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COVID-19

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

NGF: States to reintroduce COVID protocol, fast-track vaccine procurement to prevent third wave

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says states will reintroduce measures for curbing the spread of the coronavirus to prevent a third wave of infections.

 

This was part of the resolutions reached by the governors after a meeting on Wednesday.

 

The decision was taken following a presentation by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, on the concerns about a third wave of infections in the state.

 

On July 11, Sanwo-Olu had warned Lagos residents of a possible outbreak, following a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, which he said may lead to a third wave of infections.

 

In a statement issued after the meeting on Wednesday, Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the forum, said the governors also agreed to liaise with the federal government on ways to speed up the procurement of additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

“The Forum received an update from the Governor of Lagos State, H.E Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on the recent rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and call for consensual action to prevent a third wave in the country,” Fayemi said.

 

“Following the update, the Forum called on all State Governors to revive their COVID protocols and collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take appropriate and immediate actions to flatten the transmission curve.

 

“The Forum will interface with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 to accelerate processes required to fast track the delivery of additional vaccines for the country.”

 

During the first wave of infections, guidelines such as restriction of movement, compulsory use of face masks, and strict adherence to physical distancing were in force, but with the drop in infection numbers, such measures have been relaxed across the country.

 

However, with concerns raised over a possible increase in infections, following the confirmation of the “highly infectious” Delta variant in Abuja and Oyo, it isn’t yet clear what exact measures the governors will reintroduce.

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Delta COVID variant, linked to high infection rate, detected in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed the index case of the delta variant of the coronavirus in Nigeria.

The NCDC disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to the NCDC, the variant was detected during routine tests for in-bound travellers in Abuja.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has detected a confirmed case with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2. The variant was detected in a traveler to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja,” the statement reads.

“The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility. The variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries.

“The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.”

The development comes days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed concern over the “speedy” spread in infection rates in Africa as countries battle a third wave of COVID-19.

In a statement issued on July 1, the WHO had raised concern over variants of concern, especially the delta variant, adding that infection rates are doubling every week, and the virus is spreading faster than previous records.

However, according to the NCDC, the federal government is stepping up efforts through collaboration with the “Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), and other laboratories within the national network, to carry out genomic sequencing”, in order “to enable the detection of variants of concern, and initiate response activities”.

“Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, NCDC urges all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place. Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease,” the agency said.

“Additionally, states are urged to ensure sample collection and testing for COVID-19 is accessible to the public. Public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces and camps should utilise the approved Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for rapid testing of their population.

“The recommended control measures to limit the spread of the Delta variant continue to be testing, following the existing public health guidance and abiding by the current travel and public restrictions.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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