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COVID-19: FG commences contact tracing of confirmed case

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The Federal Government has commenced contact tracing of first case of reported Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country to monitor health of people that travelled with the patient to prevent the spread.


The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said this while answering questions from journalists on Friday in Abuja on measures put in place to prevent the spread.

Ehanire had earlier confirmed that an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy, to Lagos, Nigeria on Tuesday had tested positive to the virus.

He assured Nigerians that the government was working to prevent the spread of the virus.

“I am assuring Nigerians that all measures have been taken to contain and control the spread of the virus, it happened in Lagos, the state Commissioner was the first we were in touch with.

“I know the capability of Lagos State, the state has a lot of experience on Ebola so they will be able to handle the case. Also, we have sent a team from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to support the state.

“The relief is that the patient is not showing very serious symptoms and other relief is that as far as statistics is concern, 97 per cent of the case that have COVID-19 do recover.

“The terrible thing about it is that it spreads easily and people can get it without knowing,’’ he said.

According to him, the reported case is not as a result of failure to screen at the airports but the nature of the virus which may not present symptoms at that period of screening.

He commended the Lagos State Government for handling the case as the patient was quickly referred to reference laboratory under controlled transportation and the driver was fully kitted.

The minister said the Federal Government had released N620 million to NCDC for contain the virus and N71 million to port health service.

“We are doing everything possible to prevent the spread because we did not have the scope of the virus as reported by scientists.

“We have been preparing hard and working with World Health Organisation (WHO) and the agency has warned that all countries should brace up on level of preparedness.

“The government will follow the WHO guideline of screening at the airport, isolation and questioning those with travel history to countries with outbreak,’’ he said.

The minister, however, emphasised that the Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health, had been strengthening measures to ensure that an outbreak in Nigeria was controlled and contained quickly.

Ehanire advised all Nigerians to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below:

“Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

“Maintain at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

“Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance but not mix in crowd.

“Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

“Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing,’’ he urged.

“Please call NCDC toll free number, which is available day and night for guidance: 0800 970 0000-0010,’’ he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that it is the third reported case of COVID-19 in Africa after Egypt and Algeria.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama

 



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Cecilia Ologunagba: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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COVID-19: UITH suspends consultant over alleged unethical conduct 

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The University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) on Monday announced suspension of Prof. Alakija Salami as a Senior Consultant from the hospital.


The management said in a statement signed by Mr David Odaibo, the Director of Administration of UITH, that the suspension was as a result of alleged unethical conduct in the admission, management and eventual release of the corpse of a suspected COVID-19 -19 patient.

Odaibo stated that the patient died in the hospital on April 3.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that UITH accused Salami of allegedly concealing the travel history of the deceased.

It alleged that Salami, a specialist in infectious diseases, brought the patient and told the hospital that the patient only has history of abdominal discomfort and stooling, following ingestion of rotten pineapples.

According to Odaibo, the patient was then admitted and managed as a case of ‘food poisoning’ and the patient later died in the early hours of the following day.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Experts urge FG to consider expatriate law on Chinese doctors

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A former United Nations Diplomat, Mr Oseloka Obaze, has called on the Federal Government to establish that Nigerian doctors’ capacity and competence were inadequate before opening the country’s doors to Chinese doctors.


Obaze, a Governance and Policy expert, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Monday.

NAN reports that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had at a news conference recently disclosed  that a consignment of medical supply donated by a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria was being expected.

NAN also reports that a team of Chinese doctors will accompany the supply to help fortify the country’s medical team fighting the Coronavirus in Nigeria.

“A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators.

“Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts from China, including doctors, nurses and medical experts shall come along with the flight to assist us,” he said.

Obaze observed that COVID-19 management in the country was impressive considering the statistics as compared with other countries and wondered about additional value the expected Chinese doctors would bring.

He cited the Presidential Executive Order 05(8a) which says that the Ministry of Interior must ensure expatriates quota for projects, contracts and programmes were granted in line with the provision of Immigration Act and other relevant laws.

“Where qualifications and competence of Nigerian nationals are not available or cannot be ascertained, which shall be contingent on training such number of persons as may be required for the execution of the contract or project.

“So, the question is what are these Chinese coming to do that our own doctors have not been able to do?, The Federal Government must ensure that this provisions of this law are met.

“Again, human resources is the highest resource China has, they will send out as much as is possible because they have more than enough but what value are they coming to add,” he said.

The writer and politician said efforts should be intensified to ensure that the sit at home order was strictly observed by Nigerians as prevention remains the best option for the country.

On the disbursement of relief funds and material, Obaze said it would be unwieldy for Federal Government to do it centrally, urging it t o hand over the items to state governments for onward distribution.

“I have said before that Federal Government should give states the relief money so that they can work with the local governments, communities and the wards to reach the people that need them.

“This is a national emergency not politics, you don’t work out the list in Abuja, the aim is to reach Nigerians who are in their houses without food,” he said.

(
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Peter Ejiofor)
(NAN)



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Nigeria records 6 new COVID-19 cases in Kwara, Edo, Rivers , FCT

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Cases

Abuja April 6,

 

2020 The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed six

 

new cases of  the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The NCDC said two cases were recorded in Kwara, two in Edo, one in Rivers and one in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), making Nigeria’s confirmed case 238.

NCDC, through its verified Twitter account on Monday

 

night , said

 

that as at 9.30 p.m., there were 238 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria.

The centre said that 35 people have been discharged while Nigeria recorded five deaths.

NCDC said that currently, there were 120 cases in Lagos; Abuja – 48, Oyo- Nine ; Osun- 20 ; Ogun – Four

 

; Kaduna-Five; Enugu -Two, Akwa Ibom -Five , Edo- 11 and Bauchi- Six,

 

Ekiti,- Two, Rivers -Two, Kwara- Two Benue

 

and Ondo has one case, respectively.

The Nigeria News Agency, reports that

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu,Director-General, NCDC has said the agency will roll out a policy on face masks this week. 

According to him, the NCDC is almost done with the face mask policy but the draft is still being looked at by the agency.

“Last week, I did say we would release a policy on face masks. That policy has almost been completed.

“In fact, the draft is now being looked at by experts

 

to make sure that we are all alive. By tomorrow or next, we would be releasing that policy for all of us to align with,” he explained.

He also revealed that 30 per cent of the cases in the country were recorded via contact tracing.

Meanwhile, he also shared the five major targets for it response to include collection of samples within eight hours of notification, turnaround 

time for testing and results must be less than 24 hours.

Others are 2000 tests to be conducted daily in Lagos and 1000 daily in the FCT by end of week and isolation of 

patients in less than six hours after confirmation of positive results and ensure isolation of each confirmed case.

He said with the inclusion of two more laboratories, one in Lagos and one in Abuja. It goal is to scale up testing capacity and ensure that every case that meets the case definition is tested.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Oyo govt plans to conduct test on 10,000 people soon

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Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says his government plans to conduct Coronavirus tests on 10,000 people within a short time in the state.


Makinde said this shortly after he resumed work and inspected 100-bed Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo in Ibadan on Monday.

He said that the state was determined to win the battle against coronavirus, noting that if it was able to test 10,000 persons within a short period, it would equally stay ahead in the fight against the disease.

“Testing such large number of people remain the only way to get a handle on the COVID-19 in Oyo state.

”It will be impossible to ascertain the number of people who might have contracted the disease without scaling up the testing,” he said.

The governor noted that though the efforts by the government might not have hit the 100 per cent mark, there are clear signs that the state was ready to fight COVID-19.

He urged residents to continue  supporting his government, while adhering strictly to the directives issued by the state COVID-19 Task Force and medical experts.

”The 100-bed hospital is left in carcass before this administration emerged.

“But this administration took it upon itself to fix the facility and re-designate it to Infectious Disease Centre, with the capacity to serve as isolation centres for 100 patients.” he stated.

The governor further appreciated residents of the state for their prayers and support while he was recovering from COVID-19.

He thanked Prof. Temitope Alonge, a former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, who served as head of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force while he was in isolation.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Group donates hospital equipment, consumables worth N500m to Niger, Abuja, Kogi

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The Mainstream Energy Solutions of Nigeria has donated hospital equipment and consumables worth N500 million to Niger, Abuja and Kogi to help tackle the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).


Mr Gbenga Adebola, Head Corporate Communication Officer, of the company, disclosed this while delivering part of the items to Niger government in Minna.

The state Head of Service, Alhaji Ibrahim Matane, Dr Mohammed Sidi, the state Commissioner for Health and the Governor’s Wife, Dr Amina Bello received the items on behalf of the state government.

“We are donating these hospital equipment and consumables worth N500 million to help the Federal Capital Territory, Niger and Kogi states tackle the ravaging COVID-19,” he said.

Adebola said the gesture was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to the beneficiaries.

He said  the items included five ventilators, analysers, 50 hospital beds, clinical gloves, face masks, sanitisers and others.

The communication officer said that out of the ventilators, the state would get one ventilator,  50 hospital beds and other items.

He said  the items were certified high quality material of international standards.

Responding, Alhaji Ibrahim Matane, Secretary to the State Government, who thanked the company for the gesture,  said  it would go a long way in assisting the government deal with the pandemic.

Similarly, the state commissioner of Health, Dr Mohammed Sidi, who commended the donor for the items, said that there was no confirmed case of the COVID-19 in the state.

Also, Dr Amina Bello, wife of the state governor who was full of appreciation said the items would be distributed to the 12 approved isolation centres across the state.

Bello said that when the ravaging disease was over,  the equipment would be distributed to the general hospitals in the state.

She advised the people of the state to always observe the social distancing, personal/public hygiene and watch out for the symptoms of the disease and report any case to the state task force on COVID-19.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the company is the operator of Kainji and Jebba power plants in the state.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Mass use of medical masks can aggravate shortage- WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the use of medical masks by the general population to prevent spread of Coronavirus can aggravate its shortage globally.


WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said this at a news conference on COVID-19 on Monday in Geneva.

In his speech posted on the agency’s website, Ghebreyesus said the use of mask by people could prevent those that needed it from haven it.

“We are concerned that the mass use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage of these specialised masks for the people who needed them most.

“In some places, these shortages are putting health workers in real danger.

“In health care facilities, WHO continues to recommend the use of medical masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment for health workers?

“In the community, we recommend the use of medical masks by people who are sick and those who are caring for a sick person at home.

“WHO has been evaluating the use of medical and non-medical masks for COVID-19 more widely,’’ he said.

The director general said that some countries had recommended or were considering the use of both medical and non-medical masks in the general population to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“First and foremost, medical masks must be prioritised for health workers on the frontlines of the response.

“We know medical masks can help to protect health workers, but they’re in short supply globally,’’ he said.

According to him, WHO is issuing guidance and criteria to support countries in making that decision.

For example, he said countries could consider using masks in communities where other measures such as cleaning hands and physical distancing were harder to achieve because of lack of water or cramped living conditions.

“If masks are worn, they must be used safely and properly. WHO has guidance on how to put on, take off and dispose of masks. What is clear is that there is limited research in this area.

“We encourage countries that are considering the use of masks for the general population to study their effectiveness so we can all learn.

“Most importantly, masks should only ever be used as part of a comprehensive package of interventions,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus, however, said that masks alone could not stop COVID-19.

“ There is no black or white answer, and no silver bullet Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic. Countries must continue to find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.

“Mask or no mask, there are proven things all of us can do to protect ourselves and others. Keep your distance, clean your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and avoid touching your face.

“Less than 100 days since WHO was notified about the new coronavirus, research has accelerated at incredible speed.

“The viral genome was mapped in early January and shared globally, which enabled tests to be developed and vaccine research to start,’’ he said.

In addition, he said more than 70 countries had joined WHO’s Solidarity Trial to accelerate the search for an effective treatment; about 20 institutions and companies were racing to develop a vaccine.

“WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.

He further said poorer countries and fragile economies would stand to face the biggest shock from the pandemic.

“Leaving anyone unprotected would only prolong the health crisis and harm economies more.

“I call on all countries, companies and research institutions to support open data, open science and open collaboration so that all people can enjoy the benefits of science and research,’’ the director-general said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)



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Civil-19: Gombe commences training for health workers

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The Gombe State Task Force on COVID-19 has commenced training for health workers on best practices to handle Coronavirus cases in the state.


Alhaji Sale Mohammed, the committee’s Deputy Chairman, said at a news briefing  in Gombe on Monday that the training was in readiness for any eventual entry of the disease into the state.

Mohammed, also the Paramount Ruler of Kaltungo, said the committee was poised to deliver on its mandate of curtailing the spread of the disease in the state.

According to him, the training will equip the health workers with the wherewithal to handle clinical cases of covid-19.

“Already, the committee has started sensitising barbers shops, hair salons, hotel operators and traders to know the symptoms of the disease,” he said.

The committee’s deputy chairman said that the isolation centre  for critical cases of COVID-19 in the state was already fully equipped with Monitors, oxygen and ventilators.

“The isolation centres meant for moderate and mild cases are at the completion stage,” he said.

Mohammed said that so far, Gombe had recorded 17 suspected cases, sating, “out of this number, 16 cases came out negative, the remaining one sample will soon be submitted for test”.

He said the committee had received 25 number of 30-litre water containers and hand sanitizers from the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

“We urge residents of the state to adhere strictly to all preventive measures given by experts following the outbreak of the disease,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that during the training, the committee distributed hand sanitisers to the health workers as a way of instilling COVID-19 preventive habits in them.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Abia govt. to begin fumigation of public places

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Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has  announced the resolution of the state government to commence  fumigation of public places “within the next 24 hours” as part of its efforts to prevent COVID-19.


Ikpeazu said this on Monday while addressing newsmen after inspecting the relief materials bought for distribution to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the people of Abia.

He said  

the decision to fumigate public places was informed by the desire of the state government to keep the people of Abia safe from the  Coronavirus.

The governor said that “the medical reason for the ongoing two weeks sit-at-home order  is to ensure that any case of COVID-19 which manifests will be contained by God’s grace.”

“After the first 14 days, then wearing of facemasks in the state will  be compulsory for everyone. I urge those who can, to provide facemasks for their neighbours,” he said.

Ikpeazu said the state government would commence the distribution of relief materials to the vulnerable and indigent people on April 7.

He said the distribution of the relief materials would be done through the churches, mosques, traditional rulers and town unions.

Ikpeazu said the strategy was adopted to ensure that about 70 per cent of the people of Abia, especially the less privileged, would  receive the relief materials.

According to him,  the distribution will be done in a segregated manner to cover about six churches at a time, adding that the measure is aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people.

He commended individuals and organisations who had contributed to the Abia’s food bank and encouraged persons with the wherewithal to support the vulnerable in their communities.

Ikpeazu said that the “Inter-Ministerial Committee will do a review of the lockdown to determine the next step to take” after the expiration of the current lockdown in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the relief materials included,  bags of rice, bags of beans, bags of garri, tubers of yam, cartons of noodles, hand sanitisers and face masks.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)



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Ebola: DRC to declare outbreak over in 6 days – WHO

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 The World Health Organisation (WHO), says if there are no more cases of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , the government of DRC can declare the outbreak over as early as Sunday.


Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement posted on the agency’s website that the stakeholders were nearing the end of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC Congo.

““We’re not there yet, and we remain on full response mode. We’re continuing to investigate alerts and to test samples.

““This would not have been possible without the incredible health workers who have put themselves at risk for more than 18 months to stop this outbreak.

““Just as health workers are putting themselves in danger to save lives from COVID-19, health workers in DRC faced the double threat of fighting a deadly virus.

“”They face double threat of fighting a deadly virus in one of the world’s most dangerous and unstable regions – exposing themselves to Ebola and bullets,’’ he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Tuesday, April 7, is WHO’s World Health Day.

““This year, we’re paying tribute to the incredible contribution of all health workers, especially nurses and midwives.

““Nurses and midwives are the backbone of every health system. They’re there from the first moments of life to the last.

““Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are publishing our first report on the state of the world’s nursing, which highlights gaps and makes recommendations for all countries.

““One of the lessons I hope the world learns from COVID-19 is that we must invest in health workers – not only to protect lives, but also to protect livelihoods,’’ Ghebreyesus said.

Meanwhile, in an update earlier posted on Ebola, WHO said that there were no new cases of Ebola reported in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since Feb. 17.

“However, because there is still a risk of re-emergence of Ebola, it is critical to maintain surveillance and response operations until and after the end of outbreak declaration.

“This is as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria for declaring the end of the Ebola outbreak.

“Unfortunately, the response faces increasing limitations that could result in delayed detection and control of flare-ups.

“These limitations include a funding shortfall, ongoing insecurity and lack of access to some areas, and limited staffing and resources amidst other local and global emergencies,” the statement read in part.

The WHO said from March 9, to March 15, over 32, 000 alerts were reported and investigated.

The global body said of these, 2,550 alerts were validated as suspected cases, requiring specialised care and laboratory testing to rule-out Ebola.

“During this same period, 2,760 samples were tested, including 1,565 blood samples from alive suspected cases, 405 swabs from community deaths, and 790 samples from re-tested patients,” WHO stated.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)



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