As Nigeria’s COVID-19 death toll nears 1000, the Federal Government has asked Nigerians to prepare for societal changes that will arise due to the reopening of the economy. This is in view of increased transportation, trade and human interaction, including the possible reopening of international air travelling.
Speaking during the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the situation requires efforts in order to perfectly balance the benefits of a reactivated economy with the need to keep citizens safe.
Ehanire said that Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Mask Week since Friday, August 7, and emphasised the importance of wearing face masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in the absence of a vaccine.
“Our focus is still to reduce fatality to less than 1%, not only with preventive measures but also with a strategy that encourages citizens to report early for treatment and for hospitals to attend to all patients in distress; most importantly to be able to provide oxygen treatment,” the minister said.
Quick facts: By midnight of Monday, August 10, Nigeria recorded 950 deaths from 46,867 confirmed cases, while 33,346 have been discharged after making full recovery.
According to data provided by the Minister during the briefing, 549 out of the 774 local government areas in the country have confirmed cases of the virus, with half of the cases concentrated in 20 local government areas. It is in view of this that Nigerians need to become more careful. As the minister said, COVID-19 is still around and would be for a long time.
“Until there is vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves, are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective, such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds. If we do not adhere, there could be regrets,” he warned.
Policy changes: In line with the new figures, the government is now turning its priorities to gadgets that provide oxygen to be in many facilities, including General Hospitals and larger Primary Health Centres (PHCs), as well as solar-powered aggregates, where available, Ehanire said.
He added that federal health institutions with oxygen plants should activate them as a matter of priority and ensure delivery to their Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments.
According to him, the other measure is the activation of an ambulance service that can easily and safely move patients to treatment centres. According to him, “This strategy worked well in Kano and all states should prepare to set up the system.”
He added that the National Council on Health (NCH), which is the highest policy-making body on matters relating to health in Nigeria, had approved the revised Guidelines for the Administration, Disbursement and Monitoring of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), also called the BHCPF Guidelines 2020.
This new document addresses anomalies in the 2018 operations manual and restarts the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and the process of disbursement of funds, which had been suspended at the start of the year.
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“The new BHCPF has much better country ownership structure, offers a much-improved benefit package and more robust fiduciary control for transparency and accountability. Development Partners are invited to support the new revitalization plan in whatever manner they desire,” he explained.
The National Council on Health (NCH) also approved the establishment of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS).
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 29th of September 2020, 187 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 58,647 confirmed cases.
On the 29th of September 2020, 187 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,549 samples across the country.
To date, 58,647 cases have been confirmed, 49,937 cases have been discharged and 1,111 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 509,555 tests have been carried out as of September 29th, 2020 compared to 507,006 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 29th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,647
- Total Number Discharged – 49,937
- Total Deaths – 1,111
- Total Tests Carried out – 509,555
According to the NCDC, the 187 new cases were reported from 13 states- Lagos (74), Plateau (25), Rivers (25), Gombe (19), FCT (19), Osun (10), Kaduna (5), Borno (3), Ogun (2), Katsina (2), Nasarawa (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,384, followed by Abuja (5,696), Plateau (3,425), Oyo (3,260), Edo (2,626), Kaduna (2,407), Rivers (2,395), Ogun (1,838), Delta (1,802), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,631), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,034), Abia (894), Gombe (883). Katsina (861), Osun (837), Borno (745), and Bauchi (699).
Imo State has recorded 568 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (450), Bayelsa (399), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (240), Anambra (237), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), 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: WHO, partners to provide access to 15-minute tests in 133 countries
Some nonprofit organizations in collaboration with WHO are set to make 120 million antigen tests accessible to low and middle-income countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and some nonprofit organizations have agreed to help provide access to 120 million antigen tests to 133 low and middle-income countries that can provide results in 15-30 minutes rather than hours or days.
This will enable expansion of testing, particularly in countries that do not have extensive laboratory facilities or trained health workers to implement molecular polymerase chain reactions (PCR) tests.
Apart from the WHO, other organizations involved in this milestone agreement announced by the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator include the Bills & Melinda Foundation, the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and the Global Fund, Unitaid.
The tests which are developed by Abbott Laboratories and SD Biosensor are highly portable, reliable, and easy to administer, making testing possible in near-person, decentralized healthcare settings.
Both companies’ tests are faster and cheaper than laboratory-based tests, enabling countries to increase the pace of testing, tracing and treating people for COVID-19 at the point of care particularly in areas with under-resourced health systems. The 2 firms are reserving a fifth of their production to countries most in need. The distribution will begin in October.
The agreements between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the test manufacturers, Abbott and SD Biosensor, make available innovative tests that will cost $5 each or less.
The Global Fund is also participating; though further funding is needed. They are committing an initial $50 million to enable countries to purchase the new tests, with the first orders expected to be placed this week.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “High-quality rapid tests show us where the virus is hiding, which is key to quickly tracing and isolating contacts and breaking the chains of transmission. The tests are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods.’’
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He said the quicker the coronavirus disease is diagnosed, the faster action can be taken to isolate and treat those with the virus and trace their contacts. The tests are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods.
Lagos launches N5 billion support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools
The Governor said the facility will benefit low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
Lagos State government has launched a N5billion support fund to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on low-cost private schools in the state.
This was disclosed by the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu via his Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March.
He said, “With access to funding for privately owned schools and vocational training centres in the state, we are confident that this programme, under the partnership between First Bank Nigeria and Lagos State Education Trust Fund (LSETF) will help accelerate a sustainable return to learning and skills acquisition.”
Today, I launched a N5bn support fund to help reduce the impact of #COVID19 on low-cost private schools in Lagos. The educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March. #EducationMeetsFunding pic.twitter.com/PrKjLhxBXq
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) September 25, 2020
He explained that the facility will benefit 2,000 low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
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“As a responsible Government, we are obligated to provide interventions that would enable learners in schools study in line with the new normal,” the Governor Sanwo-Olu added.
The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said “With this partnership, we are sure that registered educational institutions in Lagos State will have access to funds at subsidised interest rates to meet their needs as they reopen at this auspicious time.”