FG Dispatches Special Medical Team to Kano

1

•Squad to drive NCDC’s containment plan
•Cases now 2170, with 68 deaths
•SGF warns of spike in cases if protocols are ignored
•Don’t ease lockdown now, NMA warns again
•Curfew: Task force meets security agencies, plans enforcement
•Raymond Dokpesi, 7 other family members test positive
•NCDC: No enough bed spaces in all states
•WHO: 89 vaccines at different development stages
•Sanwo-Olu inaugurates 118-bed isolation centre
•UK evacuates 316 nationals from Lagos

Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and Chinedu Eze in Lagos

A 14-man team comprising experts in different fields of health has been dispatched to Kano State by the federal government to complement efforts of the state’s government aimed at curbing the rampaging Coronavirus in the state.

On the same day, 238 new cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Nigeria, with Kano State alone accounting for 92 cases. The new figures take the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 2170. 351 people have recovered, while 68 others have died from the disease.

The multi-sectorial team of 14 specialists, which will arrive Kano State this morning, is made up of persons from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Department of Hospital Services, the Department of Family Health, Infectious Disease Specialists, media and a special adviser.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this yesterday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said frontline health workers in Kano would be trained and retrained to effectively manage the pandemic.

Ehanire said: “With regards to Kano, the main focus of the intervention is on training and capacity building of state health care workforce along with their various specialties on a very massive scale.

“On case management, medical, nursing, and clinic staff shall be trained or retrained. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency will engage its extensive Kano State network to drive testing demand by grassroots through community mobilisation so that NCDC strategy can be realised.”

The minister also disclosed that government had now activated 18 laboratories nationwide, to increase testing capacity and improve case management.

The Minister of State for Health Olorummibe Mamora deplored complaints that some health workers were extorting money from patients under the guise of buying protective kits for treatment.

“Any demand from patients to pay money for protective kits by health workers in the hospitals is illegal, unacceptable and will be investigated,” he warned.

Responding to what may have been the recommendations of the interim report on the situation in Kano State, Mamora said it merely helped the ministry to establish the mode engagement with the state officials in dealing with challenges.

In addition, Mamora said the report led to the deployment of a multi-sectoral team to Kano State.

He said that the PTF would set up a base in Kano to coordinate further measures to find out the causes of the mysterious deaths in the state.

The Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said that efforts were being made to solve the challenges currently facing Kano and other areas where new cases of COVID-19 were reported.

On whether the NCDC would carry out sample collection at the markets, he said all their actions were evidence-driven, adding that if there were sufficient reasons to do that, then the centre would definitely go ahead and do it.

The NCDC boss said the centre tested 2,000 samples on Thursday, stating that it was the highest ever since the outbreak of COVID-19.

On bed space, he said that so far there were altogether 3,500 beds in all the states.

He said that none of the states has met the requirements for beds space for isolation centres, adding that private sector organisations are encouraged to assist the states where they operate with isolation facilities.

SGF Warns of Spike in Cases If Protocols Are Ignored

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman of PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has warned Nigerians to be prepared for a spike in Coronavirus cases across the country if they ignored the protocols issued following the easing of the lockdown on the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mustapha cited the experience of Ghana, Germany and other countries as nations that have experienced a jump in COVID-19 infections after they eased the lockdown.
He warned that there would be a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country if Nigerians fail to comply with the guidelines and protocols on easing of the lockdown, issued by the federal government.

“Ten days after Ghana relaxed the lockdown, the figures went up again. Germany and several other countries have had that experience and everybody is navigating the rough road, trying to find a solution to it. Part of what I see them do is that they try as much as possible in spite of the spike to ensure very strict compliance,” Mustapha said.

He asked Nigerians to emulate Sweden, which neither imposed a lockdown, nor a mandatory use of mask on its citizens besides compliance, which has been part of their culture.

“If we can get our people to realise that this is a collective responsibility, to work together; that these are guidelines that are meant for our own good, I think we will be able to cross that Rubicon,” Mustapha said.

He also called for the issue of border and interstate restriction to be looked into by both Lagos and FCT authorities.

He said the implementation of that order would be a major challenge given that many workers in both places reside in neigbouring states like Ogun, Niger and Nasarawa from where they commute daily to work.

Raymond Dokpesi, 7 Family Members Test Positive

The founder of DAAR Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, his daughter-in-law, and six members of his family have tested positive for Coronavirus.

This came three days after his son and Chairman of the board of the company, Raymond Dokpesi Jnr, also tested positive for the virus.

According to ait.live, a test conducted by the NCDC on the Dokpesi family came out positive for eight members of the family.

Dokpesi and the other affected family members were, yesterday, conveyed by the NCDC to the isolation centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, where his son is receiving treatment.

The media mogul, who spoke to journalists shortly after the arrival of the ambulance, said “I am quite okay. I feel very well.”

Dokpesi Jnr had tested positive for COVID-19 after having symptoms of malaria.

However, after persistent bouts of cough, he was said to have contacted the NCDC, which later confirmed that he had the infectious virus.

Contact tracing immediately commenced with his family members. The test was later extended to senior management and members of staff who had been in close contact with the company’s index case.

The health authorities in the Federal Capital Territory had also carried out immediate fumigation of the entire DAAR Headquarters building sitting aloft the Kpaduma hills in Asokoro District of Abuja.

Sanwo-Olu inaugurates 118-bed Isolation Centre

As the Coronavirus cases in Lagos State near 1,000, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, opened a new 118-bed Isolation Center in the Gbagada area of the state.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Thursday in Abuja that there was shortage of bed spaces in Lagos, which has more than 50 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases reported in the country.

“Across the country, we have about 3,500 bed spaces identified and available for COVID-19. But in Lagos, we are already struggling,” Ihekweazu said.

But yesterday, Sanwo-Olu’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Gawat Jubril, tweeted that the governor had commissioned another facility to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

“The Incident Commander of COVID-19 in Lagos and Governor of Lagos State, Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu today commissioned the 118-bed Isolation Centre at the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos,” he tweeted.

Task Force to Meet Security Agencies over Curfew

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday said it would meet with security agencies this weekend to create modalities for the enforcement of the national curfew beginning on Monday.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 27 announced a “gradual and phased easing out” of the cumulative five-week lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory since March 30 to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus and declared a national curfew with effect from May 4.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, called on state government to enforce the new guidelines.

Mustapha said, “As mentioned earlier, the guidelines for phase one of the eased lockdown has been released. We urge all states to adopt them and ensure the creation of awareness and compliance.

“The PTF will be meeting with the security agencies this weekend to fashion out modalities for enforcement.”

WHO: 89 Vaccines at Different Development Stages Globally

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that 89 vaccines globally are currently in development stages for the prevention of COVID-19.

The Officer in Charge of WHO Nigeria, Dr Fiona Braka, made the revelation yesterday at the Presidential Task Force media briefing in Abuja.

Braka also said that seven of the vaccines were currently at the stage of clinical evaluation and trials.

The WHO officer said the organisation was committed to ensuring that once vaccines and medicines are developed they will be shared equitably among all countries and people.

She added that more than 100 countries, including Nigeria have offered to be to be part of the solidarity trial, which WHO and its partners, launched for the effective treatment of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

According to Braka, over 1,200 patients have been selected randomly from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combination.

She described the process for the ceritifcation of vaccine as very rigourous and thorough, because of the need to ensure that products that are approved for use meet the safety requirement.

UK Evacuates 316 from MMIA, Lagos

The United Kingdom evacuated about 316 Britons from Nigeria yesterday through a chartered British Airways flight which took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to Heathrow Airport, London at 4.46 pm local time.

Last week, the British High Commission disclosed that it had made arrangements for additional flights that would take 900 people back to the UK from Nigeria on government charter flights to around 2,000, following flights arranged two weeks back from Lagos and Abuja to London.

So far, 1,416 Britons have been evacuated to the UK in six flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cases Now 2170

Figures yesterday from the NCDC showed that the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is now 2170. 351 people have recovered, while 68 others have died from the disease.

Kano state accounts for 92 of the new cases, 36 in FCT, 30 in Lagos, 16 in Gombe, 10 in Bauchi, 8 in Delta, 6 in Oyo, 5 in Zamfara, 5 in Sokoto, 4 in Ondo, 4 in Nasarawa, 3 in Kwara, 3 in Edo, 3 in Ekiti, 3 in Borno, 3 in Yobe, 2 in Adamawa, 1 in Niger, 1 in Imo, 1 in Ebonyi, 1 in Rivers, and 1 in Enugu.

Don’t Ease Lockdown Now, NMA warns again

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has again asked the federal and state governments to discard plans to embark on gradual easing of the current lockdown meant to prevent the spread of covid19 across the country.

In a statement issued last night by the NMA President, Dr. Fancis Fraduyile, the doctors said that current trend in the spread of did not support the easing of the measures for now.

It said: “At the point we are today, the Nigerian Medical Association unequivocally states as follows: The easing of the lockdown even in phases is very premature. Nigeria should learn from her neighbour Ghana where the same action produced a 100% increase in infection rate in just a week.”

“As the incidence of the COVID-19 hits the 2000th mark by this weekend, just seven days after hitting the 1000th mark, it figuratively tilts the epidemiological curve towards an upward spike. More so, the revelation by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that the nation lacks for bed spaces in Lagos worsens this frightening scenario.

“The confusing situation in Kano is neither unravelled nor resolved. At the same time, some States continue to live in the delusion of zero COVID-19 incidences.”
The Association deplored what it described as “meddlesome pronouncements by some state actors on the management protocols for COVID-19 in the country”.

In particular, NMA said it viewed the directive by the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, for the use of a specific drug in the treatment of positive cases, as improper and unethical.