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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Nigeria, others to collaborate with Tech giants to curb misinformation

Africa is now experiencing a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease which was predominant in Asia and Europe.

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NCDC, CORONAVIRUS, COVID-19: Nigeria, other African countries to collaborate with tech giants over misinformation, NCDC and NNPC-IPPG reinforce #TakeResponsibility theme with multi-lingual campaign

The African continent is now experiencing a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease that was predominant in Asia and Europe. In recent times, Africa has seen the number of cases rise from 600 around March 18, 2020, to 6,473 as at today, April 2, 2020.

Apart from dealing with the rapid spread of the disease, compounded with poor health facilities, the continent has to contend with a lot of misinformation and fake news, especially on various social media platforms.

The misinformation is partly fueled by deep distrust of government. It is emerging as a major obstacle in the continent, where poor health facilities will aid the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease.

Some messages that went viral on social media platforms were filled with fake news and unfounded advice with respect to the disease.

[READ MORE: COVID-19: NCDC distributes medical supplies to states)

As a result of this, governments across the African continent are teaming up with technology giants like Facebook and WhatsApp to fight the misinformation that is being spread about the coronavirus on social media platforms.

In the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria, health officials are collaborating with the messaging service owned by Facebook to send push notifications to users with advice on symptoms and prevention of the covid-19 disease. When the first case was disclosed in Nigeria, some Nigerians started flying the conspiracy theory, which was that it was a ploy by the government to cash in on funds from international donor agencies and embezzle the money that would be made available for this campaign.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is also getting free ad space on Facebook for outreach about the pandemic. Other public health institutions in 11 other African countries and around the world are beneficiaries of this service.

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The Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “There has never been a more critical time than now for us to leverage on social media in sending out the right message.’’

READ ALSO: President Muhammadu Buhari’s full speech on COVID-19 pandemic

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The South African government has launched an information service about the coronavirus on WhatsApp. The country, which has more confirmed cases of covid-19 than any other African country, has been bedevilled with manipulated government documents with misleading coronavirus advice.

South Africa introduced a law in March that makes sharing malicious falsehoods about the virus punishable by up to six months in jail.

Kenya has not been left out of various cases of misinformation as 2 men, including a blogger, were arrested for engaging in misinformation about the disease on Twitter. One of the Twitter messages which was posted by a user that has 700,000 followers said, “Blacks don’t get coronavirus.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Coronavirus

FG explains how the Covid-19 vaccines work and their composition

The NPHCDA Director said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action.

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The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has explained the composition of the Covid-19 vaccines and how they work.

This is as some of them have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and some countries, while others are still at different phases of clinical trials for possible approval.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this insight was given by the Executive Director/Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who said there were several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

READ: African Union signs deal for 400 million Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine

He said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action such as the inactivated or weakened virus vaccines.

He explained that the idea behind the formulation of an inactivated or weakened virus vaccine is to elicit an immune response without causing the disease itself. Shuaib also said there were protein-based vaccines, which used harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the Covid-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.

He added that the viral vector vaccines used a virus that had been genetically engineered to produce coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response and not give rise to the disease.

Going further, Shuaib pointed out that the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) vaccines employed a cutting-edge approach that used genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that safely prompted an immune response.

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READ: China publicly presents its COVID-19 vaccines, 2 doses to cost below $146

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that on March 2, 2021, Nigeria received the first set of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute in India and shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
  • A few days ago, the Executive Director of NPHCDA disclosed that a total of 8,491 Nigerians have reacted adversely to the AstraZeneca inoculation since the exercise began on March 15.
  • He said that Nigeria recorded 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI), presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
  • About 1.09 million Nigerians have so far been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 19th of April 2021, 70 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

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Covid 19 update symptops

The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 164,303 confirmed cases.

On the 19th of April 2021, 70 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 164,303 cases have been confirmed, 154,384 cases have been discharged and 2,061 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

A total of 1.84 million tests have been carried out as of April 17th, 2021 compared to 1.81 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th April 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 164,303
  • Total Number Discharged – 154,384
  • Total Deaths – 2,061
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,838,174

According to the NCDC, the 70 new cases were reported from 5 states- Lagos (27), Kaduna (16), Ondo (16), Yobe (6), and Bauchi (5).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 58,119, followed by Abuja (19,756), Plateau (9,035), Kaduna (9,014), Rivers (7,060), Oyo (6,839), Edo (4,897), Ogun (4,639), Kano (3,942), Ondo (3,226), Kwara (3,120), Delta (2,617), Osun (2,572), Nasarawa (2,380), Enugu (2,281), Katsina (2,097), Gombe (2,034), Ebonyi (2,020), Anambra (1,909), Akwa Ibom (1,843), and Abia (1,683).

Imo State has recorded 1,655 cases, Bauchi (1,540), Borno (1,337), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (1,063), Niger (930), Taraba (910), Bayelsa (885), Ekiti (869), Sokoto (775), Jigawa (527), Kebbi (450), Cross River (394), Yobe (365), Zamfara (240), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

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On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

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Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.

On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVX Astrazeneca/Oxford covid-19 vaccines.

On Saturday, 6th March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo received vaccination against the covid-19 as the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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