•Buhari meets with task force, mum on lockdown extension
•Osinbajo: We are concerned about keeping the economy stable, protecting jobs •Discharged patients in Lagos rise to 46
•FG moves to increase bed space for isolation
•Masari locks down Daura after 3 test positive
•Don’t lift lockdown, NMA tells states
•Cases in Africa rise to 11,900
•Global death toll passes 100,000
Omololu Ogunmade, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja, Segun James in Lagos and Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The World Health Organisation has debunked insinuations that 5G mobile network was responsible for the raging Coronavirus pandemic, insisting that “viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks.”
On the same day, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed optimism that Nigeria would triumph over the Coronavirus when he met with members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, but was silent on whether the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja would be extended.
Also yesterday, the number of reported cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria increased to 305, (from 288 reported Friday morning) with 58 discharged and seven dead.
WHO, in a statement released yesterday by its office in Nigeria, debunked the myth, saying COVID-19 is a respiratory disease spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.
“People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose,” it said.
WHO added that COVID-19 was spreading in many countries that did not have 5G mobile networks.
It also said being infected with the new Coronavirus did not mean that the person would be infected with the virus forever, adding that people recovered from the disease.
“Most COVID-19 infected persons can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you are infected by the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early, but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care,” WHO said.
It added that exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees would not prevent COVID-19.
“You can be infected with COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19,” the organisation noted. It said to be protected from the virus, people should ensure frequent and thorough hand washing and avoid touching eyes, mouth, and nose.
Buhari Meets COVID-19 Committee, Optimistic Nigeria will Triumph
President Buhari has said he was optimistic that Nigeria would triumph over the Coronavirus considering the efforts put in by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He tweeted yesterday: “The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 briefed me today. I remain very grateful for the hard work that they are putting into this national assignment. I have no doubt that with all these efforts, Nigeria will triumph over this pandemic.”
The president tweeted that the meeting with members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, held at the State House, but said nothing about whether the lockdown on Abuja, Lagos and Ogun would be lifted or extended.
At the meeting, Buhari pleaded with Nigerians to be more patient as the government intensifies efforts towards containing the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He expressed optimism that the trials of the moment would be overcome soon as a result of deliberate moves by the government to conquer the common enemy of mankind.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Mustapha, said the committee briefed Buhari on details of its efforts towards containing the spread of the disease.
According to him, Buhari expressed satisfaction with the perceived transparent way the task force had been engaging critical stakeholders in the discharge of its responsibilities, insisting that Nigeria would come out strong from its current challenges in no time.
Mustapha said the president has the exclusive power to decide the next line of action.
He said: “Well, that is ultimately the decision that Mr. President has the prerogative to take. Ours is to provide him with basic fact as it is on ground and to also give him all the options that we think in our consideration he can use to arrive at the decision. You know that as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the decision is ultimately his.
“As the people he has charged with this particular responsibility, it is our responsibility to lay the facts bare before him to appropriately guide and help him to take the decision. So, I will not speculate on that.”
The President had, on March 29, ordered the lockdown of these cities with rising cases of the Coronavirus for an initial period of 14 days to curb the spread.
The SGF had earlier said the task force would meet with the president to review the lockdown order in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory.
Those at the meeting included Mustapha, who is also the Chairman of the PTF; the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; and the National Coordinator in the fight against COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu.
Also yesterday, the President met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
At his meeting with Osinbajo, who is also the Chairman, Economic Sustainability Committee, both leaders discussed the possibility of coming up with more palliative measures meant to cushion the effect of COVID-19 virulent disease on the poor and the vulnerable as a result of the lockdown..
Both the president and vice-president were said to have shared ideas on further measures that can be deployed to alleviate the plight of the poor while the lockdown lasts.
Osinbajo told journalists after the meeting that his discussion with the president centred on necessary efforts required to resolve pressing issues caused by the effects of COVID-19 on the economy.
He said: “Well, I came to see the president for the regular briefing that I give, either sometime, I come physically as you see me today (or at) other times, I brief him on phone or by conference. What we are concerned about is that the economy remains stable, that jobs are protected and if possible, more jobs are created.
“The president has expressed very serious concerns about the problems that may be associated with the lockdown. Many of our people work for daily wages. They have to go out to work everyday. So, we have to think of how we can give them some succour during the period they are not able to work.
“So, some of those issues are what Mr. President wanted me to discuss fully with him and of course, you know we have a committee, the Economic Sustainability Committee, which very shortly will submit a full report to Mr. President and what our thoughts and ideas are.
“I think Mr. President asked me to meet with him in particular because he wanted to see how to resolve some of the very pressing issues around the COVID-19 and also around the economic problems we are seeing already,” the vice-president said.
Meanwhile, WHO has warned against any premature lifting of restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, saying such action could lead to a fatal resurgence of the new coronavirus.
WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that while some states were considering ways to ease the restrictions which have placed around half of humanity under some form of lockdown, doing so too quickly could be dangerous.
“I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone,” he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
“At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence. The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.
“WHO is working with affected countries on strategies for gradually and safely easing restrictions.”
Tedros spelled out six factors that should be considered before restrictions could be safely eased.
He said that transmission would have to be controlled; sufficient public health services made available; outbreak risks in care homes minimised; preventative measures imposed in workplaces and schools; virus importation risks managed; and communities made aware of and engaged in the transition.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in its latest COVID-19 figure on its twitter handle last night, said: “As at 09:30 pm, 10th April, there are 305 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. 58 have been discharged with 7 deaths. Seventeen new cases of #COVID19 have been reported with eight in Lagos, three in Katsina, two in FCT, one each in Niger, Kaduna, Anambra, and Ondo.”
FG Moves to Increase Bed Space
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, yesterday said the Federal Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 accreditation committee was currently inspecting public and private treatment centres in order to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 isolation and treatment nationwide.
He spoke in Abuja while giving update on the efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ehanire said private facilities have been asked to apply to the federal ministry of health for accreditation, before engaging in treatment of COVID-19 patients.
He said that an accreditation committee will have to inspect such facilities before granting accreditation.
“They will soon start inspection and accreditation tour to all States, starting with those with active COVID-19 cases. The bed space expansion starts with our federal tertiary hospitals, where separate wings have been reserved and converted for COVID-19 management. Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) commenced such operation on Monday with a 60-bed isolation centre, having received COVID-19 starter pack and trained health workers,” he said.
COVID-19 Cases in Africa Rise to 11,900
The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa says the number of coronavirus cases in Africa has increased to over 11,900.
The UN’s health agency gave the update on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO yesterday.
“COVID19 cases in Africa rise to over 11,900 – with 1,586 recoveries and 608 deaths reported,’’ it said.
The breakdown in the WHO African Region COVID-19 dashboard showed that South Africa, Algeria and Cameroon had continued to top the list of countries with the highest reported cases.
South Africa has 1,934 cases and 18 deaths followed by Algeria with 1,666 cases and 235 deaths, while Cameroon has 730 confirmed cases with 10 deaths.
It also showed that the countries with the lowest confirmed cases are South Sudan and Burundi, which had reported three cases each with zero death.
The second-lowest confirmed cases of COVID-19 countries in Africa are The Gambia and Sao Tome, which have confirmed four cases each while the latter has zero death, the former (Gambia) has recorded one death.
Mauritania is in the third category with the lowest cases as the country has recorded six confirmed cases with no death.
Discharged Patients in Lagos Rise to 46
Lagos State has discharged seven new patients from the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced this on his Twitter handle yesterday.
“Today, seven more patients comprising of three females and four males were discharged to reconnect with their families after full recovery and having tested negative twice consecutively for COVID-19,” he tweeted.
NMA Urges States Not to Lift Lockdown Yet
The Nigerian Medical Association has made a case for continued observance of the Covid-19 imposed restrictions across the nation to ensure that things do not deteriorate.
It asked Nigerian Police force and other security agencies to ensure that gatherings that violate the restriction order do not take place.
In a statement issued yesterday by the NMA president, Dr. Francis Faduyile and Secretary General, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, the association said its attention has been drawn to some isolated statements negating the established measure of preventing Covid-19- social distancing.
It referred to the orders by some state governors authorising the mass observance of Jumat prayers and Easter Sunday services.
“Of particular concern are: The declaration by the Cross River State Governor that social distancing is not needed while wearing a face mask.
“A moratorium on the lockdown to allow mass gathering in mosques and churches starting from Friday to Sunday in Rivers state;
“The lifting of the ban on Friday prayers by Katsina and Kogi States government,” it said.
NMA also said that it was aware that similar orders had been given in Ondo, Ebonyi and Imo states which approved mass attendance of Easter services.
The NMA said: “While appreciating the prime place of religion in our national lives and especially the value Christians place on Easter, we place on record that there is now the evidence of community transmission of Covid-19. As such, relaxing any guideline that promotes mass gatherings in any part of our nation now can only heighten and not flatten the curve of transmission dynamics.
“We, therefore, pray all authorities concerned to rescind their decision in the interest of safety of lives and implore the Nigerian Police force and other security agencies to ensure that such gatherings do not take place.”
Masari Orders Lockdown in Daura after 3 Test Positive
Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, has ordered a total lockdown in Daura Local Government Area after three new cases of coronavirus were recorded.
The governor made the announcement in a series of tweets yesterday, said “Further to our earlier briefing on the Daura #COVID19 situation; out of the samples sent for testing, 23 results have been returned with 20 being negative while 3 are unfortunately positive. Incidentally the 3 are the deceased Doctor’s wife and his 2 children.”
He said, “We will continue to monitor situations as they unfold and will not hesitate to lockdown any local government area that may record positive #COVID19 case. We won’t falter in putting the whole state under total lockdown should the situation warrants.
“However, three pharmacies and three grocery stores will be identified for people to patronise under strict supervision and when absolutely necessary.”
FG Delivers Palliatives to Lagos
As the lockdown in Lagos entities its second week, the Federal Government yesterday handed over 6,000 bags of rice and two truck loads of vegetable oil to the state as Palliative to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the residents.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, who handed the materials to the state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that the palliative was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to her, “We are here to pay a solidarity visit to the government and people of Lagos State on this unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting us in the nation.
”It is also to follow up on the directive of Mr President to give out palliative to the affected state; Lagos, Ogun and FCT that is lockdown by FG.
”We are bringing food relief in term of rice and condiment and secondly we want to also flag off the Tradermoni and Marketmoni intervention of the FG,” Farouq said.
She said that the palliative should be distributed to the vulnerable in the society, while also disclosing that the tradermoni and marketmoni initiatives of the federal government which has been in existence for some time are also being given out as incentive at this critical period for the people, adding that the president has directed that the initiatives be expanded to also include other vulnerable groups.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu commended the president for always supporting the state.
New York Using Mass Graves Amid Outbreak
Images have emerged of coffins being buried in a mass grave in New York City, United States, as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak continues to rise.
Workers in hazard outfits were seen using a ladder to descend into a huge pit, where the coffins were stacked.
The location is Hart Island, used for New Yorkers with no next of kin or who could not afford a funeral.
New York State now has more coronavirus cases than any single country, according to latest figures.
The state confirmed caseload of COVID-19 jumped by 10,000 on Thursday to 159,937, of whom 7,000 have died.
Spain has had 153,000 cases and Italy 143,000, while China, where the virus emerged last year, has reported 82,000 cases.
The US as a whole has recorded 462,000 cases and nearly 16,500 deaths.
Worldwide Covid-19 Death Toll Passes 100,000
The number of deaths around the world from the Covid-19 pandemic has now passed 100,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. This figure is coming 101 days after Chinese health authorities first alerted the World Health Organisation of a new coronavirus in Wuhan.
The worst affected country remains Italy, with 18,849 deaths so far, according to the tally kept by the Maryland, US-based University. The US is now the second worst-affected country, with 17,925 deaths. Spain is third, with 15,970 deaths.