second case. Governor Mohammed had tested positive to the disease following his contact with a son of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who had been infected by the virus.
Governor Mohammed had since gone into self-isolation and treatment to prevent the spread of the virus.
•Buhari promises not to restrict access to food, medication
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised not to restrict access to food and medications but urged Nigerians to adhere to instructions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari commended the unity of purpose in fighting spread of COVID-19 in the country, particularly the willingness for self-isolation, social distancing, and contributions of public spirited individuals and institutions who consistently mobilize resources to supplement efforts of Federal and State governments.
The President also extolled State Governments, religious bodies, health workers, Federal Government agencies, including security outfits, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria for rising to the occasion to protect the country and its citizens, assuring that the government will remain steadfast in deploying more resources to lessen the burden of the pandemic.
Shehu said Buhari while calling for more compliance with regulations and restrictions on movement and gatherings for the safety of all citizens, reassures that government directives will not affect production and distribution of food, medications, medical equipment and other essentials as the nation wades through the global health challenge, which already portends dire economic strains.
He directed all relevant agencies and regulators to provide enabling environment for industries to sustain their operations by ensuring reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs like water, fuel, gas and essential infrastructure and relaxing of stringent laws, commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks for the interventions to make forex and credit more accessible to those on the manufacturing line.
In giving assurances of firm support for the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria by proactively addressing the potential impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy, the President requests that all necessary measures be put in place to protect and promote the health and safety of industrial workers.
President Buhari called on all leaders across the country, including religious and traditional leaders, to further support the Federal and State governments in the ongoing sensitization programmes on the need to stay at home and keep a safe distance in the public, and to dissuade citizens from panic buying and rumour mongering.
Buhari affirmed that the collective effort of all Nigerians will make a historic difference in checking the spread of COVID-19, rehabilitating those already affected and keeping citizens alive and.
•Confirmed case in Osun in stable condition
The confirmed case of coronavirus in Osun State is in stable condition and responding positively to treatment.
Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Benedict Alabi, disclosed this, yesterday, after the meeting of the State Government Technical Committee on COVID-19 at the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo.
Alabi said the government had equipped and strengthened the capacity of the Isolation Centre at the State Specialist Hospital, to handle suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
He assured that medical personnel in the hospital had been handling and managing the case professionally and that no severe symptoms had been traced to the patient.
He commended the patient for easing the job of the medical personnel as personally surrendered himself for treatment even before his health status was confirmed.
Alabi said the action of the patient had assisted the state to implement its guiding principles against the deadly disease.
The deputy governor said the government had gathered useful information that would assist in contact tracing of persons that might have come in contact with the confirmed case.
He said the state government had stepped up its guiding principles and control measures to curb the spread of the disease, adding that healthcare workers had been put on their toes for optimum performance.
•We ‘re at war, says WHO DG
Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has described coronavirus as an enemy that could tear the world apart if not properly handled.
A statement from WHO indicated that raised the alarm on Thursday, in Saudi Arabia, at the extraordinary meeting of G20 Leaders’ Summit that focused on COVID-19.
“You have come together to confront the defining health crisis of our time. We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart if we let it.”
He welcomed the G20‘s initiative to find joint solutions and work together: “This is a global crisis that requires a global response. We must fight, unite, ignite the fire that will help us defeat the virus as soon as possible.”
Dr. Tedros urged leaders to fight without excuses, without regrets, thanking countries who have already taken steps and urgently asking that they do more.
Second, he encouraged them to unite, stressing that no country can fight this alone, and calling on all countries to build on the solidarity already sparked by the crisis.
He exhorted them to ignite a global movement to ensure this never happens again.
•We’re exploring ways of sending staff, dependents home –UK
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said the High Commission was considering the option of sending staff and dependents home.
Laing in a statement said the British Government was also exploring flight options to convey any of its nationals in Nigeria who wishes to return to the United Kingdom.
“Given the rapidly changing situation in the region, the recent airport closures, and recognising that it has become more difficult to get people out in case of need, we have taken the decision to reduce the number of UK staff and dependents from our High Commission. Our missions in both Abuja and Lagos will remain open, continuing to carry out essential work, including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British nationals in Nigeria. We are exploring a range of options for sending staff and dependents home, as there are no commercial options available. We are also exploring flight options for any British nationals who remain in Nigeria and wish to return to the United Kingdom,” Laing said.
•China donates medical supplies, ICT equipments to FG
The Government of the People’s Republic of China, yesterday, donated infection prevention and control materials and information communication technology (ICT) equipments to the Federal Government as part of its contribution to the fight against coronavirus.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, made the presentation to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire in Abuja assuring that China was in support of Nigeria’s fight against the virus.
Zhou said despite the daunting task of controlling the epidemic in China, the country was still committed to providing medical supplies to Nigeria and to do whatever it could to support the country fight the scourge.
He said China would continue to share information and experience with Nigeria and strengthen cooperation on containment, treatment and vaccines against the virus with a view to building together a community of shared health for mankind.
“We will never forget the sympathy and support extended by Nigeria when the Chinese people were in the most challenging stage of battling the epidemic,” Zhou said.
The envoy said the solidarity message from President Muhammadu Buhari spoke volumes when he said “China’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been exemplary, as well as the country’s collaboration with international agencies and other countries on the matter.”
Zhou said China was deeply touched by the compassion shown to its people from Nigeria and the international community when the virus broke out in the country.
In his remarks, Ehanire called for the assistance of China in the area of public health experts.
•Akwa Ibom monarch decries poor awareness
Paramount Ruler of Obot Akara Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Okuku Uwa Umo Adiaka has lambasted lawmakers and other political office holders in the state for not providing enough sensitisation and awareness for the people on how to stay safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on lives around the world.
Adiaka spoke when he received Mr. Mendy Archibong, managing director of Goodtime Paint and Allied Company Limited, who went to inform him of his donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitisers and Dettol to schools and communities in the state.
The monarch challenged lawmakers in the state to apply the same passion adopted to garner support during electioneering to the sensitisation of the people in the state.
While urging his subjects to adhere to experts’ advice on the corona virus prevention, the royal father expressed disappointment that the 92-year-old infectious diseases hospital in Ikot Ekpene, had not been properly equipped.
“Go there and check, we have nothing to combat the pandemic if it gets to us,” he said.