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Concerns mount as Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases exceed 100,000

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  • FG to spend $576m on vaccines, immunise 70% of people at risk

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country has risen to 100,087.

It also said 1,358 people had died while 80,030 patients out of the total 100,087 cases had been discharged as of Sunday, January 10, 2021.

The data showed 18,699 active cases are in Nigeria, with Lagos and FCT having 6,858 and 5,563 respectively.

Statistics from the NCDC’s website also indicated that the country recorded 1,024 new cases in 16 states and the FCT on January 10, 2020.

The NCDC said, “On the 10th of January 2021, 1,024 new confirmed cases and eight deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“Till date, 100,087 cases have been confirmed, 80,030 cases have been discharged and 1,358 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 1024 new cases are reported from 17 states- Lagos (653), Plateau (63), Benue (48), Zamfara (45), FCT (42), Rivers (27), Ondo (26), Adamawa (26), Kaduna (22), Edo (18), Ogun (16), Imo (12), Kano (9), Yobe (6), Ekiti (5), Jigawa (4) and Osun (2).

“A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre, activated at Level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria may spend $576 million to procure COVID-19 vaccines with the government planning to immunise 70 per cent of people at risk of the virus.

The Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, gave the hint.

He also said free vaccine to immunise 20 per cent of those to be vaccinated would be made available to the country and 91 other countries by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI).

The first batch of 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses from the COVAX facility will arrive in the country at the end of this month or early next month.

It will be used in two jabs each on 50,000 Nigerians.

To meet up with vaccination of 50 per cent of Nigerians, the government will need to pay $8 for two doses each.

According to the United Nations data and the National Population Commission (NPC), Nigeria’s population is 206 million.

Nigeria’s target is to vaccinate 70 per cent (144.2 million) of its 206 million people.

At the rate of $8 for two doses per person, it will spend at least $576m to vaccinate 50 per cent (72.1 million) of the 144.2 million people.

Should the country choose to vaccinate a half of its total population, which is about 103,000,000, it will spend about $824 milion.

Shuaib said, “The country is expecting only one vaccine (i.e. Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine) in the first batch coming in by end of January/early February.

“The country is not buying any COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or China. The country plans to get COVID-19 vaccines from two sources: the GAVI and direct purchase from alternative sources (other manufacturers).

“From the COVAX facility source, GAVI will be supporting 92 eligible countries with vaccines to immunise about 20 per cent of their population free in 2021.

“The government of the participating countries will pay for additional doses above the 20 per cent to be supplied by GAVI. Pfizer is one of the companies that GAVI will get limited quantity of the COVID-19 vaccines from to give to the 92 eligible countries (including Nigeria).”

He added, “Since only about 20 per cent supplies are being expected from GAVI; the country’s team is working with Russian authorities on the possibility of getting additional COVID 19 vaccines from them.

“In 2021, about $4.0/dose ($8.0/person for two doses) is being budgeted for the additional vaccine that the country will require.

“The Federal Government will be responsible for the procurement of additional COVID-19 vaccines for 50 per cent of the population and all the operational costs for the targeted 70 per cent of the population.”

The NPHCDA boss said COVID-19 vaccination would not be compulsory, but made available to all those targeted.

“And we advise/appeal to all Nigerians at risk to avail themselves of the vaccination willingly when the vaccines are available. Vaccines to be used in the country are safe with proven efficacy of above 90 per cent.

“All vaccines acquired by the government for vaccination of its citizen will pass through NAFDAC for analysis before use.”

Shuaib said the Federal Government had raised a Technical Working Group (TWG) to plan a successful COVID-19 immunisation.

Shuaib chairs the TWG whose members are stakeholders involved in COVID-19 response. These are: FMoH, NPHCDA, NCDC, NAFDAC, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Information, National Orientation Agency (NOA), NTA, CSOs, Professional bodies and Organised Private Sectors. Other members are development partners and donors.

The WHO and other International NGOs/Foundations will provide technical support to the team.

Speaking on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, Shuaib said, “COVID-19 vaccines that have been pre-qualified will protect against most strains and reduce morbidity and mortality from the disease. It will be better to reduce the risk than not want to take the vaccine.”

He added, “There are over 80 strains of Rotavirus, but only about 18 of the strains are of significance that can cause major diseases. Available Rotavirus vaccines can prevent against infection from the strains that cause the diseases.

“Coronavirus is linked to the SAR-2 Group of viruses; and there have been a lot of researches since the last flu-pandemic that claimed several lives globally.”

COVID-19

FG declares 132 violators of COVID-19 travel advisory wanted

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The Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has declared another 132 travellers wanted for violating a recently issued travel advisory.

The PSC, on May 1, 2021, issued a travel advisory, instructing travellers arriving from India, Brazil and Turkey, or who had visited the countries within 14 days of their trip to Nigeria, to observe certain protocols, including compulsory quarantine and testing in designated facilities on arrival.

However, the committee observed that many travellers had been violating the advisory, leading to earlier announcement of 90 violators as wanted persons on May 9.

A statement on Thursday by the Chairman of the PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, the Committee announced the 132 additional violators of the advisory, who entered through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, advising members of the public to be on the lookout, describing the persons as immediate health hazard.

It stated, “The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on 1st May, 2021 issued a Travel Advisory for Passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey.

“These precautionary measures are a necessary step to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and break the chain of transmission to the population.

“Under the new measures, passengers arriving from/or that have visited any of these three countries within fourteen (14) days prior to the visit to Nigeria, are required to follow mandatory arrival quarantine and testing protocols in designated facilities.

“The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has however observed that while most of the arriving passengers dutifully observed the guidelines, some (Nigerians and Foreigners) have violated them in contravention of the provisions of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Health Regulations Protection, 2021.

“Accordingly, the underlisted persons who arrived in Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and whose names and passport numbers are displayed, have been declared Persons of Interest (POI) on account of posing considerable danger to overall public health and for the violation of Nigeria COVID-19 travel protocol by evading the mandatory seven-day quarantine for persons arriving from restricted countries.

“Members of the public are by this notice advised that these persons of interest constitute an immediate health hazard to the society.

“They must therefore transport themselves safely, to the nearest state public health departments within 48 hours of this notice for immediate evaluation and call the Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health.”

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COVID-19

COVID-19: Bayelsa imposes curfew from 8pm to 6am

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Bayelsa State government has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the state from 8pm to 6am daily.

The Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba, in a statement on Friday, said the curfew was part of the measures to prevent the spread of the surging trait of the new variants of COVID-19.

He said the curfew takes effect from Sunday, May 16, 2021 until further notice.

Duba said: “In view of this development, movements within as well as in and out of the state through the major entry points including Bayelsa/Delta states’ boundary at Adagbabiri, Gloryland Drive at Igbogene and Bayelsa/Rivers states’ boundary at Mbiama are prohibited during the hours of the curfew.

“Relevant security agencies have been mobilised to enforce the curfew. Commuters and members of the general public are advised to take note of this development.”

 

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COVID-19: Indian strain detected in Osun, Edo

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A new COVID-19 strain, currently ravaging India, has been found in Nigeria.
The reported detection of the devastating strain in Osun and Edo states must have jolted the Federal Government and prompted it to take its latest actions announced on Monday, according a report by The PUNCH.
The strain was reportedly detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, about three weeks ago and has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The FG on Monday announced a number of measures to avert the spread of the new strains in Nigeria including restricted gatherings at worship centres and banning nightclubs after the devastating strain had spread to 23 countries including South Africa.
The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative providing open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated April 25, 2021, sent by Prof. Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC, stated, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”
However, The PUNCH learnt that subsequent observations showed that so far, the strain had not shown the same kind of viciousness displayed in India where 400,000 persons were infected daily and 157 died per hour.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, Hapi said the information was sent to the NCDC two weeks ago.
Hapi, however, clarified that strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.
“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.
“The one India evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics.”
Virologist and Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori, told one of our correspondents that he was also aware of the detection of the Indian strain.
Tomori said it was important for the government to announce the detection of the Indian strain.
He further said there was a need to increase testing, adding that many states were no longer conducting test for COVID-19.
“The Indian strain is not as fierce in Nigeria yet but we are not doing enough testing,” Tomori said.

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