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COVID-19

Lagos moves against COVID-19 second wave, orders workers below GL14 to work from home

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  • Warns against street parties, night clubbing, large gathering

The Lagos State government has directed all civil servants in the state on Grade Level 14 and below to begin to work from home as from Monday, December 21.

The directive given on Friday by the state government would last for the next 14 days as the nation slips into the second wave of COVID-19.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this in a statement, also said concerts, carnivals and street parties remained banned in the state until further notice.

He also said night clubs had not been allowed to open yet, adding that all night clubs in Lagos must immediately shut down until further notice.

He reminded the people that the midnight to 4am curfew imposed by the Federal Government still remained in place.

He was quoted as saying, “We cannot afford to relax the battle against COVID-19.

“Regarding my health, I am glad to inform you that I am getting better by the day, and all will surely be well. I thank Lagosians for their prayers and overwhelming kind thoughts. I am, indeed, very grateful.

“I have just risen from a virtual executive council meeting on issues around the resurgence of COVID-19 and how we should tackle this serious matter.

“The Lagos State Government has sadly noticed that there is an unfortunate public perception that we have seen the end of the COVID-19 pandemic; that the worst is over. This is absolutely wrong and dangerous.

“We are getting credible reports that the entertainment industry is planning large gatherings, concerts, street parties and carnivals, in the spirit of the Yuletide. Night clubs have also reopened in reckless disregard of the existing guidelines, and events centres are operating with huge gatherings without any regard for public health and safety guidelines.

“This same disregard for coronavirus guidelines is also being observed with places of worship across the state, in both their regular gatherings and the special gatherings organised to commemorate this season.

“Dear Lagosians, this overwhelming non-compliance with guidelines meant to keep us all safe is very disheartening, especially when we consider that the message at the heart of Christmas is one of sacrifice and sacrificial conduct; embodied by the Holy Bible in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’

“Christmas is a commemoration of this supreme act of sacrifice by God. The least we can do in this season is to emulate that spirit of sacrifice, by abiding with difficult but necessary protective guidelines, for the greater good of all of us. This is certainly not the time to lower our guard against the coronavirus; it is instead time to step up our battle against this stubborn virus that has gripped the world for several months now.”

He also said, “Lagos State is recording an increase in COVID-19 cases in all local governments. This is not peculiar to Lagos alone; the entire country is also seeing an uptick in the numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. Of every 100 tests that we now perform, an average of 10 turn out to be positive. This is an increase from the five per hundred recorded in September, but lower than our peak in August which was between 20 and 30 per hundred. This suggests the existence of active community transmission, and represents the very likely possibility of the emergence of a second wave in Lagos State.

“This second wave calls for a full re-awakening of caution and precaution. The complacency that crept in over the last few months as a result of our early interventions when cases started to decline from our peak in August, must now give way to an abundance of vigilance.

“We are ramping up testing, we have now recently surpassed the 3,000 tests per day mark, and we will keep raising this number. So far, we have performed 197,000 tests in Lagos State of which 26,000 have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Sadly, we have lost 226 persons (May their souls rest in peace). It is important to note that Lagos already tests far more than any other state, accounting for 25 per cent of the total numbers tested nationwide.

“It should be reiterated that testing in the designated public facilities remains free. the Lagos State Government does not charge for COVID-19 tests in its testing centres. The only test centres where there is a charge are the private ones, and these are for intending travellers and also those who seek to know their status for some reason or the other.”

The governor advised anyone testing positive for the virus not to seek treatment for the disease in private hospitals not accredited for such treatment.

“Let me also sound a note of warning to all private testing facilities that are complicit in the allegations of colluding with individuals to issue fake COVID-19 test results. We have zero-tolerance for this kind of criminal conduct, and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found culpable, in addition to shutting down the offending laboratories,” he said.

He also noted that the state and indeed Nigeria could not afford another lockdown in the midst of economic recession, stressing, “we must find a way to delicately balance the imperatives of life and livelihood.

“With this in mind, the only solution available to us is to take responsibility for all our actions, and to understand that we must stay safe not only for ourselves but for the sake of the entire society.”

COVID-19

US to halt J&J COVID vaccine after blood clotting cases

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The United States federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The development comes after six recipients of the vaccine — all women– developed a “severe type of blood clot”.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they would stop using the vaccine at federal sites and asked states to do so as well while they investigate safety issues.

The agencies, in a joint statement, said they were “reviewing data involving six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare”.

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered,” they said.

“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause. This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

It is the third COVID-19 vaccine that has received FDA’s authorisation, and also the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine available in the US.

About seven million people in the US have received the vaccine.

Similar reports of blood clot development in recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine made several European countries to suspend use of the product in March.

They have, however, resumed using the vaccine after European Union and British regulators said there was no link between the vaccine and the reported side effects.

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COVID-19

COVID-19: PTF transforms into presidential steering committee, completes task December

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COVID-19: PTF transforms into presidential steering committee, complete task December

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transition of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to the presidential steering committee.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said President Muhamadu Buhari, stated this at a media briefing on Tuesday, adding that the mandate of the PSC would end on December 31.
According to him, the PSC will focus on ensuring effectiveness in the roll-out of the vaccine, and promote policies that will result in the development of the country’s health sector.
“Mr president has considered the report and has approved the following: That the PTF will transition to a presidential steering committee on COVID-19, effective from 1st April, 2021, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic,” he said.
“That the structure of the PSC shall reflect the new focus of the response with a targeted approach on vaccine oversight, risk communication, international travel quarantine processes and sub-national engagement; that the tenure of the presidential steering committee shall last till 31st December, 2021.
“The presidential steering committee would maintain the present constitution, functions and strategies of the PTF; be supported by a slim technical and administrative structure.”

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Lagos shuts 430 event centres, night clubs

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The Lagos State Safety Commission says it has shut 430 event centres and night clubs for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Director General at the commission, Lanre Mojola, said at a news conference in Alausa, Ikeja that the commission was saddled with developing safety guidelines for the state’s reopening of economic activities in post COVID-19 lockdown.
“The commission was involved in the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and this led to the shutting of 30 event centres and 400 clubs across the state,” he added.
On construction safety, the DG said the commission carried out risk assessment and unscheduled safety inspection of construction sites to ensure safety compliance, as well as adherence to COVID-19 protocols, to prevent accidents, incidents, illnesses and loss of lives.
He said the commission issued provisional safety compliance certificates for 90 days and safety compliance certificates thereafter if compliance status was maintained.
Mojola said the enforcement was carried out in 609 construction sites for repeated failure to comply with safety regulations.
He said the annual World Safety Day would hold across the world on April 28 to create awareness, sensitise and educate people on the importance of keeping the workplace safe and free from occupational hazards, accidents, incidents and preventable illnesses.

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