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COVID-19: Delta State shuts Asaba Airport, closes land borders

Delta State Government has announced the shutting down of the Asaba Airport. The closure will take effect from the evening of Friday, March 27.

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Delta State House of Assembly passes N384 billion 2021 Appropriation Bill, Okowa targets N100 million annual revenue via Asaba Airport concession , COVID-19: Delta State shuts down Asaba Airport, closes land borders

Delta State Government has announced the shutting down of the Asaba Airport. The closure will take effect from the evening of Friday March 27, and last indefinitely.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa announced this Thursday evening, during his third broadcast to Deltans on the Coronavirus.

Okowa said that after series of meetings with the Central Committee on Managing/Containing the Coronavirus Pandemic, the government had reached several some decisions.

The Governor also announced that from 6am on Sunday, March 29, there would be no travels in and out of the state as all the land borders would be shut.

[READ MORE: COVID-19: Startups groan over losses, may shutdown in months)

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All residents of the state will also be expected to comply with a stay-at-home order from Wednesday, April 1.

“From Wednesday, April 1st, all citizens and residents of Delta State are to stay at home and all businesses — malls, supermarkets, markets and shops are to remain closed,” he said.

The only exceptions to this rule would be workers in essential services such as security, healthcare  (including pharmacies), water, fire, power, essential Departments of Media Houses and Telecommunications companies.

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“Officials of these agencies/companies must carry valid identification tags to ensure easy identification and smooth passage” he said.

Food sellers would also be permitted to conduct their businesses within the precinct of their homes and adhere to the highest standard of personal and environmental hygiene and social distancing.

To ensure strict compliance, Okowa added that the state government would deploy increased security presence on the streets and land borders.

He noted that the restrictions would last for TWO WEEKS in the first instance, and encouraged the citizens to call any of the hotlines provided if they sense that they have been exposed to the virus in any way.

The governor had, on Wednesday also announced that religious worship would now explore alternate means of worship, deploying digital means if necessary.

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He noted that the directive was to enforce social distancing and curb the likelihood of the Coronavirus spreading in Delta State.

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He also banned all political gatherings, conferences, summits, burials, social events, town union meetings and any gathering of more than 20 persons, urging the traditional rulers and opinion leaders to monitor strict adherence.

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[READ ALSO: COVID-19: FG on the trail of 4,370 cases)

What this means: These directives cumulate into a staged shutdown of all business and economic activities in the state, and when enforced, could make Delta state the first to enforce a full lockdown.

There is yet no confirmed case of the COVID-19 in Delta State, but the directives could be a response to the presence and spread of the virus in neighbouring Edo State.

 

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Covid-19: WHO warns the world faces catastrophic moral failure due to vaccine nationalism

The WHO has said that the prospects of equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines were at serious risk.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom, Head of the World health organization (WHO), COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure due to the fear of Covid-19 vaccine nationalism by the wealthy countries, while the poor countries are left behind.

This is as the UN health agency revealed that the prospects of equitable distribution of the vaccines were at serious risk just as its COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme plans to start distributing inoculations in February.

According to a report from Reuters, this disclosure was made by the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyrsus, at the opening of the body’s Annual Executive Board virtual meeting.

He pointed out that 44 bilateral deals were signed last year and at least 12 have already been signed this year.

What the WHO Director-General is saying

Tedros warned against vaccine nationalism to avoid making the same mistake during the HIN1 and HIV pandemic.

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The WHO boss in his statement said,

  • This could delay COVAX deliveries and create exactly the scenario COVAX was designed to avoid with hoarding, a chaotic market, an uncoordinated response and continued social and economic disruption. Such a ‘me-first approach’ left the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk.
  • “Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, countries should avoid making the same mistakes made during the H1N1 and HIV pandemics.’

He expressed his reservations over the ‘me-first’ attitude of the rich countries and the vaccine manufacturers who prioritize going for regulatory approval in wealthy countries rather than submitting their data to WHO for approval of the vaccines for use globally.

The global scramble for shots has intensified, as more infectious virus variants circulate.

Tedros said more than 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries, whereas just 25 doses had been given in one poor country.

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Observers say this board meeting, which lasts until next Tuesday, is one of the most important in the U.N. health agency’s more than 70-year history, and could shape its role in global health long after the pandemic ends.

What you should know

  • The WHO and health experts had severally warned against nationalism as a serious threat to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • They had called for an equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine amongst all countries globally, as the wealthy nations will still be at risk of the pandemic if the poor countries are still battling with the disease.

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COVID-19: FG to launch Rapid Response Register for urban poor

The FG has moved to inaugurate an emergency intervention database for the poor residing in urban centres and affected by the pandemic.

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Nigeria blows past 40,000 COVID-19 cases

The Federal Government has announced that it would inaugurate a COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), which would be a health emergency response for the poor living in urban centers that have been affected by the pandemic.

This was disclosed by Mr. Joe Abuku, Communications Manager, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr. Abuku said the register would identify Nigerians that have been made poorer due to the pandemic, targeting mainly Traders and SME Owners.

He added that the scheme was designed by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, through NASSCO, in partnership with the World Bank, and will be inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

What Joe Abuku is saying

  • “This register is being built by NASSCO as an expansion of the existing National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP). It targets small business owners, street vendors, petty traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and service providers.
  • “Others are low wage employed individuals and families, including daily wage-based laborers, urban poor and destitute (persons with disabilities), and vulnerable families in slum areas, affected by the pandemic.
  • “The category of Nigerians who will be in this register is typically the urban/semi-urban poor engaged in the informal sectors of the economy, who lost their source of livelihood due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and jobs. The Federal Government plans to extend cash transfers to households in this register for a period of 12 months.”

He also stated that NASSCO would use geographical satellite sensing to locale the wards where the urban poor live, as the targeting of the poor would be done via cell phone Short Messaging Service (SMS) technology that allows residents of targeted communities register to be assisted by following simple steps using USSD codes.

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The SMS approach would be integrated through data gathered by the National Living Standard Survey Assessments and would be complemented by existing databases of Non-Governmental Organisations and local self-help-support groups.

  • “Mobile phone numbers of those deemed eligible for assistance will be linked to digitized bank accounts to receive cash support, under an expanded cash transfer program of the Federal Government. These cash payments are designed to boost consumption for these households, build their resilience, and in some cases, inject fresh capital into small businesses.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported last year that the World Bank said the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor.
  • The Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020 by the World Bank Group indicate that between 88 million and 115 million people could fall back into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This is in addition to an increase between 23 million and 35 million in 2021, potentially bringing the total number of new people living in extreme poverty to between 110 million and 150 million.

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Covid-19: Nigeria needs serious controls not a second lockdown – House Committee on Education

A member of the lower legislative house has advised the government to focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education & Services, said the Federal and States governments should not impose a lockdown, but rather focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He disclosed this during an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.

  • “I do not think we need a national lockdown now, I think what we need now is the first instance is serious controls. Let me say that the Governor of Lagos is the ‘poster man’ for the fight against covid-19. If we see you outside without a mask, we will arrest you and charge you to court, that is the kind of courage we need.”

READ: Lagos state police raid night clubs, arrest 237 suspects, to face prosecution

He cited serious controls like buying hand sanitizers and washing materials to schools and urban areas in Lagos as part of the controls that should be commended.

  • “The issue is not a lockdown. If you lock people down, and you are not doing the right thing inside the lockdown, the cases will still increase. They (masses) will break it and will challenge it as they did during the first lockdown. So, the real issue is to bring out the policies and implement them.
  • “The Federal Ministry as a supervisor, yes states have the autonomy, but we give the state’s money from UBEC every year, we give them billions, what are they doing with it?

READ: African Union secures 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from drugmakers

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He urged that the FG should investigate what States use their Universal Basic Education Funds for, as Nigeria is in a time for “retooling and repurpose” and UBEC funding should be utilized in the fight against Covid-19.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government said Nigeria is not contemplating another lockdown and urged Nigerians to ignore social media posts circulating the possibility of another lockdown.

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