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COVID-19

Lagos moves against COVID-19 second wave, orders workers below GL14 to work from home

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  • Warns against street parties, night clubbing, large gathering

The Lagos State government has directed all civil servants in the state on Grade Level 14 and below to begin to work from home as from Monday, December 21.

The directive given on Friday by the state government would last for the next 14 days as the nation slips into the second wave of COVID-19.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this in a statement, also said concerts, carnivals and street parties remained banned in the state until further notice.

He also said night clubs had not been allowed to open yet, adding that all night clubs in Lagos must immediately shut down until further notice.

He reminded the people that the midnight to 4am curfew imposed by the Federal Government still remained in place.

He was quoted as saying, “We cannot afford to relax the battle against COVID-19.

“Regarding my health, I am glad to inform you that I am getting better by the day, and all will surely be well. I thank Lagosians for their prayers and overwhelming kind thoughts. I am, indeed, very grateful.

“I have just risen from a virtual executive council meeting on issues around the resurgence of COVID-19 and how we should tackle this serious matter.

“The Lagos State Government has sadly noticed that there is an unfortunate public perception that we have seen the end of the COVID-19 pandemic; that the worst is over. This is absolutely wrong and dangerous.

“We are getting credible reports that the entertainment industry is planning large gatherings, concerts, street parties and carnivals, in the spirit of the Yuletide. Night clubs have also reopened in reckless disregard of the existing guidelines, and events centres are operating with huge gatherings without any regard for public health and safety guidelines.

“This same disregard for coronavirus guidelines is also being observed with places of worship across the state, in both their regular gatherings and the special gatherings organised to commemorate this season.

“Dear Lagosians, this overwhelming non-compliance with guidelines meant to keep us all safe is very disheartening, especially when we consider that the message at the heart of Christmas is one of sacrifice and sacrificial conduct; embodied by the Holy Bible in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’

“Christmas is a commemoration of this supreme act of sacrifice by God. The least we can do in this season is to emulate that spirit of sacrifice, by abiding with difficult but necessary protective guidelines, for the greater good of all of us. This is certainly not the time to lower our guard against the coronavirus; it is instead time to step up our battle against this stubborn virus that has gripped the world for several months now.”

He also said, “Lagos State is recording an increase in COVID-19 cases in all local governments. This is not peculiar to Lagos alone; the entire country is also seeing an uptick in the numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. Of every 100 tests that we now perform, an average of 10 turn out to be positive. This is an increase from the five per hundred recorded in September, but lower than our peak in August which was between 20 and 30 per hundred. This suggests the existence of active community transmission, and represents the very likely possibility of the emergence of a second wave in Lagos State.

“This second wave calls for a full re-awakening of caution and precaution. The complacency that crept in over the last few months as a result of our early interventions when cases started to decline from our peak in August, must now give way to an abundance of vigilance.

“We are ramping up testing, we have now recently surpassed the 3,000 tests per day mark, and we will keep raising this number. So far, we have performed 197,000 tests in Lagos State of which 26,000 have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Sadly, we have lost 226 persons (May their souls rest in peace). It is important to note that Lagos already tests far more than any other state, accounting for 25 per cent of the total numbers tested nationwide.

“It should be reiterated that testing in the designated public facilities remains free. the Lagos State Government does not charge for COVID-19 tests in its testing centres. The only test centres where there is a charge are the private ones, and these are for intending travellers and also those who seek to know their status for some reason or the other.”

The governor advised anyone testing positive for the virus not to seek treatment for the disease in private hospitals not accredited for such treatment.

“Let me also sound a note of warning to all private testing facilities that are complicit in the allegations of colluding with individuals to issue fake COVID-19 test results. We have zero-tolerance for this kind of criminal conduct, and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found culpable, in addition to shutting down the offending laboratories,” he said.

He also noted that the state and indeed Nigeria could not afford another lockdown in the midst of economic recession, stressing, “we must find a way to delicately balance the imperatives of life and livelihood.

“With this in mind, the only solution available to us is to take responsibility for all our actions, and to understand that we must stay safe not only for ourselves but for the sake of the entire society.”

COVID-19

China records nearly 13,000 COVID deaths in a week

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China reported nearly 13,000 Covid-related deaths in hospitals between January 13 and 19, after a top health official said the vast majority of the population had already been infected.

The death toll came a week after China said nearly 60,000 people had died with Covid in hospitals in just over a month – but there has been widespread scepticism over official data since Beijing abruptly axed anti-virus controls last month.

China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday that 681 hospitalised patients had died of respiratory failure caused by coronavirus infection, and 11,977 had died of other diseases combined with infection over the period.

The figures do not include anyone who died at home.

Airfinity, an independent forecasting firm, has estimated daily Covid deaths in China will peak at about 36,000 over the Lunar New Year holiday.

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The firm also estimated that more than 600,000 people have died from the disease since China abandoned the zero-Covid policy in December.

China has passed the peak period of Covid patients in fever clinics, emergency rooms and with critical conditions, Guo Yanhong, an official from the National Health Commission told a news conference on Thursday.

‘No second wave’
Tens of millions of people have travelled across the country in recent days for long-awaited reunions with families to mark Sunday’s Lunar New Year, raising fears of fresh outbreaks.

China’s transport authorities have predicted that more than two billion trips will be made this month into February, in one of the world’s largest mass movements of people.

President Xi Jinping Wednesday expressed concerns over the spread of the virus in rural China, much of which lacks medical resources.

But a top health official said China would not experience a second wave of infections in the months after the festive migration, because nearly 80 per cent of the population had already been infected by the virus.

“Although a large number of people travelling during the Spring Festival may promote the spread of the epidemic to a certain extent… the current wave of epidemic has already infected about 80 per cent of the people in the country,” Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the CDC, said in a post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform on Saturday.

“In the short term, for example, in the next two to three months, the possibility of… a second wave of the epidemic across the country is very small.”

Residents in central China’s Wuhan, where the first coronavirus infections were reported in late 2019, celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit on Saturday night with fireworks, flowers and offerings to loved ones they lost to the virus.

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Nigeria records 42 fresh cases of COVID-19 in 14 days

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Fresh 42 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Nigeria in two weeks, with Lagos State topping with 27 cases, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has said.

The NCDC made this known via its official website on Sunday, adding that Edo, Kano, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory contributed the remaining cases.

This is coming amid resurgence of the new variant of the disease from China where the authorities said nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospitals in about a month.

The NCDC said that the new cases brought Nigeria’s total of COVID-19 infections to 266,492 and that the fresh cases were recorded between December 31, 2022 and January 13, 2023.

”From December 31 to January 6, 13 new confirmed cases have been recorded in Nigeria. The 13 new cases are reported from two states – Lagos (12) and Edo (one),” it said.

It confirmed that the country recorded 29 new cases from January 7 to  13; and the new cases are reported from, Lagos (15), FCT (five), Kano (four), Nasarawa (three), Kaduna (one) and Plateau (one).

It also said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre activated at Level 2, had continued to cordinate the national response activities.

Meanwhile, the country registered 266,492 COVID-19 confirmed cases, 3,155 deaths, and 259,858 cases had been discharged across 36 states including the FCT.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said, “If you are yet to be vaccinated, visit the nearest vaccination site to receive your Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine. All COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe and effective.”

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COVID-19

Panic spreads as China records 60,000 fresh COVID deaths in 34 days

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China says almost 60,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 were recorded between December 08, 2022 and January 12, 2023 in the country.

A major wave of the virus surfaced in China after President Xi Jinping abruptly lifted zero-Covid policy restrictions last month, UK Guardian reports on Saturday.

A report from Peking University said 900 million Chinese people are already infected with the virus.

It also said some major cities had experienced infection rates of between 70% and 90% of their populations since then.

The surge in infections has been attributed to the Chinese government’s emphasis on shielding the 1.4 billion people that make up its population rather than inoculating them effectively against the Covid-19 virus.

However, authorities have announced the fatalities resulting from the wave was 59,938.

The head of the Bureau of Medical Administration, Jiao Yahui, on Saturday announced there had in fact been 59,938 Covid deaths between December 8 and January 12.

This figure included about 5,500 individuals who died of respiratory failure, while the rest also had underlying health conditions. The average age of those who died was 80, Jiao said, with 90.1% aged 65 and above.

The holidays in China officially start January 21 and involve the world’s largest annual migration of people.

Some two billion trips are expected to be made and tens of millions of people have started to travel – although they have been urged not to visit their elderly relatives, in order to prevent them from becoming infected.

Jiao claimed case rates were declining and the peak had passed in most areas. She said the daily number of people going to fever clinics peaked at 2.9 million on 23 December and had fallen by 83% to 477,000 on Thursday.

“These data show the national emergency peak has passed,” she said.

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