- FG distributes Jack Ma’s 110,751 masks, shields, overall gowns to states
- Successfully traces 4,260 contacts
- Opens accounts for COVID-19 engagements
- Emefiele tests negative
- Global cases surpass one million mark
- WHO asks countries on lockdown to provide for the poor
Olawale Ajimotokan, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Martins Ifijeh in Lagos
Lagos State Government has discharged 11 more COVID-19 patients, the largest single batch since the index case was admitted on February 27, after their viral loads returned negative.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu broke the news yesterday on his Twitter handle, @jidesanwoolu, just as the federal government announced the distribution of 110,751 face masks, face shields and overall gowns donated by the Chinese billionaire, Mr. Jack Ma, to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The federal government has also opened an account for the management of COVID-19 cases in the country.
It, however, urged Nigerians to expect possible astronomical rise in the number of positive cases of the COVID-19 in the coming days as it had successfully located 71 per cent of the 6,000 contacts it was tracing.
By yesterday, the country recorded 10 new cases of the virus, jacking up the total to 184.
However, the 10 new cases, announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), did not include six new cases recorded in Osun State, and independently announced by the state government, which brought the number of patients in the state to 20.
Akwa Ibom State Government also yesterday denied any positive case of the virus in the state as reported by the NCDC, saying all the five reported positive cases had been contacted and they showed no symptoms.
With the discharge of 11 patients yesterday, Lagos State Government has so far successfully treated 19 people at its Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba since the outbreak of the pandemic.
In total, 20 persons have now been discharged in Nigeria.
Giving details on the discharge of the 11 patients, Sanwo-Olu said they had fully recovered and had returned home to their families.
He said: “I am happy to break to you, my good people of Lagos, the news of the release today of 11 more patients from our facility in Yaba.
“They have fully recovered and have tested negative for COVID-19 and have been allowed to return home to their families.”
He identified the patients to include two females and nine males, adding that their results came out negative in two rounds of test.
“I want to use this opportunity to, once again, thank our frontline health workers and other professionals for their service.
“Let me reiterate that this is not the time to relax, but to maintain our vigilance because of the community infection that we are beginning to see,” he stated.
He said at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state would hoist a flag of victory.
FG Distributes Jack Ma’s 110,751 Masks, Shields, Gowns to States
Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Femi Ojudu, yesterday announced the distribution on the COVID-19 protective gear on his Facebook wall, Ojudu Babafemi.
His post was accompanied by a table that gave a state-by-state breakdown of the distribution of the materials donated by the Chinese billionaire.
The table showed that the government distributed 99,642 face masks, 9,999 face shields and 1,110 overall gowns.
The Jack Ma Foundation in China had last week donated a 107-box load of medical supplies to Nigeria.
The breakdown of the distribution of the personal protective equipment shows that Lagos State got the highest share with 27,678 face masks, 2,596 face shields and 165 overall gowns.
This was followed by the FCT with 14,115 face masks, 1,906 face shield and 161 overall gowns.
So far, Lagos and the FCT have the highest numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country with Lagos currently on 98 cases, while the FCT has 38.
Ogun State received 4,375 face masks, 671 face shields and 58 overall gowns, while Bauchi, Edo, Ekiti Osun, Oyo and Rivers states received 1,912 face masks, 291 face shields and 26 overall gowns each.
Other states received 1,500 face masks, 110 face shields and 20 overall gowns each.
The personal protective equipment is to help in halting community spread of the pandemic in the country.
FG Successfully Traced 4,260 Contacts as Cases Rise to 184
The federal government also stated that it had successfully located 71 per cent of the 6,000 contacts of the positive cases it was tracing, representing about 4,260 contacts, adding that the number of cases might rise in the coming days.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said the projection on the possible rise in COVID-19 cases was based on the improvement in tracing of contacts and testing capacity of the laboratories.
“As contact tracing and testing is being ramped up, more and more contacts will be traced and number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 is expected to rise. Initially, with the tracing of over 71 per cent of the close to 6,000 contacts and improved turn-around time for testing, more positive cases are expected,” he said.
The minister, however, added that there were potent worry about persons, especially those returning through the land borders, who ran the high risk if they were with an infected person for a long time like transit in a crowded bus or car.
According to him, it’s important that people restrain themselves to travels that are very essential either by air or by land, national or international.
“In this regard, all Nigerians are advised to stay where they are except if they are returning from a previously arranged journey or business trip,” he said.
Ehanire said as part of efforts to bring more stakeholders on board, he met with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Tuesday where they expressed their readiness to contribute their quota in the containment of COVID-19.
He said government had asked the NMA to plead with their members who wish to serve as volunteers to assist in tackling the disease.
NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said there had been an unprecedented increase in the number of tests carried in the various laboratories.
He explained that NCDC was able to record the feat of increased number of tests following the activation of two new laboratories in Ibadan and Abakaliki.
According to Ihekweazu, the centre has so far been able to trace 71 per cent of the contacts of the positive cases.
Ihekweazu said the aid kits donated by Jack Ma had been dispatched to all the states of the federation.
NCDC Uncovers 10 New Cases as Tally Rises to 184
NCDC also said yesterday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had risen to 184 after it discovered 10 new cases.
Of the 10 new confirmed cases, seven were from Lagos while three were from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Of the 184 cases, 162 are currently being managed, 20 have been discharged while two have died.
Breakdown of the figures showed that Lagos currently has 98 cases; FCT, 38; Osun, 14; Oyo, eight; Akwa Ibom, five; Ogun, Edo and Kaduna four each; Bauchi, three; Enugu and Ekiti have two each, while Rivers and Benue have one each.
FG Opens Accounts for COVID-19
Meanwhile, the federal government has opened an account for the management of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, at the daily media briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said he was informed via a letter by the Accountant General of the Federation that the account was opened on Wednesday.
Mustapha, who is also Chairman of PTF on COVID-19, stated that although no funds had been credited into the account, the federal government would exercise control over the management of the multi-sectoral engagements on the account and would be able to render account on it.
“I have just received a letter from the Accountant General of the Federation informing us of the account that has just been opened yesterday. Ultimately, no funds have got into any account. Hopefully in coming days we will receive funding for the work of the PTF in terms of the different activities, on multi-sectoral engagements. That is the one federal government will have control over and at the end of the day will account for it,” he added.
He explained that the account is different from three other accounts opened for COVID-19 engagements in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the United Nations Family.
He said the CBN account was being handled by the Governor of the CBN and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for which they have outlined a steering and technical committee to buy equipment on combating the pandemic.
He said at the end, they would write their report to the donors for the purpose of accountability, while adding that the government and PTF do not have control over the account.
Emefiele Tests Negative for COVID-19
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has tested negative for the COVID-19.
THISDAY gathered that the test result came out yesterday.
This brought about joy among staff of the apex bank and associates of the governor.
Provide Food for the Poor, WHO Tells Countries on Lockdown
World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned Nigeria and other countries implementing lockdown orders to ensure their poor populations have food and other essential items, saying failure to do so might have unintended consequence on the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO also said pending when the researchers find vaccines and cure for the treatment of COVID-19, countries should only choose medicines of public safety and efficacy.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said yesterday that social distancing and lockdown would help slow down the spread of COVID-19 when the citizens, especially the vulnerable ones, have food and other life essentials, adding that if these two were unavailable, the purpose of lockdown may not be achieved.
He said: “Countries are asking people to stay at home and they are shutting down population movement to limit the COVID-19 transmission. These steps can have unintended consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable. I call on countries to ensure these populations have food and life essentials during the crisis. We must minimise the potential impact of this crisis on the food supply chain, and the unintended impact on global trade and food security.
“Governments’ response to COVID-19 should include the one for vulnerable people and those living with disability. Those living with disability must not be discriminated against in medical decision-making. Their rights must also be protected.”
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally has surpassed one million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 51,000 people have died from the disease and at least 208,000 persons have recovered from it.
The number of cases has hit 1,004,533 with 51,563 dead and 210,519 recovered.
The United States surpassed China, where the first known infection was documented on December 19, 2019, as the country with the most confirmed cases of the virus on March 26.
There are more than 234,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., with over 47,000 in New York City alone. At least 5,600 persons have died in the country from COVID-19.
As the virus continues to spread across the U.S., China has reported few new infections locally in recent weeks after imposing extreme social distancing measures for two months.
The country said last week that it planned to ease its restrictions in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic, on April 8.
Some European countries, including Italy, Spain, France and Germany, have become some of the areas hardest hit by the virus. Italy has reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world at more than 13,900.
In the Middle East, Iran has by far the most confirmed cases of any country in the region with more than 50,000. Israel has reported at least 6,800 cases.
There are an estimated 7.8 billion people on Earth, which means at least .01 per cent of the world’s population is now known to have the virus. Public health experts have warned, however, that the number could be higher, citing testing shortages in some areas and people who may be asymptomatic and unaware they are infected.