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COVID-19: FG approves N6.45bn to establish oxygen plants

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A total of N6.45 billion has been approved for the establishment of gas plants in 38 locations across the country to enhance the treatment of COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, stated this at a National Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

She said President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in COVID infections in the country.

The development is coming two days after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced that the demand for oxygen at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba area of the state had risen from 70 to 350 cylinders per day.

The governor had said the upsurge of COVID-19 cases necessitated an increase in the amount of oxygen for moderate to severe cases of admission in all the isolation centres in Lagos.

He said to address the high demand for oxygen in Lagos, which is the epicenter of COVID in Nigeria, the government decentralised the availability of oxygen across the state through the provision of 10 oxygen and sampling kiosks.

“This strategy is to further increase the fighting chance of Lagos residents that have contracted the virus and require immediate oxygen therapy,” he had said.

Nigeria is currently experiencing the second wave of the pandemic.

Nigeria has a total of 114,691 COVID-19 infections out of which 92,336 have recovered and 1,478 have died.

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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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COVID-19: FG imposes fresh curfew, ban nightclubs, restrict mass gatherings

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The Federal Government has reintroduced restriction on mass gatherings including worship centres, ban nightclubs and a rollback of many of the lockdown measures imposed during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The reintroduction of all the safety measures announced on Monday by the FG came following a spike in the new strains of COVID-19 cases being recorded in countries such as India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.
The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 at its briefing on Monday announced the measures, adding that the immediate nationwide curfew would be observed from midnight to 4am daily.
The committee’s National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, said event centres and non-essential public places such as nightclubs would remain closed till further notice.
Religious gatherings are to be limited to less than 50 per cent capacity to ensure physical distancing while social events such as weddings and parties are to be attended by not more than 50 persons.
The committee directed security personnel to enforce the measures while state governments to set up a mobile tribunal for the prosecution of violators.
Mohammed said, “The national response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on a long-term epidemic control. Effective from 00:01 hours on Tuesday 11th of May 2022, this phase four of restriction of movement shall come into effect.
“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in an enclosed space. Approved gatherings must be held to the physical distancing measures, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions in place.
“We will continue to maintain restriction on reduction of work of government staff workers from GL-12 and below. We’ll also limited government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible. While we maintaining restrictions on physical meetings, including official trips, oversight visits and board meetings.
“All recreational venues, gyms and indoor sports facilities are to close until 11 of June when the situation will be reviewed. Mass political gatherings, gatherings in the open, a large number of people are strictly to o adhere this COVID-19 protocol as issued by INEC.
“Event centres, nightclubs shall remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in at 50 per cent capacity and provide takeaways where available.”
The incident manager also said there would no be restriction of movement within the country, adding, “Only essential travellers are encouraged, and both international and domestic travellers must abide by all existing protocols.”
The new measures come amid concerns over the surge in infections and resultant deaths particularly in Brazil, India and Turkey.
The FG had earlier announced that foreigners who recently visited the three countries would no longer be allowed to enter Nigeria.
It also reduced the validity period of the pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96 to 72 hours.
In India, which has been the worst hit in recent weeks, 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths were reported on Monday, taking the country’s tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths with hospitals being overwhelmed.
Nigeria has so far recorded 165,419 cases of the virus out of which 2,065 have died while 156,300 have been discharged.
In terms of vaccination against the disease, only 1.7 million shots had been administered as of Monday.

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