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Coronavirus

NCDC discloses how it plans to scale-up testing for COVID-19

There is no plan to transport positive samples from one state to another.

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NCDC warns Nigerians against use of chloroquine for COVID-19

Contrary to the claims credited to Cross River Commissioner for Health and Information that COVID-19 positive samples are transported from a state to another, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has set the record straight.

NCDC, in a statement issued via Twitter on Saturday, described such claim as “a misrepresentation of the federal ministry of health’s COVID-19 testing strategy and efforts to protect the health of Nigerians from this disease.”

It said, “We would like to state unequivocally that there is no plan to transport positive samples from one state to another.”

It explained that the agency is leading the expansion of testing capacity for COVID-19 in the country and that as part of the national strategy to scale up COVID-19 testing, it is leveraging GeneXpert equipment currently used for the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

READ MORE: Reps to probe FG’s N3.4 billion failed solar power project

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“The use of GeneXpert will significantly scale-up testing for COVID-19 and improve turn-around time for results in the country. Nigeria is one of many countries around the world using the GeneXpert system to scale up testing capacity.

“This expansion process is in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), and supported by partners at US-CDC, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and others. There are 400 sites in Nigeria with GeneXpert equipment for the diagnosis of tuberculosis,” it added.

According to NCDC, it has prioritised the roll-out of GeneXpert in states where there is a high level of community transmission and states with limited or no laboratory capacity for the diagnosis of COVID-19 at the moment.

READ ALSO: Global stocks sell-off persists as resurgence of COVID-19 frighten investors 

The states are Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Benue, and the FCT. “We have worked with NTBLCP and our partners to activate two GeneXpert laboratories in Kaduna and Nasarawa States. We plan to roll out the GeneXpert testing sites for COVID-19 in every state in Nigeria.

“We remain strongly committed to our mandate to protect the health of Nigerians. We urge the public to remain aware of the risks of COVID-19 and to adhere to the preventive measures advised by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health,” NCDC added.

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Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper.The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference.The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Coronavirus

FG says N10 billion disbursed funds not only for Covid-19 vaccines

FG has clarified that the N10 billion it earlier disbursed was not only for the development of Covid-19 vaccines.

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Nigeria might fall into recession - Budget Office, FG not enjoying dividend of trillions spent on CBN, NPA, other MDAs - Akabueze

The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health on Monday, reported by NTA.

Following the announcement of the disbursement of the sum of N10 billion to the Ministry of Health for the development of Covid-19 vaccine, the Joint Committee scheduled a meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Health for clarifications on the funds.

READ: Covid-19: EU says it will force vaccine companies to respect supply contract

“The joint committee is invited to note that N10 billion has been released, to the Federal Ministry of Health under the budgetary vote referenced in above,” Akabueze said.

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Ibrahim Oloriegbe,  Chairman, Senate Committee on health, said the Committee wanted to know what the use of the funds was for and urged against the implementation of a lockdown.

“We got to see that what was released was in line with what was already there, for preparing the country for all other vaccines arrangements

“So our economy, we only need to live with covid, we cannot with due respect, contaminate Nigeria with a lockdown, it will badly affect our economy,” Oloriegbe said.

READ: Covid-19: U.S. donates field hospital worth $1.3m to Nigeria

The committee also said the total aim is to see how Nigeria can develop its capacity towards the development of vaccines,

The Joint Committee, therefore, resolved that the Minister of Health who was absent at the meeting should appear before it on Tuesday for a breakdown on the proposed use of the funds.

What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: U.S. donates field hospital worth $1.3m to Nigeria

The United States of America has donated a field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.

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NPHCDA to address infrastructural gaps in COVID-19 vaccine supply, FG to focus on procurement of Covid-19 vaccine in first quarter 2021

The United States has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria.

The U.S. has donated field hospital worth $1.3 million to Nigeria, in a bid to further contain the spread of Covid-19 cases and its related deaths.

According to a report by The Nation, the field hospital is located at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja.

READ: COVID-19: India donates $50 million worth essential medicines to Nigeria, others

The facility contains four fully equipped, negative pressure isolation facilities with the capacity to house up to 40 patients, an administrative unit, a 160-kw auxiliary generator, as well as other support equipment such as beds, sub-floors, showers and lavatories.

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The facility was donated to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health by the United States Department of Defence’s U.S. Africa Command, with support from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

READ: Japan grants $9.4 million to Nigeria for the provision of medical equipment

The facility was manufactured and built in the US by Alaska Structures, while a team of Nigerians assembled it in Abuja.

The facility was commissioned by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard.

What they are saying

Ambassador Leonard noted that:

“As we celebrate 60 years of U.S.-Nigeria diplomatic relations, and many years of health partnerships, it is deeply satisfying to look back on the many ways we have worked together to improve the health, safety and security of the Nigerian people,

“Supporting the healthcare workers who are caring for patients at this facility and across the country, is critical to Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

READ: COVID-19: Moderna set to launch a new vaccine for virus strain found in South Africa

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What you should know

According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Monday 25th January 2021

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  • The total number of cases stood at 122,996.
  • The total number of death stood at 1,507.
  • The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,270,523.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: FG extends phase 3 eased lockdown by one month

The FG has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month.

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FG approves reopening of NYSC camps, extends tenure of PTF on COVID-19, FG commences process of resumption of international flight operations in weeks, COVID-19: Reactions trail FG travel ban on 13 countries, FG inaugurates 16 members to PENCOM board

The Federal Government has announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

This follows the rising cases of coronavirus disease across the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, January 25, 2021.

Mustapha said that over the last few weeks, the PTF had been closely following the rising number of infections reported daily in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions.

He stated that the daily statistics for Nigeria as at January 24, indicated that cases were 121,566, with about 1,270,523 tests conducted so far. The active cases were 22,834, which is about 19.4%, with 1,504 casualties and 97,228 patients discharged.

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He also said that over 7 days ending January 23, the statistics showed that tests conducted were 58,974 while cases recorded were 11,179, with 62 deaths and 23,568 active cases.

What the Chairman of PTF on Covid-19 is saying

While speaking on phase 3 eased lockdown, Mustapha said the PTF is reviewing the guidelines on the implementation of phase 3 of the eased lockdown which is due to expire on Monday, January 25, 2021.

He said, “In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating, all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26.’’

On PTF’s management of Covid-19, the PTF chairman said, “The management of cases is gradually improving with the availability of medical oxygen. Government is also fast-tracking the rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new ones as approved by the President.

“The PTF has advanced in the deployment of resources for the national testing week and continues to review the bottlenecks affecting the turnaround time for testing.

“The PTF is improving on the International Travel Portal to minimise the challenges passengers keep encountering,” he said.

He also said the country is expected to take the delivery of 100,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in early February with assurances that the vaccines will be safe and effective when eventually deployed.

What you should know

  • The Federal Government had in September 2020, announced the easing of lockdown guidelines for phase 3 due to a drop in the number of Covid-19 infections across the country.
  • However, following, a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country with a record number of daily infections recorded, the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Governments has moved to ensure the strict enforcement of the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines to curb its spread.

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