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NCDC: COVID-19 spreading fast in Nigeria with mild symptoms

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The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, says the coronavirus pandemic is spreading fast among Nigerians with mild symptoms in some victims and severe illnesses and death in others.

Ihekweazu disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Many victims had continued to experience fatigue and other symptoms even after recovery, he added.

The NCDC said in the last four weeks, the country had recorded a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

Ihekweazu said, “We have now reported over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria and this is a stark reminder of the reality we live in now.

“A virus that has affected over 100,000 lives and led to over 1,300 deaths within 11 months in Nigeria, with millions more globally.

“We cannot be too careful. The silent face of COVID-19 with which you cannot tell whether someone has the virus or not, the only option before us is to take protective measures at all times.”

Ihekweazu said healthcare workers needed to maintain a higher index of suspicion for COVID-19, adding, “We are rolling out the use of rapid diagnostic test kits in five institutions in Abuja.

“This will increase access to testing and we then intend to roll out across the country in February. This will make testing a lot more available to hospitals.”

The NCDC boss pointed out that there was no state that was spared of COVID-19, noting, “We would have been surprised if there were, as our data suggest that we were right in saying that there is COVID-19 circulating in every state of Nigeria and we all have to continue the hard work we have been doing.”

The NCDC boss said the country had reached “a critical level“ where the hospital capacity would no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases and health workers would be forced to make tough decisions.

Ihekweazu said, “We need to protect our more vulnerable citizens, while we all have to take responsibility because this has gone beyond the NCDC, PTF or government, as all hands must be on deck.”

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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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COVID-19

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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