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FG to review school resumption date, says Education minister

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Indication has emerged that schools may not resumed across the country on January 18 as earlier announced as the Federal Government has said it will review the resumption date for the 2020/2021 second term.

Government said this on Monday through the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Adamu, who spoke after the Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had painted a gloomy picture of the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria, said, “On the January 18 resumption date, we are reviewing it.

“At the PTF meeting today, we considered it. And tomorrow, the ministry is going to take it up.”

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said reports coming in from all over the world showed that the COVID-19 pandemic was still wreaking havoc on humanity, economies and systems.

He said as of January 10, the showed that 833,496 cases were recorded two days earlier (January 08). This represented the highest ever since the pandemic stated.

He added, “The three days preceding the 8th, each recorded over 700,000 cases; global cases have now reached 90,676,320 mark; global fatality count is fast approaching the 2 million mark; the global CFR has declined from 2.2 to 2.1%.”

“The CFR for Africa has also declined from 2.3 to 2.2%; and the WHO African region crossed two million case mark on Wednesday, 6th January, 2020.”

Mustapha also said, “​In Nigeria, we have crossed the 100,000 cases mark and now rank second in the number of new cases, the 4th in cumulative cases in Africa and 5th in cumulative deaths.

“Last week, Nigeria recorded over 9,000 cases. Realistically, if we estimate the numbers missed, we would be in a much higher region. There is no state in Nigeria that is immune to this pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states.”

He said, “It is however very instructive to stress that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

“The full import of the foregoing is to press further on the need for us all to elevate the level of our vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“The current wave of infections is swift and virulent and we do not know how long it will last. Besides, the facilities available for the treatment of critical cases remain very limited and we do not wish to be overwhelmed. Your best bet therefore is to avoid infections completely.

“The PTF has continued to receive inquiries about the issue of testing before travelling out of Nigeria. For the avoidance of doubts, the protocol in Nigeria requires in-bound passengers to test, not more than 96 hours, before boarding flights to Nigeria. However, for passengers leaving Nigeria, it remains the responsibility of travellers to confirm the requirements of the country of destination and that of the carrier of choice. The National Coordinator will clarify the extant protocol and the policy position.

“For in-bound travellers, a new protocol on pre-boarding has been released and compliance is still strongly recommended. The additional requirements for passengers coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa also remain in force. The NC will also speak on this during the briefing.

“Next week, the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) will be rolled out in 5 tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The DG NCDC will expand on this.

“The isolation of different strains of the virus is being vigorously pursued. In this regard, the PTF is working with the Africa CDC and the NCDC on the sequencing of the COVID strains circulating in Nigeria. We shall keep Nigerians informed as the exercise progresses.

“As part of measures to deepen community engagement and enforcement of protocols, the PTF met with the Nigerian Governors Forum last week and will be meeting with key religious and traditional leaders soon. It will similarly meet with security agencies.

“The third stream of NYSC members will resume on 18th January and the PTF is working closely with the management to ensure that participants are tested and protocols are complied with.

“Finally, the PTF has advanced the preparation for the management of all aspects of the vaccines discuss. Particularly, lessons are being drawn from other jurisdictions on the successes and challenges of the vaccine administration.”

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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