Lagos medical workers have called off their strike action which commenced last night.
The union had on Wednesday declared an indefinite sit-at-home action, to protest the harassment they have been receiving from security agencies enforcing the nationwide curfew.
NMA’s initial position
According to a statement from the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the strike action commenced at 6 pm Wednesday evening, and was initially supposed to last until the authorities clarified the exemptions to the nationwide curfew.
The union stated that it had become hazardous for its members “to continue to provide healthcare under the present confused arrangement”. The statement cited a recent development whereby an ambulance conveying a patient was grounded and prevented from moving to its destination, even as the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained.
The union had also made it clear that its members will return to work as soon as the authorities conclude a proper implementation of the curfew with the security agencies.
IG clears the air
Shortly after the NMA made its announcement, the Inspector General of Police Mr Mohammed Adamu, issued a statement directing personnel to ensure that essential workers are exempted from the curfew, especially health workers.
The statement, which was signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mbah, called on the Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs), to give maximum effect to the orders and extend due courtesies to essential service providers so affected.
“The force is not oblivious of the sensitive, indispensable, patriotic and front line role of the nation’s workforce that falls within the category of Essential Service Providers in government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“To this effect, all essential workers including medical personnel, ambulance service providers, journalists and firefighters remain exempted from the movement restriction orders as well as the national curfew,” he said.
The decision to call off the strike appears to be a response to Adamu’s statement.
Recall that with the commencement of the gradual easing of the lockdown, President Muhammadu Buhari had declared a nationwide curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. Essential workers such as medical professionals are the only exemptions to the rule.
Nigeria currently has 6677 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, with 200 deaths and 1840 recoveries. Unfortunately, Lagos State has remained the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria, accounting for a significant percentage of the country’s overall active cases.
Ondo resident doctors call off strike
In a related development, the Association of Resident Doctors of the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital Complex (UNIMEDTHC) Ondo State, has called off its planned strike.
According to a report from NAN, the Acting President of the Association’s branch, Shittu Abiola announced this development in Akure on Wednesday, stating that the government had met some of their demands.
Sequel to their one-week ultimatum to the Ondo state government, the government had paid two out of their outstanding 2019 salaries arrears, as part of efforts to clear outstanding payments.
Abiola however urged the government not to ignore other demands, particularly the reconciliation and payment of salaries of the newly-employed Medical Officers who resumed in March, and to make subsequent salary payments regular.
Some of the resolutions the congress reached alongside their decision to call off the strike includes;
“That our salaries henceforth be made regular and paid as and when due, with May 2020 salary paid on or before 7th June 2020.
“That the new hazard allowance for health workers (50% of basic salary) be paid at the end of May as promised at the meeting with the Head of Service (HoS) on April 30, 2020.
“Immediate reconciliation and payment of the salaries of the newly employed Medical Officers who resumed in March but were excluded from March and April remunerations.
“That September 2019 arrears and January 2020 shortfall be paid on or before July 31, 2020,” Mr Abiola said in a statement.
(READ MORE: Covid-19 Update in Nigeria)
COVID-19: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team
FG has announced plans to set up an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team with the responsibility to acquire and deploy vaccines in the country.
The Federal Government has announced through the Ministry of Health, that it will inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He revealed that the need for a task force comes as vaccines would be made available globally. The responsibilities of the task force include the acquisition and deployment of vaccines in the country.
“Now that vaccines are known to be close at hand, the Federal Ministry of Health is taking measures toward vaccine security, for which an 18-man National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Team with seven Terms of Reference (ToR) will be inaugurated.
“The ToR will include generating strategies for acquisition, deployment, and options for licensed production by Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd.
“Our options with WHO/GAVI led Covax facility remains our first line of engagement,” he added.
What you should know
After news of the Pfizer vaccine went viral, Nairametrics reported that the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians will benefit early from COVID-19 vaccines when the product is made available for commercial use. He revealed that any vaccine that is deemed fit for commercial use in treating coronavirus will be made available early to Nigerians.
Nairametrics also reported plans by the Nigerian government to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
The G-20 nations announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that can’t afford it. The leaders also announced a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 23rd of November 2020, 56 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria
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 66,439 confirmed cases.
On the 23rd of November 2020, 56 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,083 samples across the country.
To date, 66,439 cases have been confirmed, 62,241 cases have been discharged and 1,168 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 743,298 tests have been carried out as of November 22nd, 2020 compared to 739,215 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 23rd November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,839
- Total Number Discharged – 62,076
- Total Deaths – 1,166
- Total Tests Carried out – 743,298
According to the NCDC, the 56 new cases were reported from 10 states- Kaduna (18), FCT (17), Lagos (6), Plateau (5), Kano (3), Kwara (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Niger (1), Rivers (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 22,968, followed by Abuja (6,515), Plateau (3,805), Oyo (3,703), Rivers (2,957), Kaduna (2,913), Edo (2,694), Ogun (2,153), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,773), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,093), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,007), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (753), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (485), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Jigawa (328), Akwa Ibom (319), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (156), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
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.
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.
ECOWAS COVID-19: Nigeria drops to 7th position in recovery rate
According to data from ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Nigeria has dropped to 7th position in recovery rate.
The ECOWAS COVID-19 daily update report, as of November 22nd, 2020, shows that Nigeria is ranked 7th on recovery rate (93.5%), 10th on death rate (CFR – case fatality ratio) at 1.76%, and 9th on active cases (4.7%) amongst the 15 member countries of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
This data can be seen on the Twitter handle of the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control.
— ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (@Ecowas_cdc) November 23, 2020
A week ago, as of 15th November 2020, Nigeria occupied the 6th position in recovery rate (93.7%), 9th position in CFR (1.79%) and 11th position in active cases (4.5%).
According to the report, there are 209,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths, 189,917 recoveries, and 8,849 active cases in ECOWAS countries. This data represents in Africa, 9.8% of the confirmed cases, 5.7% deaths, 10.9% recovery rate and 3.3% active cases.
As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
On recovery rate, Cote D”Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Senegal 97.5% and Ghana 97.1%, with the least coming from Mali with 71.1%.
Mali has more active COVID 19 cases with 25.5%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.9% and Togo 18.7% and with Senegal contributing the least with 0.4%.
What you should know
- As at November 22 2020, worldwide, there are 58,649,324 confirmed cases, 1,388,068 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
- In Africa, there are 2,057,029 confirmed cases, 49,412 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
- In West Africa, there are 201,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths and CFR of 1.41%, with a recovery rate of 94.2%.