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21 die as NCDC detects six COVID-19 strains in Nigeria

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A total of 21 persons were confirmed to have died of COVID-19 complications on Monday.

The Monday figure makes it a total of 100 deaths recorded within the past seven days, increasing the current fatality toll to 1,607.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) have detected additional six B.1.1.7 variants of COVID-19 in the country.

Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Monday.

In January, the PTF said the B117 variant of COVID-19 first reported in the UK had been detected in Nigeria.

Ihekweazu said, “On January 30, our partners at ACEGID detected the B.1.1.7 variant in six additional samples — five from Osun and one from Kwara State. This is the variant of concern that first emerged in the UK.

 “The five in Osun is most likely related to the fact that this is where ACEGID is and where they get a lot of samples from. In total, we have detected the B.1.1.7 variant in seven cases within Nigeria. This could imply community transmission of this variant of concern.”

He also said, “We are currently scaling up on genomic surveillance, working very closely with ACEGID.

“Specifically, we have begun sequencing positive samples among travellers from the UK and South Africa, who test positive on the seventh day of testing.

“We are developing a protocol to sequence more samples from across states at ACEGID and our sister-agency, NIMR. This is in addition to our capacity at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory.”

The NCDC boss urged people to avoid large gatherings; wash hands regularly; wear a face mask properly and ensure physical distancing.

He said, “We are all aware that with the increasing transmission, the virus is adapting to the human population leading to what is known as variants of concern.

“In most countries, it is still not clear if the variants of concern are leading to increased transmission, or if the increase in cases is as a result of poor adherence to public health and social measures.

“An additional layer of response required to really understand the variants of concern is with genetic sequencing and genomic surveillance.

“We have begun this at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory with our partners at ACEGID at Redeemers University, Ede.”

Meanwhile, the NCDC has confirmed 676 new COVID-19 infections in the country.

The new case count, which was included in the agency’s update for February 1, is the country’s lowest single-day tally in the past four weeks.

Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, again recorded the highest number of new infections with 227 confirmed cases. The state also has 49,501 total confirmed cases.

Rivers State recorded the second highest figure with 73 positive samples.

Other states that confirmed new infections are Niger (69), Plateau (56), FCT (50), Kano (44), Oyo (43), Ogun (27), Gombe (18), Ondo (15), Enugu (10), Osun (10), Cross River (8), Edo (8), Nasarawa (7), Bauchi (4), Kaduna (3), Ekiti (2), and Zamfara (2).

According to the agency, 1,286 new recoveries were reported across the country in the last 24 hours, which included 776 discharged patients in Lagos state, and 96 in Plateau.

A total of 131,918 COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed, of which 106,275 persons have been discharged, while 24,036 are currently active cases.

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COVID-19

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

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

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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