COVID-19: Red alert!

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The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), yesterday, said the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases had hit 30. With two of them, including an Italian, discharged, active cases stood at 28.

“As at 5:28pm on March 22, there are 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Two have been discharged, with no deaths.,” it said.

Lagos, 22, FCT four, Ogun, two, and one each in Ekiti and Oyo.

Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said: “One of the three new patients is a 51-year-old Briton who arrived Nigeria, March 8, aboard BA75 flight. The second is a Nigerian on connecting flight KL0582 London Amsterdam / KL0587 Amsterdam – Lagos, March 14, while the third case is a 65-year-old US citizen who arrived in Lagos about six weeks ago.”

However, more cases were still being expected to be confirmed as government intensified tracing of people who might have had contact with those infected.

In Oyo, Governor Seyi Makinde confirmed the first case in Ibadan yesterday, saying the state had activated emergency operations.

The governor, who disclosed this on his Twitter handle, said an infectious disease centre has been put in place at Olodo, Ibadan, with capacity for more than 100 cases.

“The COVID-19 confirmation test for the suspected case at Bodija has come back positive. The result was released at 17:35pm of March 21, 2020. Oyo State public health officials are collaborating with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan’s team on the case.

“A follow-up on the Ekiti COVID-19 case revealed that the deceased was picked up directly from Lagos Airport to a private apartment in Ona Ara Local Government Area.

“The health authorities have contacted the family concerned and the community has been alerted for intensified contact tracing and self-isolation of identified close contacts. The information given that he stayed in some hotels in Ibadan has been found to be false,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said there were currently 39 suspected cases of COVID-19 in Abuja. The suspected patients have been quarantined and efforts are in top gear to minimise the spread of the virus in the nation’s capital.

Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Media and Strategic Communication, Abubakar Sani, acting health secretary, Dr. Mohammed Kawu, and director, FCT Public Health Department, Dr. Josephine Okechukwu, made the disclosure at a press briefing yesterday.

Okechukwu said one of the patients diagnosed on Saturday was in a critical condition, with other ailments that complicated the issue. There are three male patients and a female: “The latest patient is a male who was taken to our isolation centre. He is in a critical condition because he has other health complications. But we are trying to stabilise him.

“But others are responding well. I had a one-on-one talk with them (yesterday) and they are okay. We will keep monitoring them and ensure that they get the best care.

“We have also discharged some suspected patients who were quarantined but turned out to be negative. At the moment, we have 39 suspected cases in Abuja. They’ve been quarantined and we are following them carefully. We will keep residents abreast of developments and ensure that there is no further escalation in the Territory.”

Acting Health Secretary Kawu, while inaugurating an emergency committee, said nothing would be left to chance, as the FCTA manages the issue.

Civil servants to work from home in Lagos, Kwara 

Governor  Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State  has directed civil servants from grade 1 to 12 to stay at home for the next 14 days, from tomorrow.

Addressing journalists at the State House, Marina,  Sunday, Sanwo-Olu, the Incident Officer, said the order was subject to review, and the measure became imperative as Lagos yesterday confirmed additional three new COVID-19 cases. He stated that quarantine centres had been opened in various parts of the state. He also urged private-owned organisations to take a cue from the state government and appeal to their staff to work from home for the meantime.

While assuring residents that his administration was ramping up capacity to tackle with increasing cases of coronavirus, the governor  also urged members of the public to refrain from visiting the state secretariat.

However, the Sanwo-Olu said the directive did not  include medical personnel, the fire service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agence, Lagos State Waste Management Agency and other first respondents and essential services.

“We are working to ramp up our capacity. We have evacuated other patients our of the Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba to other hospitals, while the hospital will only be dedicated to attending to COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Also, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has ordered civil servants in the state to work from home, until the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

The governor, in a statement that he personably signed, said: “Currently, we have no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kwara State. However, as a proactive government, and consistent with our determination to upgrade healthcare infrastructure in Kwara state, I have since approved funding for the construction of an isolation centre at the onset of our administration. Now, the number of cases in Nigeria is increasing, there are a total of 27 confirmed cases.”

READ ALSO:Covid-19: Expert warns against consumption of local gin, neem concoction

Aso Villa Chapel holds  Sunday service online 

The Aso Villa Chapel, yesterday, held its service online, in compliance with social distancing rules, as Nigeria continues to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Presidential spokesman, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who disclosed this in Abuja, said it could be described as leading by example.

He said the service, which was livestreamed to worshippers across the world, “Aso Villa Chapel just concluded an online service now, where worshippers were able to stay in their homes and be part of a Sunday service.

“We were blessed with the livestreaming, kudos to the Villa Chaplain and the less than 10 people (number of staff on ground) that made it happen.”

The Federal Government had banned public gatherings, especially social and religious events, that bring more than 50 people together.

 Abuja churches flout hold services 

With the outlawing of public gatherings of more than 50 persons by the FCTA, many churches that flouted the directive held discreet services to avoid attracting undue attention that might lead to heavy sanctions like a permanent shutdown of their facility. In Kubwa, churches muted their external loudspeakers and amplifiers such that the usual thunderous choruses, drumming and preaching were inaudible.

At the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries, FCDA, Kubwa, worshippers turned out in their numbers. Daily Sun counted about 100 vehicles, while worshippers almost doubled that number. At Smile International Assembly, FCDA, Kubwa, the church was half-full as some members stayed back in obedience to the FCTA order. The pastor preached without a microphone.

Worshippers who spoke with Daily Sun said the 50-man public gathering rule would not work, especially in religious centres.

Some churches visited in Gwarimpa, Kubwa and Lifecamp areas did not also comply with the order.

In some instances, there were over 1,000 members in attendance. Though roads leading to the churches were barricaded, members in their hundreds were seen trooping into the churches.

Mountain of Fire and Miracle Church, Dunamis, among others, also held their church services.

At the Revival House of Glory International Church (RHOGIC), located at the Wuye District of the FCT held normal Sunday service but with heightened security and safety measures.

The church head, Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme ensured all congregants were screened right from the car park through all the entrances of the church and made available auto-dispensing hand sanitizers at all strategic points and the rest room.

Pastor Dandison Okunbo, who spoke on the church’s compliance  with government’s directives said: “Thank God for this opportunity because for us in RHOGIC, we comply with any directive from the government. “However for today, we were able to have the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) negotiate with the federal government and they agreed that today can be the window for us to be able to educate our members on how we go forward from this day as a church.”

The leadership of the New Life Cathedral of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Phase 3 in Kubwa informed members through the social media platforms of various groups that full service will hold on Sunday.

READ MORE:Nigeria’s Italian coronavirus patient discharged

By 8am on Sunday, the number of worshippers had exceeded the 50-man limit. However, everyone accessed the main auditorium after they got squirts of hand sanitizer on their palms. More so, the seating arrangement had been altered as distance between seats had widened.

Normal church services also held at Living Faith Church, Goshen, Nasarawa State.

At the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama, Abuja, some measures were taken to check the further spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the country.

At the Methodist Church, Kubwa, the parking lot was filled to capacity, an indication that worshippers were in excess of 50.

The meeting where the FCT Administration resolved to ban large church services was attended by the FCT leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of all churches.

It is unclear if the government will go ahead and forcefully enforce the ban to mitigate the further spread of the virus in Abuja.

Meanwhile, FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, has dismissed claims that the Administration granted a waiver to some churches to hold large services.

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Senior Special Assistant to the Minister, Abubakar Sani, described the claims as false.

Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, has advised the people in the state to perish the thought that the scourge would not survive the intense heat in Africa to cause a lot of havoc as experienced in Europe and Asia.

Rather Ukpong has advised the people to continue to take all recommended precautionary measures to avoid contracting the  virius which has the capapcity of surviving in both temperate and temperate regions and tropical zones.

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