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.
Smartphone to be used for daily tracking of first set to receive COVID-19 vaccine
Essential workers would get daily text messages on their smartphones enquiring about the side effects.
The first set of Americans who get the doses of the first Covid-19 vaccines will be closely monitored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through daily text messages and emails from their smartphones.
This disclosure was made by a federal advisory group on immunization practices during a meeting.
A CDC immunization expert, Tom Shimabukuro, at a meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said that essential workers, who were expected to be the first recipients, would get daily text messages on their smartphones enquiring about the side effects in the first week after they get the shot, and then they would be contacted weekly for 6 weeks.
Shimabukuro disclosed that those essential workers could be as much as about 20 million people.
Janell Routh, a CDC medical officer revealed that the advisers also discovered that the CDC and the US Defense Department have set up technical assistance teams to help state and local jurisdictions develop and implement distribution plans, which are due for review and approval by October 16.
While addressing the panel, Routh said, “We are asking states to think broadly. In their plans, I think they should have contingencies for whether there’s an ultra-cold product only or whether there’s more than one vaccine available.”
This meeting is coming up at the time when some prominent voices like Bill Gates have expressed their distrust for CDC under its current leadership over their rush for vaccine development which has political undertones.
This is as polls conducted in the past 2 months revealed that majority of Americans expressed worry over the rush in vaccine development and a third wouldn’t get inoculated.
Shimabukuro said the quick detection of safety signals was of paramount importance, while also noting that the data gathered could provide reassurance if no safety concerns were detected.
While responding to a question over public safety concerns, Shimabukuro said there would be a chance to opt out of the smartphone program. He, however, pointed out that those who had opted out could also decide to opt back in at a later time.
The head of the panel’s Covid-19 vaccines working group, Beth Bell, said that the advisory group would counsel Robert Redfield, the CDC Director, on how best to get a Covid-19 vaccine to Americans. A vote on specifics though, won’t occur until after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes action on a vaccine.
The committee is made up of 15 voting members, who are mostly medical experts and academics, as well as government and medical industry representatives.
Every jurisdiction is “heavily involved right now in planning” and have been for some time, Routh said. It’s unclear whether states will know which vaccine could be first available. Each has different storage requirements with some needing extremely cold storage.
Kathleen Dooling, a CDC epidemiologist who presented to the immunization panel last month, said 10 to 20 million vaccine doses would be available in November if a vaccine is approved before then.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 22nd of September 2020, 176 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,613 confirmed cases.
On the 22nd of September 2020, 176 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,177 samples across the country.
To date, 57,613 cases have been confirmed, 48,836 cases have been discharged and 1,100 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 484,051 tests have been carried out as of September 22nd, 2020 compared to 480,874 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 22nd September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 57,613
- Total Number Discharged – 48,836
- Total Deaths – 1,100
- Total Tests Carried out – 484,051
According to the NCDC, the 176 new cases were reported from 14 states- Lagos (73), Plateau (50), FCT (17), Rivers (8), Ondo (6), Niger (5), Ogun (5), Edo (3), Kaduna (3), Oyo (2), Bauchi (1), Bayelsa (1), Delta (1), Nasarawa (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,055, followed by Abuja (5,583), Plateau (3,304), Oyo (3,233), Edo (2,615), Kaduna (2,359), Rivers (2,263), Delta (1,800), Ogun (1,772), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,606), Enugu (1,285), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Gombe (839), Osun (817), Borno (741), and Bauchi (692).
Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (395), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), 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.
Covid-19: FG reports 36% drop in confirmed cases, disburses N32 billion to 32 states
Nigeria has witnessed a decline in the number of coronavirus cases in the month of August from that recorded in July.
The Federal Government has announced a 36% decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the month of August, as against what was recorded in July across the country.
This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, during a press briefing on Monday by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He, however, said that it is not time to celebrate as the decline could be attributed to low COVID-19 tests in the states.
“The number of reported cases daily has declined nationally in the last few weeks. We have seen a 36 per cent decline in August compared to July on national figures. Unfortunately, we cannot celebrate this until we test sufficient figures in every state,” the NCDC boss maintained.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has disclosed the disbursement of N1 billion each to 32 states in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This was part of the statement made by the PTF Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, during a press briefing of the task force on Monday in Abuja.
Aliyu said, “We have released money to the state governments recently, to 32 state governments. Each state government was given a billion naira. This is for the purpose of driving their COVID-19 responses and we are asking them to prioritize testing in addition to surveillance activities linked to COVID-19.’’
The Chairman of PTF on Covid-19, who also doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, called for greater vigilance from both the government and citizen.
While explaining the importance of the call, Mustapha noted that the country’s economy has been devastated by the global pandemic.
The SGF stressed that President Muhammad Buhari’s administration, as a serious government, is pushing through with reforms that will help the nation’s economy recover from the effect of the virus.
Mustapha said, “The call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that our economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic and we are pushing through with home-grown economic recovery strategies to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.”