- Nigeria records 594 new cases of COVID-19
Olawale Ajimotokan, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Martins Ifijeh in Lagos and Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The federal government has disclosed that 80 per cent of the parents across the country are against the reopening of schools, and has however, promised to announce the new date for the resumption of domestic flights by next week.
The government has also expressed worry over rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, with Cross River State also recording the first case of the virus.
It has also disclosed that the report of the National Agency on Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the Madagascar herbal drug is ready.
This is coming as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha has said that he would impose a fresh lockdown on the country if it was within his power to do so.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the press briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba revealed that 80 per cent of the responses from parents that followed a perception survey conducted across the country by the ministry, said they were opposed to any hurried reopening of schools to experiment with their children.
“We are keeping the children at home because you can’t see coronavirus with your naked eyes and can’t know if a child is asymptomatic, carrying the virus. If he does and he goes back and infects another person, there is no way for us to know.
‘’Prior to that, the ministry carried out a perception survey around the country and 80 per cent of the responses were assurances from parents that they’re not willing to experiment with their children. If there are parents willing to experiment – to check whether it can work or not, we can invite them to a test,’’ Nwajiuba said.
Nigeria Records 594 New Cases of COVID-19
Nigeria has recorded 594 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 22,614 the number of confirmed cases in the country.
Announcing this yesterday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Lagos recorded 159 new cases, Delta, 106; Ondo, 44; Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Edo, 34 each; Oyo and Kaduna, 33 each; Enugu, 28; Katsina, 25; Imo, 22; Adamawa, 15; Ogun, 12; Osun, 11; Abia, eight; Rivers, six; Nasarawa, Bauchi and Kebbi, five each; Ekiti, three; while Plateau and Taraba had one each.
It said: “22,614 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Nigeria. 7,822 persons have been discharged, while 549 have died.”
FG to Announce New Date for Domestic Flight Resumption
Also speaking at the briefing, the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu revealed that the federal government will next week announce a new date for the resumption of domestic flights.
Nuhu, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said that the announcement will follow the closure of the gaps that resulted in the earlier failure to resume flights on June 21 as earlier announced.
He added that in order to close the gaps further, the aviation sector will hold a test grade driving test in both Lagos and Abuja airports on Saturday.
FG Expresses Worry over Rising Cases of Pandemic
Meanwhile, the federal government has expressed fresh concerns over increasing rate of spread of the virus across various states and communities in the country.
It said the ongoing community transmission of the virus disease has resulted in the high number of confirmed cases which may overwhelm the facilities for case management in some states.
Speaking at the media briefing, the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamorah said the situation deserved serious response measures to contain.
Cross River Records First Case of Virus
Meanwhile, despite repeated claim by the Cross River State Government that there was no case of the virus in the state, the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) disclosed yesterday that one of its patients tested positive for COVID-19 recently.
Making the disclosure in a circular dated June 25, and signed by the UCTH, Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Ikpeme A. Ikpeme, the hospital alerted its staff on the development, saying the patient had been treated and discharged since last week.
NAFDAC Report on Madagascar Herbal Drug Ready
While responding to questions on the outcome of the validation of the efficacy of Madagascar herbal drug for Covid-19 treatment, Mamorah said that one of the agencies that is involved in the validation process, NAFDAC has concluded its assessment and will submit its report today (Friday).
When asked when the ministry will give its verdict on the Madagascar herbal cure as well as other claims by local traditional medicine providers, the minister said that he could not give a timeline for the validation process, adding that the exercise involves long-winding processes with no short cut.
According to Mamora, in addition to the assessment carried out by NAFDAC other agencies like NIPRD and Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) are expected to proceed with their own part in order to ensure that a thorough scientific investigation is carried out on the drug.
220 Vaccines undergoing Trials, Says WHO
Also yesterday, WHO gave update on the processes leading to the production of vaccine for the treatment of the virus.
Country Representative of the WHO, Ms. Fiona Braka said that two pandemic vaccine candidates have reached advance stages of development and may be nearing final assessment by the end of the year.
She said that about 220 other vaccines are currently undergoing various stages of trials.
On his part, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said that latest studies on the pandemic showed that loss of taste and smell are key symptoms of the virus infection.
Ihekweazu said that as part of efforts to scale up testing for Covid-19 in the country NCDC will be flagging off testing with GeneXpert machine in seven states by today (Friday).
He also assured all the states of federation will have their testing capacity scaled up with the deployment of GeneXpert machine by next week.
SGF Favours Fresh Lockdown
In a related development, the Chairman of the task force, who is also the SGF, Mustapha, has said he would impose another lockdown on the country if has the power to do so.
Mustapha said the level of complacency was gravitating towards recklessness on the part of the public, adding that the numbers will continue to rise in exponential graph unless the public begin to comply with the safety guidelines.
“The message is very simple that it is not time: If it were within my powers, this is the time to lock down. It might not be a popular thing, but I can see the attitude of Tom and Jerry in our people, who are romancing COVID-19 as if the matter is over.”
PTF to Submit Report to Buhari on Sunday
Mustapha also said having entered the closing week of the second phase of lockdown, the PTF, which had a virtual meeting with state governors on Wednesday to evaluate the progress so far made, will on Sunday submit its report, containing its assessment and recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also speaking, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has also said he had no information concerning the delivery of the of the ventilator which the United States Government promised to supply to the federal government.
Lagos Discharges 36 Additional Patients
In another development, the Lagos State Government has discharged 36 additional COVID-19 patients from its isolation centres, bringing to 1,364, the number of successfully treated persons in the state since the start of the pandemic in Nigeria.
Announcing this yesterday, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said 11 of those discharged are females while 25 are males.
He said: “Nine were discharged from Onikan, eight each from Gbagada and Lekki, seven from Agidingbi and four from Eti Osa isolation centres.
“With this, the number of COVID-19 cases successfully managed and discharged in Lagos has risen to 1364,” he added.