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Osinbajo: FG has activated 120 laboratories for COVID-19 tests

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says 120 laboratories across the country have been activated for COVID-19 testing, resulting in significant ramping up of Nigeria’s testing and case management capacity.

He however said the country currently had a critical situation on its hands with the rising number of cases recorded daily.

Nigeria on Friday recorded 1,483 new cases of COVID-19, taking the number of confirmed cases to 118,138 nationwide, with 94,150 discharged and 1490 deaths.

Osinbajo spoke on Friday at the Reference Laboratory of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in Gaduwa, Abuja, after a facility tour, accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.

Osinbajo said due to the diligent work of Nigeria’s health workers and experts across the nation, the country had expanded its public health response capabilities and now making progress in the public health sector after the nation’s first COVID-19 case last year.

He said, “We have expanded the footprint of our sovereign public health response capabilities especially at the subnational level and in areas where previously such capabilities did not exist. Not so long ago, test samples had to be flown out of the country for examination. This is no longer the case as we now have the capacity to process samples internally.”

The vice president observed that such an achievement should not be taken for granted, and “it is one that we are determined to consolidate on.”

He however said a lot of progress had been made since Nigeria’s first case was reported in February 2020.

He said, “This very facility is a testament to the strides that we have made during a short period. While we are not yet where we want to be as a nation, we are most certainly not where we were at the onset of the pandemic.”

The Vice President then applauded Nigeria’s public and private healthcare specialists and workers in the line of duty for ensuring the safety, cure and prevention of majority of Nigerians from the COVID-19 virus, sometimes under extremely challenging circumstances.

Osinbajo said, “Thousands of health professionals have been working tirelessly on Nigeria’s COVID-19 public health response. From the people across sample collection sites and laboratories ensuring testing, and our dedicated physicians, nurses and other health workers in treatment centres providing care to the sick, to our medical scientists that are conducting research on various aspects of this plague. We also have State Public Health Teams working hard to ensure data reporting and analysis, contact tracing, risk communications and so much more.

“Within this period, you have all worked extremely hard to activate testing in all states of our country, you have increased our knowledge of this disease, grown our capacity to swiftly identify those infected by the plague and render aid to them.

“I know that the work you do can often seem thankless and the long hours you put in unnoticed and unappreciated. Often, it happens in the background and in the shadows, away from public attention and it will not often grab the headlines. But it only seems this way. In truth, this is the sort of work that builds nations and saves lives.

“When the record of our response to this unprecedented threat to our public health is written, the efforts of our healthcare professionals will occupy a significant place with the thanks of a grateful nation.”

 

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: 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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