The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that Nigeria has increased its daily testing capacity for COVID-19 to over 3,500/day.
The Minister disclosed this at the daily COVID-19 PTF press briefing on Thursday. He said the country is worried about schools reopening and flights resumption, as there may be a surge in cases if Nigeria does not improve testing and contact tracing.
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Our testing and tracing capabilities have improved a lot, such that every state of the Federation has least one laboratory. -HMoH @DrEOEhanire
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) October 8, 2020
“We are especially worried, about huge COVID increases in certain countries with which we have high volume of human traffic. The Federal Ministry of Health therefore wishes to advise Nigerians against non-essential travel to high burden countries,” he said.
He added that the risk created by the movement of people could be countered mainly through improved surveillance programs, and that the government had added more testing labs across the nation to deal with the capacity.
“I wish to specially solicit that all travelers, especially arriving passengers, cooperate with border authorities to protect our people & also our health system from stress.
“Our testing and tracing capabilities have improved a lot, such that every state of the Federation has least one laboratory.
“That has increased our daily testing capacity to over 3,500/day. We are, however, still testing well below that capacity, because laboratories are receiving fewer samples than they could handle, leaving some partners to doubt our reports.”
He urged state governments to improve sample collection and also urged citizens that had come in contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to submit themselves for testing.
COVID-19: US to have enough vaccines for vulnerable Americans by end of 2020
The US said it is likely to have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate Americans by the end of 2020.
The United States, On Wednesday, revealed that the country is likely to have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to inoculate the most vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020.
The U.S. government is cautiously optimistic that one or two vaccines, likely from Pfizer Inc or Moderna Inc, will be available by the end of the year, and can begin to be distributed to Americans, officials said during a news conference.
This was disclosed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, on Wednesday, October 22, 2020.
Azar said he expected that all seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders would be able to receive vaccines as soon as January, with the rest of the American public able to get vaccines by April.
Companies participating in the U.S. government’s effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed”, have begun developing manufacturing capabilities even before any vaccination has been authorized by regulators.
Nairametrics had reported that in an open letter, the Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Inc, Albert Bourla, disclosed that it could seek emergency authorization to use the COVID-19 vaccine in the US by late November, after the US Presidential election.
The coronavirus outbreak has been worsening in recent weeks as cold weather pushes Americans indoors, raising the chance of contracting the virus. Some 38 U.S. states and two territories have reported rising case counts. More than 8 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus and more than 200,000 have died.
What this means
This announcement rules out the assertion by US President, Donald Trump, that a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready before the Presidential election. However, this news is still a huge boost for the country, which has been one of the most hit globally from the pandemic.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 21st of October 2020, 37 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 61,667 confirmed cases.
On the 21st of October 2020, 37 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,648 samples across the country.
To date, 61,667 cases have been confirmed, 56,880 cases have been discharged and 1,125 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 595,283 tests have been carried out as of October 21st, 2020 compared to 590,635 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 21st October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 61,667
- Total Number Discharged – 56,880
- Total Deaths – 1,1125
- Total Tests Carried out – 595,283
According to the NCDC, the 37 new cases were reported from 9 states – FCT (8), Lagos (7), Taraba (5), Rivers (5), Adamawa (4) Kaduna (3), Anambra (2), Osun (2), Ogun (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,733, followed by Abuja (5,943), Plateau (3,587), Oyo (3,421), Rivers (2,742), Edo (2,648), Kaduna (2,572), Ogun (1,987), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,659), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,050), Ebonyi (1,049), Osun (918), Katsina (904), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 607 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (248), Sokoto (162), Taraba (117), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara and Yobe (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.
#EndSARS: FG expects increase in Covid-19 cases in the next 2 weeks
FG has warned that the ongoing #EndSARS protest may spark up a second wave of coronavirus.
The Federal Government has warned that Nigerians should expect an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country in the next 2 weeks.
This is due to the total disregard of the preventive measures against the virus during the ongoing nationwide #EndSARS protest which has been witnessing huge gatherings.
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 (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, October 20, 2020.
He said despite the appreciable success recorded so far in the fight against COVID-19, the ongoing protest may spark up a second wave of the virus.
Mustapha said, “I can say it authoritatively that with the ongoing protest across the country, in the next two weeks the cases of COVID-19 would have increased. Each and everyone that attended the protest and did not put up any form of protection is likely going to spread the virus. When people contract the virus during the protest gathering, they will go back home and spread it.
“This is one of the reasons why we must be extremely careful when we congregate because when you gather together in such an atmosphere where people don’t wear face masks or maintain the social distance you are creating a potential opportunity for carriers to spread the virus.
“So far we have done pretty well as a country but this protest is like a setback and we must avoid a situation where we will have a resurgence. Countries that thought they have overcome are dealing with the second wave. We are extremely lucky as a nation and we should be careful of any situation that can warrant the second wave.”
He said any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place, like wearing of face masks, social distancing, and keeping personal hygiene, becomes a super spreader event.
What it means: With the expected spike in the number of Covid-19 cases due to these protests across the country, Nigeria runs the risk of having a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak which had before now been on a decline. This could lead to the resumption of lockdown measures by the government, in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.