The Federal Government has extended the second phase of the easing of COVID-19 lockdown in the country by one week.
This was announced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha during the Presidential Task Force briefing on Monday.
“We have regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that the majority of Nigerians, irrespective of status, creed, and level of education, continue to live in denial of the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place,” Mustapha said.
The second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown was supposed to give way for the third phase by the end of July. However, given the continuous rise in infection rate and confirmed cases of the virus, the second phase will now be extended.
According to the SGF, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the process of submitting interim reports and measures for the next steps had since commenced and even reached advanced stages.
Among other factors that were considered, the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir holiday coincides with the expiration of the current phase of ease of lockdown. Therefore, it became a matter of prudence to extend the lockdown by one week, he said.
What this means
Phase 2 of the eased lockdown, which ought to have come to an end on Wednesday 20 July, will now be extended to Thursday, August 6, 2020. All the existing guidelines that were earlier announced would, therefore, remain in place until the new date. The 10 pm to 4 am curfew will remain in place, and interstate movement will also be permitted outside of curfew hours. Commercial transport drivers are only allowed to take 60% of their normal passenger capacities when embarking on trips.
Mustapha noted in his briefing that global confirmed cases have surpassed 16.3 million in over 200 countries and territories, with about 0.65 million deaths and 10 million recoveries. On the 24th of July 2020, the world recorded over 284,000 additional confirmed cases and 9750 deaths, the highest ever, and a red flag to all countries.
“It showed that despite almost 6 months of tackling the COVID-19 and investments in billions and trillions of dollars, we still recorded the highest number on 24 July”, he stated.
Mustapha then urged Nigerians to be more careful and adhere to safety guidelines put in place, as current statistics show a high rate of community transmission and about 65% of fatalities for those above 65 years.
“If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors and abide by the guidelines,” he stressed.
International flights to resume soon
Considering the importance of international flights to the local economy, the Presidential Task Force and the aviation sector are working hard to fast-track the resumption of flights in the international airspace. The SGF noted that the arrival protocols for inbound flights are being worked out, and consultations will be carried out with the relevant MDAs to bring it to fruition.
Covid-19: UK to approve Pfizer, BioTNech vaccine, to start immunization December 7
The UK government is set to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc next week.
The global reception of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech following the positive outcome of its phase 3 trial, seems to have intensified as it is set for approval by the UK medical regulator.
According to Reuters, a report from Financial Times on Saturday suggests that deliveries would commence within hours of the authorization with the first immunizations using the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine possibly taking place from December 7.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had earlier in the day, named Nadhim Zahawi, who is the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.
The UK government has placed an order for 40 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which has been found to be 95% effective in the final analysis of the phase 3 trials in preventing the spread of a virus that has killed over 1.4 million people across the world with its devastating impact on the global economy.
The UK government had on November 20, formally asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to conduct a study of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with a view to determining its suitability, the first step in making it available outside the United State
The government which had secured 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford had also asked the regulator on Friday to assess the vaccine for a possible rollout before Christmas.
What you should know: The US drugmaker, Pfizer Inc, on November 18, 2020, announced that a final analysis of clinical-trial data of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, which it is developing in collaboration with BioTNech, showed it was 95% effective, thereby paving the way for the company to apply for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a coronavirus shot.
Pfizer said they had no serious safety concerns in a trial that involves almost 44,000 participants as their vaccine protected people of all ages and ethnicities.
It’s highly speculative to deny the coronavirus started in China – WHO
The WHO has stated that it can not categorically say that the coronavirus disease did not emanate from China, where reports first emerged.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it would be highly speculative for the UN health agency to say that the coronavirus disease did not emanate from China, where it was first identified in a food market in December 2019.
According to a report from Reuters, this statement was made by WHO’s Executive Director, Mike Ryan, at a virtual briefing in Geneva, on Friday, November 27, 2020, after he was asked if the coronavirus disease could have emerged outside China.
China, which has tried to dispel the idea that the virus first originated in the country, is pushing a narrative through state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers.
It claimed that it had been circulating in Europe last year before it was later discovered in China.
Mike Ryan, at the briefing, said, “I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China. It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged. Evidence might then lead to other places.”
He still emphasized that the WHO intended to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to probe the virus’s origins further.
What you should know
In the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization had constituted a team of experts to travel to China and work with their Chinese counterparts to identify the source of the virus.
The US government has been very critical of WHO as regards its handling of the health crisis, accusing them of being complicit and colluding with China in the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 27th of November 2020, 246 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were 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 67,220 confirmed cases.
On the 27th of November 2020, 246 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.
To date, 67,220 cases have been confirmed, 62,686 cases have been discharged and 1,171 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 756,237 tests have been carried out as of November 27th, 2020 compared to 749,136 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 27th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 67,220
- Total Number Discharged – 62,686
- Total Deaths – 1,171
- Total Tests Carried out – 756,237
According to the NCDC, the 246 new cases are reported from 10 states- Lagos (81), FCT (73), Plateau(39), Kaduna (25), Ogun (13), Bauchi (5), Rivers (4) Ekiti (2), Taraba (2) and Kano (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,164, followed by Abuja (6,744), Plateau (3,852), Oyo (3,721), Kaduna (3,044), Rivers (2,973), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,215), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,791), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,014), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (770), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (488), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (359), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (159), 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.