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Coronavirus

Why Nigerians, NCDC DG are opposed to the new NCDC bill

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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

There appear to be a lot of controversies trailing the recently introduced infectious disease bill that just passed the second reading at the Federal House of Representatives. This was done within a space of two hours, despite the opposition from several House members.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, is to provide an updated basis for the Government’s anti-pandemic efforts, replacing the National Quarantine Act of 2004.

The Infectious Diseases Act is supposed to create a legal framework for the Federal Government to manage special circumstances surrounding infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Covid-19 pandemic, and prevent the spread.

However, critics of the bill as it is presently constituted, have expressed fears that it could be open to abuse by government officials. The bill gives a lot of sweeping and disproportionate powers to the Minister of Health and the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

READ ALSO: Nigerian automaker raises $9 million despite protest against electric car in Nigeria

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If signed into law, the Minister of Health will have the right to convert any building into an isolation area, while the police will be able to arrest anybody suffering from an infectious disease, without a warrant.

It also gives the NCDC Director General the power to close down premises deemed to be overcrowded, in a country where millions live in cramped spaces, while officials authorized by him will be able to detain individuals without any warrant.

According to the Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Clement Nwankwo, “A new law is needed but the powers are too sweeping. There are a lot of powers in the bill which could be used for political purposes.”

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READ ALSO: NIMC unable to produce ID cards despite receiving over N80 billion

In his own remark, the Director General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that he hadn’t been involved in the drafting of the bill. He also pointed out that it required further consultation. He said,

“I’m personally not in favor of drafting a bill in the middle of a crisis.”

In the proposed bill, officials with a court order will be able to destroy any building where infectious disease like cholera, typhoid and dengue fever occurred.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Orji Uka, said, “I cannot feel confident that I trust the Nigerian judiciary to stand up to the application of such a law by the government.”

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He stated that other countries which have introduced emergency public health legislation have in-built institutions for checks and balances.

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A lot of Nigerians feel that the legislature should not be in a hurry to pass such a bill that gives uncontrollable powers to police and health officers, without wide consultations and proper scrutiny. They insist that the bill should also go through public hearings.

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

COVID-19: Jason Njoku and wife test positive

iROKOtv CEO and wife have contracted the novel coronavirus.

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Jason Njoku and Wife testes positive to Covid-19

Jason Chukwuma Njoku, the co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv and his wife has tested positive for COVID-19. However, Mrs. Mary Njoku is feeling well.

Jason,  disclosed this via his Twitter handle stating that “My enemies are hard at work in 2020. Mrs. Njoku and I tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not feeling great, but Mary is well. Literally no idea how I caught it. But we shall see this pass too.”

The media mogul did not reveal if his children caught the virus too.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Russia applies to WHO for emergency use tag for its vaccine

Russia has submitted applications to the World Health Organization for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.

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COVID-19 vaccine from Russia

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is one of the developers of the Sputnik V, has submitted applications to the World Health Organization (WHO) for an Emergency Use Listing and prequalification of the coronavirus vaccine.

The acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine by the UN health agency could help allay concerns over its safety and quality.

This was disclosed by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

READ: WHO endorses emergency use of China’s COVID-19 vaccine

READ: Covid-19: AstraZeneca vaccine gets huge boost, produces immune response in elderly

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Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine and did so before large-scale trials were complete, stirring concerns among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot, especially from the western countries.

An Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is meant to make a vaccine available globally faster, while a WHO prequalification is a global quality tag that ensures vaccines are safe and effective.

READ: Crude oil prices post losses, fears on surge in COVID-19 caseloads strengthen

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READ: Moderna to get desired result for final COVID-19 vaccine trials in 5 months

The Chief Executive Officer of RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, in a statement, pointed out that the procedures would allow Sputnik V to be included in the list of medical products that meet leading quality, safety and efficacy standards.

In July, Dmitriev had said that Russia aimed to produce 30 million doses in 2020, a goal that was this month dubbed impossible by Russia’s Industry Minister, Denis Manturov, who said a maximum of 2.3 million doses would be made.

The vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute and marketed by RDIF, is based on a platform of human adenoviral vectors.

READ: Covid-19: US FDA grants full approval to remdesivir as first vaccine to treat coronavirus

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What you should know

Nairametrics had earlier reported that President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of the Sputnik V, as the first Covid-19 vaccine to be registered in the world. The approval, which was announced even before the completion of the phase 3 trials, had elicited safety concerns from scientists.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 27th of October 2020, 113 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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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 62,224 confirmed cases.

On the 27th of October 2020, 113 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,326 samples across the country.

To date, 62,224 cases have been confirmed, 57,916 cases have been discharged and 1,135 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 614,480 tests have been carried out as of October 27th, 2020 compared to 612,154 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 27th October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 62,224
  • Total Number Discharged – 57,916
  • Total Deaths – 1,1135
  • Total Tests Carried out – 614,480

According to the NCDC, the 113 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (51), FCT (15), Plateau (11), Kaduna (8), Oyo (8), Rivers (8), Ogun (4), Edo (2), Imo (2), Kwara (2), Delta (1), Kano (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,935, followed by Abuja (6,008), Plateau (3,614), Oyo (3,433), Rivers (2,781), Edo (2,654), Kaduna (2,625), Ogun (2,014), Delta (1,813), Kano (1,743), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314),  Kwara (1,069), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).

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Imo State has recorded 616 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (479), Bayelsa (403),  Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (140), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), 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.

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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.

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.

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

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