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Coronavirus: 2,600 prisoners to be freed, contact tracing in Buhari's hometown

Nigeria

April 9: Case tracing in Buhari’s hometown, prisoners to be freed

On Monday, the Katsina state government “confirmed its first COVID-19 case”: which resulted in the death of the patient. On Wednesday, state governor Aminu Bello Masari disclosed that contact tracing efforts continued in earnest. Daura is the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Aftermath of the unfortunate incidence in Daura, we have so far identified and quarantined 35 people that had contact with the deceased. Their samples have been sent to NCDC for #COVID19 test. Meanwhile, investigation is still on to trace ALL those that had contact with him.

“This will include his clinic’s register and all valuable sources of information. Our determination in this regard remains resolute. However, we still implore on our people to respect and follow all the guidelines earlier released to protect themselves against the #Coronavirus,” he said in a tweet.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in a press conference on Thursday confirmed that the federal government was set to release about 2,600 prisoners. A decision taken as part of measures to decongest prison facilities in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said, “In a symbolic gesture of the amnesty given to the 2,600 inmates across Nigeria, 41 Federal inmates and 29 FCT inmates making a total of 70 inmates who met the above criteria will be released today from the Kuje Custodial Center in Abuja.

“This amnesty will not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, culpable homicide and so on.

“The governors of the 36 states under whose jurisdiction most of the inmates were incarcerated will complete the exercise in line with the federal principle.”

Cross River governor’s mask theory slammed

Down south in Cross River State, governor Ben Ayade is under fire on social media for a viral video in which he claims that face masks are the most effective protection against the coronavirus.

“Because I am a professor of science I know how this virus moves, I know its etiology, I know its transitivity, I know its antigenicity… because I do, I know that once you put on this mask, you already have been protected.

“You don’t need social distancing when you are properly protected, because for your mucal glands that secrete the mucus and the mucee already forms a network of coats and of course will trap the virus.

A section of Nigerians have descended on him for among others making the work of mandated state authorities difficult for example by dismissing social distancing. Others are slamming him for being a professor but resorting to pedestrian pronouncements.

Other major highlights covered below are:

  • Tally at 276, Chinese medical team quarantined
  • Government considers traditional treatment
  • Communications Commission speaks on 5G
  • Buhari orders distribution of impounded rice
  • Tally at 232, lockdown party blues, Chines aid criticised
  • Nigerian showbiz couple arrested, Chinese medical aid slammed
  • Buhari briefed, lockdown brutality criticised
  • Govt knocks Soyinka, NCDC allocates Jack Ma’s donation
  • Cases rise to 139, infected Makinde speaks
  • Buhari signs lockdown regulations, cases rise to 131
  • Adenuga donates 1.5 billion naira, Senators donate 50% salaries
  • Buhari delivers nationwide address
  • Buhari briefed, el-Rufai tests positive
  • Nigeria’s testing up by 32% after Jack Ma’s donation
  • Elumelu’s UBA makes $14m donation
  • Ex-VP Atiku donates $135,000 towards relief fund
  • Bauchi State governor tests positive
  • Lagos closes all shops and markets for a week
  • President tests negative, chief of staff infected
  • Nigeria shuts all borders, cabinet meetings suspended
  • Lagos state battling chloroquine poisoning
  • Nigeria celebrates female doctor who identified index case

April 8: Tally at 276, govt considers traditional treatment

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, reported that twenty-two new cases of COVID19 were recorded in Nigeria on April 8: The breakdown showed 15 in Lagos, 4 in the FCT, 2 in Bauchi, 1 in Edo State. Consequently the national tally stands at 276.

Earlier in the day, a 15-member Chinese medical team arrived in the country to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. There were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the capital Abuja.

Their arrival had been the subject of contention by the Nigeria Medical Association, which argued that the country had enough medics and did not need overseas assistance.

But the health minister during a meeting with leader of rge lower house of the national assembly stressed that the medics were experts who were on the frontline of China’s coronavirus fight and that they came with a special skill set.

An aide to the president disclosed that the entire team had been quarantined for 14-day period before they begin their operation in the country.

As at 09:00 pm GMT 8th April, there are

276 confirmed cases
44 discharged
6 deaths

For more info

April 7: Tally at 254, govt considers traditional treatment

Nigeria will consider use of traditional medicine in seeking a treatment for COVID-17, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire has disclosed.

According to him, the federal government will consider “serious” stakeholders in traditional medicine. He was speaking at a press briefing bu the presidential task force on COVID-19 in Lagos.

“We will look into every assertion. Some people say they have herbs and some others say they have concoctions. Only for those that are serious, the department of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine in the ministry of health will look into their claims and we will not throw away any suggestion,” he said.

“The efficacy and efficiency of these medicines have to be proven first before it is recommended for people to take.”

He addressed some ongoing medical trials saying: “the use of convalescent plasma, which is taken from people that had coronavirus that have been treated successfully”, and that such trials are under review pending confirmation.

“The same goes for hydroxychloroquine. It had been found in some tests to work outside the body, that is ‘in vitro testing’, but the chloroquine that people can swallow needs to be tested to see if it works the same way with the one taken outside the body,” he added.

The Nigerian Communications Commission says it will soon deliver a report on the safety of fifth generation network technology (5G) to the federal government. The move comes at a time when the the relationship between 5G and COVID-19 has been the subject of heated debate in the country.

“We normally conduct tests at the sites of base transceiver stations all over the country and it’s on the basis of this test that we establish whether the radiations emanating from the devices are harmful to those living there,” Umar Danbatta, NCC executive vice-chairman told Channels TV in an interview.

He stressed the safety of the technology and that the NCC is examining results from the 5G trial towards reaching a position on the issue. He said the NCC will in the report establish the propriety or otherwise of the 3.5 and 26GHz spectra.

“So far there’s no rollout of commercial 5G services in the country. This is because the whole issue of 5G is still at the trial stage and this has just been concluded.

“In the Nigerian context, what we have done so far is to embark on a 5G trial using two spectra: 3.5 and 26GHz. We’re presently studying the results of these tests and the NCC will come up with a position as to their safety.

“What we’re interested in is whether the levels from these emissions are below or above those specified by these international regulatory agencies,” he added.

Dambatta said base transceivers in the country have not recorded any station where harmful radiation was being emitted after tests were conducted, local news portal The Cable added.

As at midday CAT 8th April, there are

254 confirmed cases
44 discharged
6 deaths

For more info

April 7: Tally at 238, Buhari orders distribution of impounded rice

When Nigeria closed her borders last year, part of the reason was to combat the incidence of smuggling. The customs recorded a lot of impounding at the entry points. President Buhari on Tuesday ordered that 150 trucks of impounded rice be distributed to the poor and needy.

An aide on digital media disclosed the information on Twitter. “President Buhari directs the Nigeria Customs Service to release 150 truckloads of rice seized from smugglers for immediate distribution across the country. Part of the FG’s palliative measures to cushion the effect of the #COVID19 Pandemic.”

For the first time in as many days, Lagos did not record a new case. As at close of day Monday, six new cases were recorded with 2 each in Kwara and Edo States and one apiece in Rivers State and Abuja.

The national tally now stands at 238 with 35 discharged and five deaths. Lagos still topped with 120 cases followed by Abuja with 48 and Osun with 20 cases. All three jurisdictions are under federal lockdown.

The NCDC is meanwhile continuing with its #TakeResponsibility campaign as it shares vital information on the coronavirus pandemic and how to identify, contain and prevent its spread. It focused on self-isolation in its latest edition.

As at close of day 6th April, there were:

238 confirmed cases
35 discharged
5 deaths

For a breakdown of cases by state

In an interaction session with speaker of the lower house of the national assembly, Health Minister Osagie Ohanire defended the federal government’s decision to invite Chinese experts.

According to him, these group of medics were in the frontline of China’s management of the virus and thus they come with a skill set that no Nigerian doctor has prior. Minister of State for Health Olurunnimbe Mamora further explained that the Chinese doctors were expected to help in setting up molecular laboratories in Nigeria as well as upgrade and reconfigure existing ones.

Meanwhile, The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, yesterday in Abuja at the sixth joint national briefing said the Chinese medical experts were only coming to share experiences and train Nigeria’s medical personnel.

“They’re not accredited and cannot practice, but only coming to share their experiences. As a matter of fact, they’re in the best position of experience, since the pandemic started from their side and they were able to contain its spread. Thus, they’re only coming to share their experiences and also train some of our medical personnel,” he said.

He said the invited Chinese were public health specialists and medical engineers that would support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on advisory basis when necessary, while drawing from their experiences.

April 6: Tally at 232, lockdown party blues, Chines aid criticised

The Lagos State Police Command on Monday arraigned a popular showbiz couple for flouting the lockdown order in Lagos State. Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, and her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz, held a birthday party in an estate contrary to lockdown rules.

The couple were subject of social media bashing through much of Sunday after Funke posted photos of her husband’s birthday party. She subsequently explained in a social media post how the members of the party were pooled together.

An apologetic Funke said all attendees of the party resided in the estate where her media production house, Scene One, was based. She explained that no one came from outside the estate to attend the party and that some of the attendees had been at the place well before the lockdown order was issued by president Buhari last week.

Incidentally, she is one of the stars that the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, is collaborating with on education the public against the coronavirus pandemic.

Medical association protests Chinese aid, amid China fake news

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s doctors’ association has protested the arrival in town of a medical team from China to support the country’s coronavirus combat efforts.

According to the Nigerian Medical Association, it would be better to make use of the many unemployed or under-employed medical personnel already in the country. It also said the Chinese doctors would not be familiar with the culture or challenges of working in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health on Saturday confirmed that a Chinese medical team had been invited to share their experience on how the pandemic had been handled in China and denied that they were coming to take charge of the fight against the virus.

On the subject of denials, the NCDC on Saturday dispelled rumours that material donated by China were infected. A post on their Twitter handle read: KNOW THE FACTS
Q: Are the medical kits received by Nigeria from China contaminated?
A: NO. There is no evidence that the kits received are contaminated with the virus that causes #COVID19
They are effective when safely used by health workers#TakeResponsibility

Minister Osagie Ohanire had last week had cause to dispel claims that medical kits donated by Chinese business mogul Jack Ma were contaminated. The business man delivered a package that included – test kits, masks, medical use protective suits and face shields – to all 54 African countries.

He has since announced a new round of donation as of April 6, the package includes 500 ventilators, 200,000 suits & face shields, 2,000 thermometers, 1 million swabs & extraction kits and 500, 000 gloves.

April 4: Tally at 210, Ondo records first case

Nigeria’s Health Minister has confirmed that the country is expecting a medical team from China to help boost response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Osagie Enahire was speaking at a briefing of the presidential task force in the capital Abuja on Friday.

“An 18-man team of Chinese medical experts including doctors, nurses and other medical advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us. I must at this juncture commend our frontline workers who are doing a great job in case identification and management.

“As we prepare to contain COVID-19, we must not lose sight of other health challenges in our country. Routine health service must continue in our hospitals. Only a wing of tertiary health centres should be used for infected patients.”

He further disclosed that more medical supplies donated to support the response was due in the country soon. “I have been notified of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, personal protective equipment and ventilators,” he added.

The NCDC reported that as of April 3, Twenty new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria; 11 in Lagos, 3 in the FCT, 3 in Edo, 2 in Osun and 1 in Ondo – an index case. Two new deaths have been recorded in Lagos and Edo State.

Consequently, Nigeria’s overall tally stood at 210 confirmed cases with 25 persons discharged and a death toll of four.

April 3: Buhari briefed, lockdown brutality criticised

Nigeria’s case tally update as of April 3 stood at 190 according to the Nigeria Center for Disease control, NCDC. Six new cases in Osun brought their tally to 20 with 98 in Lagos and 38 in Abuja. Twenty have been discharged with two deaths.

President Buhari was on Thursday briefed by a finance team on the implications of the coronavirus on the economy. The president received among others, the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank governor, Minister of Petroleum Resources and head of the national petroleum body, NNPC.

Daughter of the president Hanan Buhari was also cleared after entering quarantine when she returned from the United Kingdom two weeks ago. Her mother tweeted that she had finally rejoined the family on Thursday evening.

The incidence of security forces abusing people while enforcing the lockdown has been criticised by rights group Amnesty International. The group is urging security agencies not to “abuse their powers” when it comes to enforcing movement restrictions in parts of the country.

The army has asked people to report excesses by its men by providing contacts via its social media handles. The police chief also warned officers to behave “humanely, tactfully and professionally”, stressing that conduct of officers would be monitored closely.

April 2: Govt knocks Soyinka, NCDC allocates Jack Ma’s donation

When literary giant and Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka criticized the federal government for imposing a lockdown on two states and Abuja, there was a Twitter debate as to his locus in the issue whiles maintaining that he reserved the right to his opinions.

The presidency responded to Soyinka’s critique in a press statement signed by Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

Part of the statement read: “Prof Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books, and plays for theatre. He is of course entitled to his opinions… but they cannot – and should not – be judged as professional expertise in this matter.”

The statement went on to cite how lockdowns in these times have become a key measure employed strategically by governments in the interest of public interest and health.

“Perhaps Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over. In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis,” the statement concluded.

Nigeria’s case tally update as of April 1: Twenty-three new cases reported; 9 in Lagos, 7 in the FCT (Abuja), 5 in Akwa Ibom, 1 in Kaduna and 1 in Bauchi State. As at 08:00 pm 1st April there are 174 confirmed cases. Nine have been discharged with two deaths

The Nigeria Disease Control Center has meanwhile acknowledged receipt of a coronavirus donation by CEO of Ali Baba, Jack Ma. The NCDC has since allocated the package to all states across the country.

April 1: Cases rise to 139, governor Makinde speaks

As at close of day March 31, 2020; confirmed cases in Nigeria stood at 139 with 82 of those in Lagos. The commercial hub is enforcing a lockdown imposed by President Buhari to help arrest spread of the virus.

Total tallies are 139 confirmed cases, 9 discharged, 2 deaths. For a breakdown of cases by states in real time

Currently;
Lagos- 82
FCT- 28
Oyo- 8
Osun- 5
Ogun- 4
Kaduna- 3
Enugu- 2
Edo- 2
Bauchi- 2
Ekoti- 1
Rivers-1
Benue- 1

Meanwhile in southwestern Oyo State, governor Seyi Makinde who recently tested positive for COVID-19 has explained why he is in principle not for a total lockdown.

Four states in the region are on total lockdown which has brought to the fore calls for same to be applied but Makinde says Oyo will consider a lockdown on facts and with the wider public interest in mind.

Speaking in an interview, Makinde said: “If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities is what they will eat tomorrow.

“There are plenty people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us? Can we do selective lockdowns? I think, everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern & it will need the input of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down.

“I have been watching CNN and the most successful place right now in containing this is the Czech Republic. And one of the things they brought out is that they made a law that if you must leave your house, you must wear a mask. It may be that route for us to go.

“I have asked them to start evaluating that. If we must make that law and say everybody that must go out must wear a mask, then, how about those who cannot afford it. Can we make masks locally? Can we get our artisans and our tailors to commit to that with the govt supporting?” he said.

March 30: Buhari signs lockdown regulations, cases rise to 131

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the Covid-19 Regulations 2020 to declare Covid-19 as a “dangerous infectious disease.”

A statement from the presidency noted that the president had signed the regulations “in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.”

A spokesman, said the regulations, effective March 30, 2020, “also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction / Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.”

The government’s chief lawyer, Attorney General Abubakar Malami, dismissed a reported legal challenge on the propriety of Buhari’s lockdown orders of March 29. He said the quarantine act empowered the president to restrict movement when a “dangerous disease” breaks out.

According to lockdown rules, Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs during these restrictions, “exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations,” the spokesman stressed.

Meanwhile the official tally in the country has risen to 131 as of March 30. Twenty new cases of were reported; 13 in Lagos, 4 in FCT, 2 in Kaduna and 1 in Oyo State. Lagos now accounts for 81 of the overall infections.

March 30: Adenuga donates 1.5 billion naira, Seneators donate 50% salaries

More private sector donations continue to pour into Nigeria’s coronavirus combat efforts. The latest is from Mike Adenuga a billionaire businessman who is into telecoms industry.

Adenuga on Monday announced a 1.5 billion contribution to be shared between the federal government and Lagos State government. One billion to the federal government and 500 million to Lagos government.

Adenuga is owner of Globacom, Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator, which has a presence in Ghana and Benin. Aliko Dangote, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Ahmed Tinubu are some individuals that have made donations towards the COVID-19 fight.

Meanwhile, local media portals have reported that Senators have pledged half of their salaries towards the coronavirus fight. In a statement on Monday, Godiya Akwashiki, senate spokesman, said the monthly contribution would be sustainable until the country is declared free of the disease.

Akwashiki said the senate is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that the country is free of the disease. “After due consultations following a keen review of the national efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria…

“… the Senate wishes to announce that from March, 2020, Distinguished Senators will be donating 50 per cent of their salaries to these efforts to stop the spread of the disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, in our country,” he said.

“This monthly contribution from the Upper Legislative Chamber will be sustained until Nigeria is declared safe from the ravages of this deadly disease,” he added.

March 29: Buhari’s first COVID-19 address

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has given his first coronavirus address to the nation touching on a myriad of issues from containment efforts, social and economic intervention and the way forward.

A major takeaway was the imposition of a lockdown on two impacted states, Lagos and Osun and also in the Federal Capital territory, FCT. The relevant part of his address on the measure is as below:

“Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

“This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

“The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

“We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.

“This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.”

March 28: Buhari brief on response, Kaduna governor tests positive

Nigeria’s Health Minister and head of the Center for Disease Control, NCDC, were in Abuja on Saturday to brief president Buhari on the response activities and critical next steps in the fight against the coronavirus.

Minister Osagie Ohanire and NCDC Director General Chikwe Ihekweazu have been at the forefront of Nigeria’s response to the pandemic. From the issuance of press conferences to appearance on television to respond to critical concerns.

As at close of day March 28, Nigeria’s case tally had reached 97 with over half of the cases in Lagos. One death has been recorded while three patients have been discharged in Lagos alone.

Also on Saturday, the northern Kaduna State recorded its first case with the infection of state governor Nasir el-Rufai. He becomes the second governor to be affected after Bala Mohammed of Bauchi tested positive last week.

Bauchi State has two cases, same as Osun, Edo and Enugu States. Ogun has three, seven in Oyo and 16 in the capital Abuja. Four other states have a case each – Kaduna, Rivers, Ekiti and Benue.

March 27: Tests rise after Jack Ma’s donation

Nigeria reports that receipt of donation of medical supplies from Chinese businessman and CEO of Ali Baba; Jack Ma, had shot its testing capacity up by 32%.

Africa’s most populous nation had carried out a paltry 262 tests for the virus as at March 25, local media portal The Cable reported citing available data they had seen. The sum is insignificant compared to South Africa which had carried out over 20,000 tests with a tally of over 1000 cases.

As at March 26, Nigeria had 65 confirmed cases with majority in the commercial capital, Lagos. The portal today reported that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed a spike in testing after the donation which arrived in the country on March 24.

The donation included 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields for each African country.

Out of Nigeria’s total tally of 262 tests, 84 tests were carried out on Wednesday alone, indicating a daily increase of 32 percent done by the end of March 25. Tests are now run in 23 states out of the initial 16.

March 26: Cases now at 65

Lagos continues to be what could be termed as the heartbeat of the coronavirus in Nigeria. Out of the 14 new cases announced ny the National Center for Disease Control, Lagos had twelve with the other one in Abuja and the other in Bauchi.

Ogun state is the only other state with more than one case. Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Osun, Rivers and Bauchi all have recorded a case each. In the case of Bauchi local media outlets reported that a second case had been confirmed by the state government as at Thursday.

The federal government disclosed today that inter-state travel was to be banned as a control measure. Government has shut all land and air borders but not declared a lockdown.

The United Bank for Africa Group on Thursday also announced a donation of $14 million towards the coronavirus fight in the country.

Whiles the majority of the money will benefit each state state in the country, an amount of 1.5 billion naira is also to the 19 other African countries where the bank operates, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities, and financial support to Governments.

For his part, UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu said: “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global pandemic must bring citizens, governments & business leaders together – & quickly.

“As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria & Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various Governments, in stemming the spread.

“We commend the efforts of governments & we‘re keen to partner & contribute our resources to the collective effort, that’ll ensure the response to the pandemic is swift & effective.”

March 26: Bauchi records second case

The only state in northern Nigeria with a confirmed coronavirus case has recorded a new case. Bauchi state now has two cases according to Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aliyu Maigoro, who made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday.

He said the second case is a 62-year-old patient. The state governor Senator Bala Mohammed confirmed this week that he had the virus and is currently in self-isolation.

President Buhari tested negative but his chief of staff who recently visited Germany, Abba Kyari, returned a positive result. So of former veep Atiku Abubakar has also tested positive while Buhari’s daughter is in self-isolation – as a precautionary measure – after returning from the United Kingdom.

March 26: Six patients recover, cases up to 51

Nigeria is set to release six coronavirus patients after they fully recovered from the infection. All six persons are in Lagos State, the hardest hit by the disease. It will bring to eight the total number of recoveries.

The disease control outfit said as at Wednesday March 25, the total number of cases stood at 51 with two recoveries and one death.

Meanwhile there are concerns over the relatively woeful number of testing that has been conducted across the territory. A report by the local newspaper The Cable says a total of 178 tests have been run in Nigeria as a whole. Lagos alone has undertaken 88 of the figure with 52 in Abuja, the federal capital territory.

The Federal Government announces plans to ban inter-state travel and possibly close down all motor parks as part of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed disclosed the plans this afternoon.

March 25: Former Veep donates 50 million naira

Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, has made a donation towards the country’s coronavirus relief fund. The 50 million naira ($135,000) donation was announced this in a statement he issued on Wednesday.

According to him, the donation is being made on his behalf by Priam Group to form part of the stimulus package the federal government should create for Nigerians.

He said: “I commend all all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. I further call on more more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.

“To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.”

Atiku confirmed earlier this week that one of the sons had tested positive for the virus and was currently receiving treatment in Abuja.

March 24: Lagos alerts to potential mass infection

The Lagos State government in Nigeria has announced a potential case of mass infection with respect to coronavirus. A message posted on their Twitter handle said a current patient had attended a big entertainment event that took place mid-March.

“I hereby notify you that all participants at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held on 14th March at Eko Hotels may have come in contact with one of the confirmed cases in Lagos and
are most likely to have been exposed to #COVID19 Infection.”

The message gave guidelines to all attendees including to observe strict self-isolation, contact the authorities when they notice any symptoms.

The said hotel complex on Monday announced a partial closure which it called a scaling down of operations to minimize coronavirus risk.

The award event in question, AMVCA, is an annual accolade presented by Multichoice recognizing outstanding achievement in television and film. The inaugural Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony was held in Lagos, Lagos State in Nigeria on 9 March 2013.

March 24: President tests negative, chief of staff infected

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took a coronavirus test and was declared negative by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), multiple local news portals have reported.

The test was carried out on Monday and the results delivered to the president “this morning in Abuja,” the local news portal THISDAY reported.

His chief of staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, however, tested positive for the disease which precipitated the need to test the president.

Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday after he had travelled to Germany on Saturday, March 7th to meet with officials of Siemens in Munich on the Nigerian electricity expansion programme.

He returned on March 14th, but did not show any symptoms. Twenty-four hours later he started showing symptoms following which he voluntarily submitted himself for testing, the results of which were delivered yesterday. He has since gone into absolute isolation following the test result.

March 23: Nigeria imposes partial lockdown

Nigeria’s federal government has announced a raft of measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Africa’s most populous.

The new measures were released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. The new directive borders on border closures, a strong stay-away advice for residents of the administrative and commercial capitals and suspension of the weekly cabinet meeting.

A presidential aide in charge of new media, Tolu Ogunlesi shared major highlights of the regulations that are to be implemented immediately by relevant authorities.

  • All of Nigeria’s land borders, which have hitherto been under partial closure, shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective 23rd March, 2020
  • All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at home, avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings, until further advice is given.
  • Suspension of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings until further notice. Postponement of the meeting of the Council of State scheduled for Thursday 26th March, 2020.
  • In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular is to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), which shall direct on actions to be taken immediately.
  • The total ban on international travels shall commence at 12.00 midnight tonight at all our airports.

March 22: Nigerians celebrate medic who identified index case

Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state government on Saturday (March 21) revealed the identity of the doctor who suspected the index case of coronavirus in Nigeria.

The state ministry of health in a series of tweets appreciated the doctor, Amarachukwu Allison, whose vigilance and brilliance it said “led to the early diagnosis and rapid containment of the first Covid-19 infection.

Allison is a doctor at Lafarge Plc, a cement manufacturer. The disclosure comes almost a month after the index case, of an Italian, who arrived in Nigeria on February 24, was confirmed by Lagos State and the federal government.

The Italian, who is a consultant with Lafarge, reportedly spent the night at an undisclosed hotel near Lagos airport and moved to the company’s facility in Ewekoro, Ogun state, the next morning.

He was said to have spent the night at Lafarge’s facility when he fell sick and was taken to the company’s medical centre where preliminary diagnosis began.

After testing positive for the disease, he was subsequently quarantined at the Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba, Lagos state. He has since tested positive and has been discharged by the Lagos State medical outfit that treated him.

Heroine medic responds via Twitter:

Responding to the Osun government’s tweet, Allison thanked God “for intuition and knowledge” and for the safety of her teammates.

“I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time,” she said.

“My special prayers to health workers around the world who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to all families who have lost loved ones. To all unsung heroes, thank you.”

She effectively enters the league of Stella Adadevoh, a Nigerian medic celebrated in the country for having kept out the Ebola epidemic from the country years back.

Adadevoh helped curb the spread of Ebola virus in Nigeria by placing the patient zero, Patrick Sawyer, in quarantine despite pressures from the Liberian government.

March 20: Chloroquine posioning in Lagos

An official of Nigeria’s Lagos State government has disclosed that hospitals are receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning.

Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Lagos governor has thus urged the public to desist from using the anti-malaria drug as a measure of preventing coronavirus infection. In Nigeria reports indicate that the drug’s price has been hiked since the news broke.

Chloroquine has been gaining traction on social media since some news agencies reported it had been approved for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outlets cited U.S. president Donald Trump as making the claims. America’s Food and Drugs Authority, FDA, has since disclaimed the assertion saying the drug has not been cleared for any such purpose.

March 18: Nigeria bans travelers from 13 countries

Nigeria’s federal government announced on Wednesday that it will ban travellers from 13 countries as a measure of controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

The affected countries include China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The measure will however take effect on Saturday March 21.

Nigeria joins a number of countries across the continent that have announced travel bans on countries with high coronavirus cases. Some countries have used reported cases to activate the bans. Ghana for example says travellers from countries with 100 or more cases will be refused entry.

Nigeria currently has three confirmed cases, one of which has been discharged after recovery. The index patient, an Italian, is still receiving treatment.

Citizens had on social media piled pressure on government to follow the trend and bar certain countries from entry into Africa’s most populous nation. All three cases are in the commercial capital of Lagos.

March 17: Nigeria confirms third coronavirus case

Nigeria has recorded a new coronavirus case in the commercial capital Lagos. The state government confirmed the case which involves a Nigerian woman who arrived from the United Kingdom last Friday.

Akin Abayomi, the state’s commissioner of health, disclosed the development at a press conference, on Tuesday. The National Center for Disease Control said the patient developed symptoms during her 14-day self-isolation

“She is clinically stable & is being treated at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos,” the NCDC quoted the Minister as saying. The new case is presently the only case because the first two patients had fully recovered and been discharged.

The current case is independent of the index patient, an Italian who flew into Lagos on a Turkish Airline flight. The second patient was connected to the index patient.

Most Nigerians on social media have been calling on the government to close the airspace as a measure of control. A number of African countries have closed their borders including the banning of public gatherings. Nigeria has yet to announce any such measures.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has been on high alert since the first case. Authorities especially in Lagos along with the disease control outfit, have been giving regular updates on developments.

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