The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has said it is following up on no fewer than 6,000 people suspected to have had contact with the 111 previously confirmed cases of the disease in the country, as the tally rose to 131 last night.
It also expects the number of confirmed cases of the disease in the country to be on the rise, just as Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State disclosed that he has tested positive to Coronavirus.
These came as Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, yesterday, postponed the lock-down directive given by President Muhammadu Buhari from midnight yesterday to Friday, April 3.
This is even as the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said yesterday that Nigeria has recorded a second death from Coronavirus, as government announced discharge of three persons who have recovered from the disease. Speaking on his Twitter handle, Governor Makinde said: “I just received my COVID-19 confirmation test result.
It is positive. I am asymptomatic and will continue to self-isolate. “I have designated Professor Temitope Alonge, former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, as the Head of COVID-19 Task Force while I recover fully. “Please continue to comply with all the directives from the COVID-19 Task Force.
Stay home, stay safe.”
NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who dropped hint of the rise in the number of positive cases in the country on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, was hopeful that Nigeria would be able to manage the situation and reverse the trend.
He said: “We have crossed the one hundred mark and the reality is that there is a virus circulating in our midst and that is why Mr President came up yesterday (Sunday) to speak to Nigerians. “In the short term, we do expect the numbers to keep rising but we also expect that we will be able to get on top of this and that is why some measures were needed and we met with Mr President.” Ihekweazu said the President’s decision to restrict movement, especially in Lagos and Abuja, was a tough but necessary one.
He also urged Nigerians to co-operate with the NCDC and others working hard to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country. “He (Buhari) took a very hard decision to make the statement he made to institute the measures he did; you will see that this is really a call on Nigerians to come together and support these measures. “We know that these measures work, the challenge for us as a society are the side effects of these measures and which is why they were very difficult to make … it has not been an easy measure to carry out in Nigeria’s biggest (commercial) city and Abuja.
“From today, we will appeal to Nigerians to bear the few weeks of pain that will come. Stay at home as much as possible, unless you really really need to go out and let’s see whether we can get on top of this. “At the moment, there is no vaccine, there are no treatments that work; so, our only hope in containing this outbreak is to prevent transmission from one individual to the other.
The way we can do this is to stop contact with each other which is very difficult, and which is why those extra measures were needed.” Ihekweazu also said his agency is currently tracing 6,000 contacts of the 111 confirmed cases in the country. He said: “These few weeks will help our teams, the Lagos State team, to have access to the contacts that are living around Lagos and FCT.
We are following over 6,000 contacts of these 111 confirmed cases across these two cities. “Every time we have a new case, we add about 50 to 60 contacts that we then have to follow every single day for 14 days. We can’t do this if we don’t have access to these cases, so this is really one of the reasons Mr President took this very difficult decision.”
In a related development, Nigeria has recorded a second death due to coronavirus, as government yesterday announced the discharge of three persons who have recovered from the disease. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who announced this at a news briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja yesterday, said: “Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment. But sadly, another fatality was recorded over the weekend in the person of a patient who had severe underlying illnesses. “We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them, and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat, in order to reduce the spread of the infection. “As of today, March 30, 2020, we have recorded 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria of which 68 are in Lagos, 21 in the FCT, seven in Oyo, three in Ogun, two in Bauchi, two in Edo, two in Osun, two in Enugu, and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers states.”
Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, also announced the setting up of a committee on economic sustainability to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. He said: “In the President’s broadcast on Sunday, March 29, 2020, he announced far reaching measures aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. For economic sustainability, Mr. President has, today, (yesterday) approved the constitution of a committee to be chaired by the Vice President. “The terms of reference of the committee will be announced soon. Similarly, Mr. President has approved the exemption of the financial services sector from the restrictions, to allow skeletal operations in the financial system and money markets in order to keep system in light operations during this period. “The response strategy of the PTF shall remain focused on testing, detection, contact tracing, containment, slowing down the spread and management of coronavirus.
A lot of questions have been asked by the public about testing and the PTF is always willing to provide relevant information and clarifications. “Several measures have been put in place by government to address the problems posed by COVID-19 disease. The PTF has been methodical, learning from the experiences of other nations and adapting solutions that suit our environment. “These include measures such as enforcing social distancing; advising on personal hygiene; closure of air, land and sea borders; banning mass gatherings above 50 persons; restricting movements in high burden areas such as Lagos and Abuja; aggressive contact tracing and isolation of cases; improving medical infrastructure, expanding testing capabilities and establishing new isolation centres.” Five cases recover, discharged in Lagos In a related development, Lagos State government has confirmed that five additional patients who have recovered from coronavirus were yesterday discharged from Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba Mainland Hospital. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, who confirmed this to Vanguard on the telephone, said: “Yes, I’m aware. Five coronavirus patients who have fully recovered from the disease after treatment were set to be discharged from isolation centre today (yesterday). “The state government has concluded all arrangements to reintegrate the patients into the society. By now the patients are supposed to be in their respective homes. “However, the state government will soon come out with a statement on the issue very soon. It’s a thing of joy.” Ogun gov extends lock-down deadline Also yesterday, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State postponed the lock-down directive given by the President from midnight yesterday to Friday, April 3.
The governor, however, disclosed that postponement of the lock-down directive was informed by the need to provide food items and other palliatives to people of the state. President Muhammadu Buhari in his nationwide address on Sunday, directed that Ogun, Lagos states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, should be on lock-down for a period of 14 days to contain the spread of coronavirus.. He said he had already consulted with the President on the need to postpone the lock-down and got the approval. He said: “After consultation with the Presidency, the inter-state and international borders will close tonight (last night) at 11.00pm as directed by the President.
However, the total lock-down of the state will be effective from 11pm on Friday, 3rd April, 2020. “This is to enable us finalise mechanisms for the distribution of relief materials and food items ahead of the total lock-down. “We appeal to our people to abide by these government orders, and the advisories provided by the Ministry of Health on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and social distancing. These include washing hands with soap under running water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, if water is not available. “Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.” Lock-down tough but necessary, says Sanwo-Olu Reacting to the President’s order to lock down Lagos yesterday, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described it as a “tough decision but a necessary step” to effectively stop and combat the spread of the pandemic Sanwo-Olu, however, assured residents that the state government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, other agencies and organizations, would stop at nothing to curb the spread of the disease in the state and country at large. He hailed residents of the state for their endurance since measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic were announced by the government. CBN, Finance ministry exempt from lock-down Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari has exempted the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning from the Abuja lock-down ordered on Sunday, as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus in the.country. The exemption was contained in a joint statement by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, and CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emediele, yesterday. The statement read: “To ensure that Nigerians can still perform online transactions and use ATMs while observing these restrictions, we will like to inform the general public and all affected stakeholders that we have obtained exemptions from the President to allow very skeletal operations in the financial system and money markets in order to keep the system in light operations during this time. “To this end, all relevant staff of affected outfits and agencies should look out for further instructions from their immediate bosses. “We are mindful of the difficulties these restrictions would bring on ordinary Nigerians and are grateful to the President for approving these exemptions, which should help ease some of these burdens. “We urge all Nigerians to be patient, cooperative and united as all hands are on deck to defeat this virus.” Benue index case not co-operating to enable contact tracing, Deputy Gov laments In Makurdi, chairman of the Benue State Action Committee on COVID-19 and Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Benson Abounu, has alleged that index case in the state was refusing to co-operate with his committee to enable contact tracing in the state.
The Deputy Governor who made this known yesterday at the end of the committee’s meeting in Makurdi said it took him and the surveillance team nearly seven hours last Saturday to plead with the victim to accept referral from a private hospital in Makurdi to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi treatment centre. The index case had came into the state a week ago from London and sought treatment in a private hospital in Makurdi when she took ill two days later, after which the test conduct on her samples by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC confirmed that she had Coronavirus. But the index case had taken to social media, claiming she did not have the virus and was not being well-treated in the state. According to the Deputy Governor, “On Saturday I pleaded (with her) from 2pm to 9pm when she eventually agreed to be moved to the treatment centre, after I spoke with two of her brothers. “Even when a team went to take her vital signs, she refused them to treat her. She is simply not co-operating with us to enable us trace her contacts as well. “But the good news is that her temperature has normalized and coughing has considerably come down. So according to protocol, her samples will still be taken for another test by the NCDC, who did the initial test and confirmed her positive.” The Deputy Governor explained that since she was responding to treatment she would undergo two more tests to ascertain her status before her release. Confirming the status of the index case, a professor of Public Health at the NCDC, Dr. Steven Abba who was drafted to the state by the centre said the index case was actually confirmed by the NCDC after the necessary tests were carried out on her samples. “We have an index case in Benue state and the NCDC is working with state team to ensure that it is contained,” Abba said.