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Anxiety as PTF raises fear about second lockdown



  • 77 COVID-19 patients died within one week – Minister

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has alerted that the continued neglect of COVID-19 safety protocols by many Nigerians is likely to warrant the imposition of a second lockdown following rising cases of the virus new strain.

Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, gave the warning at a media briefing in Abuja on Monday, adding that the country was in a “difficult situation”.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, also said at the briefing that about 77 COVID-19 patients died in the last one week in Nigeria.

Mustapha said everyone must be alert, take responsibilities and balance life and livelihood to avoid a second lockdown.

“​Let me remind you that the pandemic is raging and all tiers of government and citizens must keep their hands on the deck,” he said

“We are in a difficult situation in which a balance must continue to be struck between lives and livelihood.

“We are considering all options while hoping that broad cooperation will be received. We must do everything possible to avoid a second lockdown in Nigeria.”

Mustapha also asked states to strictly adhere to “non-pharmaceutical interventions” to avoid escalation of COVID-19 cases as schools resumed across the country.

“​While we note that several states have proceeded with the resumption of schools, the PTF recommends strongly that very strict adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions should be enforced by the states to avoid the escalation of cases. The PTF will continue to dialogue with the governors and the Federal Ministry of Education to closely monitor the situation,” he said.

He also spoke on the issue of vaccines, saying, “The positive news about vaccines remains high in the ranking of discussions nationwide. Nigerians are assured that the PTF will ensure that the vaccines to be approved will be safe and effective. We must however work together as foot soldiers in the vaccine advocacy so that we can eliminate the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive for COVID-19.

He also said on Monday during the briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 that about 77 patients died within that period.

He said the number of cases recorded in January alone is 20 per cent of the total number of cases in the country.

“The number of new COVID-19 cases has continued to rise in Nigeria, such that we confirmed 10,300 confirmed cases from just 50,750 samples tested in one week, translating to 20% positivity rate. It means 1 out of every 5 persons tested in the last one week turned out positive compared to the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 per cent,” Ehanire said.

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



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: PTF transforms into presidential steering committee, completes task December



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



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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