Tag Archives: COVID-19 Lockdown

COVID-19: FG plans another lockdown of Lagos, Abuja, other cities

The Federal Government on Friday said it is contemplating a targeted lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and major cities in Nigeria as the number of COVID-19 cases soars in the West African nation.

Although recoveries from the disease in the country have crossed 100,000, the Nigerian government is worried that with more than 127,000 infections, many citizens are not adhering to the safety protocols.

“Certainly, even if we are going to have a lockdown, it is not going to be a total lockdown. A couple of weeks back, we analysed the data and we identified the hotspot local government areas,” the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, said.

“Mostly, the areas affected are the urban local governments in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Plateau. Even in most other states, it is the urban areas that are involved. So, if we are going to have any restrictions, it will be in these areas.

“The urban areas are the most affected and that is why we have these superspreaders and that is where we are going to target. We have analysed that and we are advising the states based on the data that these are the focused areas where these transmissions are more than the others.”

41 Million More Doses

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on Thursday noted that the country has secured additional 41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as the fight to tame the disease gathers steam.

However, the date of the vaccine’s delivery into the country remains unknown as vaccine manufacturers struggle to meet global demand in time.

“We do not have an exact date,” Dr Ehanire said on Channels Television’s Politics Today. “The date it comes out depends on when the manufacturers are able to deliver, and that is not something that any country can enforce at this time.”

Covid-19 2nd Wave: How Nigerians will cause fresh lockdown-FG

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 says the attitude of Nigerians will determine the imposition of a fresh lockdown amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Recall that in March 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari imposed a locked down on the FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States for over five weeks as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.

But speaking on a television programme on Tuesday, PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said Nigerians need to adhere to COVID-19 protocols not to risk another lockdown.

He noted that the task force has not decided on a fresh lockdown but public attitude will determine its next line of action.

Aliyu said, “A lockdown is not going to be decided by the PTF but it is going to be decided by the behaviour of the public when it comes to these rules. We have countries abroad that have very strict non-pharmaceutical intervention measures and everybody follows it. The flights are coming in, schools are open, churches are open and they don’t have Covid problem because everybody observes the rules.

“We definitely don’t want a lockdown and because we don’t want to lockdown, we need to make sure we do everything we can to prevent ourselves from reaching that state where the government will have to take action.”

COVID-19 2ND WAVE: UNILORIN begins online lectures, as ASUU insists on alternative learning techniques

The University of Ilorin has commenced online lectures for students of the institution.

Kunle Akogun, Director of Corporate Affairs of the institution, announced this in a statement in Ilorin on Monday.

The statement urged students to disregard the information going viral on social media that the arrangement had been put off.

“Management wishes to assure all our students that we are fully committed to covering all lost grounds as a result of the long break occasioned by the Covid-19.

“All necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure hitch free online classes pending the time when it will be safe to conduct normal physical lectures,” he stated.

Recall that the institution announced recently that academic activities will commence via virtual learning on January 11, 2021.

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Tuesday, insisted that Nigerian universities in the country are not ready to re-open at the moment.

The Union said it finds it difficult to return to classes in the middle of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recall that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had earlier directed the lecturers to go back to classes on January 18, 2021.

But ASUU is demanding that the Nigerian Government should review the decision owing to the increase in COVID-19 cases around the country.

“Our concern is rooted in the safety of our members,” ASUU’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

“What happens to congested hostels, crowded classrooms? What flexible arrangements are in place? It is a situation of emergency. I’m not sure the Universities can cope,” he said.

When asked if e-learning was an option for universities, the ASUU President said the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

“We are aware that some universities are putting measures in place, with alternative learning models,” he said, adding “some are even trying blended classes, virtual and physical.

“But these efforts are limited. They get to a point they can’t go further.

“ASUU has been talking about revitalisation since 2012. These are some of the areas where the assistance would have helped. Universities need huge funds to do this.

“People are saying start virtual classes, but more than 60 percent of our students will run into trouble – they can’t afford data or smartphones.”

ASUU had on Wednesday December 23, 2020 called off its ten-month-old industrial action.

The prolonged strike was due to Federal Government’s delay in meeting the agreements reached with the union.

Belgium, Netherlands ban UK flights due to coronavirus

Belgium will halt flights and Eurostar trains from the U.K. for a minimum 24-hour period starting midnight as a “precaution” against an infectious strain of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Sunday.

In a bid to prevent imports of a new, highly infectious strain of the coronavirus that’s spreading in southern England, the Netherlands on Sunday morning brought in a ban on flights from the U.K. that could run until January 1.

Belgium is now following suit with a 24-hour ban on flights and trains from Britain as scientific consultations are ongoing, De Croo said.

“Of course, that could be extended should it appear that we have more conclusive data,” he said.

The government said it is also in talks with the French government to closely monitor people arriving from the U.K. by car and will ramp up checks at the border.

The ban will take effect from midnight Sunday. In the meantime, people arriving from the U.K. are required to quarantine — something they faced anyway under Belgium’s existing travel rules — and authorities will ramp up checks on compliance.

The Netherlands had already called for EU cooperation “to curb the import to the EU of the virus.”

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced new lockdown restrictions in London and south-east England in response to the new coronavirus strain, which is considered up to 70 percent more transmissible than original variants.

COVID-19 staging a comeback, Nigeria’s health minister warns

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has warned that a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak is imminent in the country following the recent EndSARS protest, where many protesters threw caution to the wind and violated the COVID-19 protocols.

This is coming as some countries in Europe are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections and considering fresh lockdowns.

Ehanire’s warning came just as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, threatened, yesterday, to reintroduce COVID-19 restrictions in churches over alleged violation of COVID-19 protocols by worship centres

Apart from the COVID-19 breaches experienced during the EndSARS protest, the minister warned of outbreaks of the second wave of the virus in Europe and the Americas, also fuels the concern that Nigeria is not totally safe. He attributed his prediction to the high volume of human traffic between Nigeria and those countries, adding that the disruption in response caused by the #EndSARS protest, had become a source of worry to the government.

He further noted that reopening of schools would likely precipitate the second outbreak as had been experienced in parts of the world, warning that Nigeria had no reason for complacency, but every reason to wake up.

Addressing the 26th Scientific Conference and the Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), the minister observed that Lagos State suffered the double impact of being the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and also the #EndSars protest, putting the resilience of the institutions and systems to the test.

He said, “Lagos is a major international travel entry point and an extensive, vibrant metropolis. The risks are corresponding. I, therefore, solicit your support now, with propagating known effective public non-pharmaceutical measures, increasing your index of suspicion and caution, and above all cooperating with public health officials to prepare for, and respond to all emerging health challenges.

The minister announced that a national post-COVID-19 sustainability plan had been developed to guide the nation’s return to normalcy and ensure that all sectors, especially the health sector, were better strengthened and urged medical directors to embrace the many opportunities arising as a byproduct of COVID-19 and to join in the rebuilding and modernisation effort of the nation’s health system.

He stressed the need for them to explore financial facilities made available to the private health sector by the Central Bank, pointing out that the pharmaceutical industry had started off well in that regard.
EARLIER, President of the GMD, Prof. Femi Dokun-Babalola observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had been challenging for private medical practitioners, saying that it had estimated that about 2,500 health workers were infected with the disease out of a total of 60,000 infections nationwide.

“This is also likely to be a gross underestimate. Seroprevalence studies carried out in Minna by Majiya et al, a seroprevalence rate of 37.1% was recorded among healthcare workers. This suggests that more than one in three health-workers in Nigeria have been exposed to COVID-19. It underlines the need for continuous vigilance as we carry out our duties as healthcare workers in Nigeria. We have lost some of our members to the COVID-19 crises, including Prof. Lovett Lawson of Zankli Hospital, Abuja, and Dr. Bello Katagum of NIIMA Hospital, Bauchi. This list is not exhaustive. Several of our colleagues in the Nursing and paramedical professions have also paid the ultimate price,” he said.

Dokun-Babalola, who noted that the Guild had to grapple with the “#EndSars’ unrest in the country, appealed to the government to speedily address the yearnings and agitations of the protesters and desist from the use of excessive force in confronting them on the streets.

He promised that the Guild would remain steadfast in their commitment to curb COVID-19 in Nigeria, especially through improved health security as a backstop to the health system and support towards achieving health-related SDGs.

MEANWHILE, Wike said that if observed breaches of COVID-19 protocols in the state were not immediately corrected, the state government would review restrictions in worship places.

He gave the warning at the Saint Thomas Anglican Church in Mile 2, Diobu, Port Harcourt, during a special thanksgiving service, saying he observed during the service that more than 80 per cent of worshippers did not wear face masks.

He warned that if it continued, the government would be compelled to revisit its position on the number of worshippers allowed per session of such church services.

“85 per cent of those who are here are not wearing face masks. That is the problem we have. Nobody wants to obey simple instructions. The mere fact that we have agreed that we should worship does not mean we should disobey the protocol.

“My Lord Bishop, encourage our people to wear their face masks. It is very important. If this continues, then I will go back and review the restriction to say it cannot be more than a particular number,” he warned.

Abia at 29: Ikpeazu Set to Honor COVID-19 Frontline Workers, Others

Prior to the recording of the first index cases of Coronavirus disease in Abia State on Monday, April 20, 2020, the State Government, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, had mobilized the citizenry through massive sensitization campaigns aimed at preventing the disease from breaking into the state, trained medics on management of patients in conjunction with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), locked down the state internally and also closed our borders with other states.

The medics who volunteered to be trained included doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and others from state and federal government owned medical facilities as well as private clinics in the state.

In addition, isolation and treatment facilities were readied in Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Center, Amachara, Infectious Diseases Clinic of Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, and the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia.

Even with all the adequate preparations by the state, on the 20th of April, 2020, when the two index cases were confirmed at FMC Umuahia, hell was literally let loose as fear enveloped the facility and the state at large. Many of the medics, out of fear of the unknown, fled the facility and within 12 hours it was difficult to find medics at the facility. While medics who had contacts with the index patients rightly went into self isolation, others who had secondary contacts with them also deserted the hospital while some others busied themselves with issuing press statements and thereafter fled into hiding.

At that point, the Chief Medical Director, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, and a few of his senior colleagues had to take charge in order to save the lives of the index patients who were both over 70 years old and with underlying medical conditions, as well as other patients in the wards requiring critical care.

The first challenge for the Onyebuchi-led team was to find nurses who would volunteer to work at the isolation facility to support the patients and the doctors that would manage them.

All the nurses at the facility, including those trained to manage COVID-19 patients declined to volunteer for the work except for two brave hearts: Nurse Lilian Anyanwu and Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi who immediately and without pre-condition donned their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and moved into the isolation facility to care for the patients and support the medical doctors to deliver drugs and care to the patients.

As soon as he was briefed on the situation, Governor Ikpeazu directed a special allowance to be paid to the brave nurses and any other medic who volunteered to work at the isolation center. In due course, other nurses and doctors joined the initial volunteers and, ultimately, to the glory of God, both index patients survived and are living today.

Governor Ikpeazu did not and does not forget.

Meanwhile, the State Epidemiologist, Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu, mobilized a strong contact tracing team that transversed the 3 key LGAs of Ukwa West, Umuahia North and Ikwuano to knock doors of contacts of the index patients with a view to collecting their samples for testing and isolating to prevent them from infecting others. In one particular local government, they were almost lynched and it took the personal intervention of the Governor to ensure they had smooth access the next day. Even as they were tracing contacts, Lady Peace concurrently led a highly effective Medical Rapid Response Team to quickly collect samples from all over the state from persons suspected to have contracted the virus, under the guidance of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji and the Chairman of the Medical Protocol Sub-Committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Dr Caroline Iwuoha, who doubles as the State Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association.

With the contact tracing and activities of the rapid response team, the state soon recorded more cases who were moved to the isolation facility at the Specialist hospital Amachara. While other medics in the state were reluctant to join the efforts to save lives, the Chief Executive of Hospital Management Board, Dr Ijeoma Nduka, who is a public health consultant, volunteered to work at the Amachara facility along with some other medics including Dr Stanley Okerulu who was barely 27 years old then. For weeks, these medics never left the facility to go home and see family members, and between them and others, have managed more than six hundred COVID-19 patents back to good health.

Indeed, the Amachara Isolation and Treatment Centre has recorded more than 99% survival rate because of the sacrifices of Dr Nduka, Dr Okerulu and many others including consultants, residents, nurses and support staff.

In recognition of the sacrifices of these great Abians and others, Governor Ikpeazu has directed the organizing committee of the 29th Anniversary of Abia State to celebrate them with honors in order to encourage others to make similar or even greater sacrifices in service of humanity.

Those to be honored include:

1. Dr Stanley Okerulu
2. Dr Ijeoma Nduka
3. Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu
4. Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi
5. Nurse Lilian Anyanwu
6. Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi

In addition to the medics, Governor Ikpeazu also took note of one particular staff of Transport and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS) who has distinguished herself in the task of controlling traffic, particularly at FMC junction of Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, where she turns up every morning before rush hour and work through the day in very neat uniform with visible passion to ensure free flow of traffic. In recognition of her diligence, TIMAAS Officer Uche Ugochi Confidence will also be honored with a special award during the Abia Day Celebration on 27th August, 2020, at the Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House Umuahia.

In his 29th anniversary message to the people of the state, titled “Our Future is Bright”, released by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, Governor Ikpeazu “sent his gratitude to all medical and allied services workers who have been in the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 and assured that his administration will do everything necessary to protect our people. He also reiterated his deep gratitude to the people of Abia State for standing by him in prayers during the time of his health challenge. He then sent his deep condolences to the families of all those who lost their loved ones to the pandemic.”

-Chief John Okiyi Kalu (Commissioner for Information, Abia State)


BREAKING: FG reopens schools for some students, lifts ban on inter-state movement •Airports also set to reopen

The Federal Government this Monday evening, June 29, 2020, announced the reopening of schools as part of modifications to the COVID-19 lockdown, the phase two of which it extended for another 30 days.

The resumption is, however, limited to graduating JSS 3 and SSS 3 preparing to write their final examinations.

Chairman of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF), Boss Mustapha, announced this during today’s briefing by the Task Force in Abuja.

He also announced the lifting of the ban on inter-state movement but excluding the curfew period of 10pm – 4am.

COVID-19: Another nationwide lockdown imminent, Nigerian govt hints

The Nigerian government has hinted on ordering another lockdown across the country.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, said ordering another lockdown won’t be out of place, considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stated this during the Thursday’s daily briefing of the committee.

He stressed that the way Nigerians are romancing the virus was an indication of danger in the nearest future.

According to Mustapha: “This is the time to lock down if it were within my power. This is the time to lock down because I can see the attitude of people romancing with COVID-19.

“The daily increase in confirmed cases, the federal government feels a sense of frustration because we can see glaringly the danger ahead and you can see the level of recklessness on the part of people who should know better.”

Covid-19 Lockdown: Schools begin to reopen in UK

Primary pupils are back in some schools in England – but surveys suggest half of parents might have kept their children at home.

There is a very mixed local picture in how schools are reopening, and in some areas schools remain shut.

Children in Reception, Years 1 and 6 are able to return, with many having been out of school for 10 weeks.

It comes as lockdown measures are eased in England, including groups of six people being allowed to meet outside.

Schools have remained open throughout the coronavirus restrictions for the children of key workers and vulnerable children – but from Monday many more pupils are able to return.

But there have been fears about safety from teachers’ unions and some local authorities and many schools are not yet taking back more pupils – or not bringing back all the year groups set out by the government.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said children needed to catch up with missed lessons and at school they “will be with their teachers and friends again”.

BBC News education reporter Judith Burns describes the return to school:

“You look like you’ve grown,” says teacher Catherine Hughes to a reception pupil who hasn’t been in school since March.

“Are you excited to be back?” Helen Frostick head of St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic primary school in West London asks another.

About half of those who could have returned have taken up their places, alongside 15 children of key workers who have continued to come into school throughout the lockdown.

The classrooms have been completely reorganised, with desks in rows, facing forwards, instead of pushed together into big tables.

There’s lots of hand washing and the windows are open to let in fresh air.

The school has split each class into two separate bubbles with one half in on Monday and Tuesday and the other on Thursday and Friday, which allows for a deep clean on Wednesdays.

In the Reception class each table is separate, with its own tray of equipment so that the children don’t need to get out of their seats so much, says teaching assistant, Clare Gordon.

“It really is best for the family,” says mum Sophia as she brings her two sons to school.

She has managed to do some home schooling with the boys over the past few weeks but it hasn’t always been easy.

“I was 10% worried but 90% thinking it was the right thing to do,” says Julia, who has just dropped off her son.

“The main thing is for normality and for his mental health. He needs the interaction with his friends. He’s been begging to come back,” she says.


Breaking! Covid-19 Lockdown: All 50 US states reopens activities

As the country’s death toll surpasses 92,000, all 50 US states have partially reopened after a two-month shutdown.

On Wednesday, Connecticut became the final state to lift restrictions when it gave the green light to shops and restaurants under certain conditions.

But wide discrepancies remain between states in terms of infection rates and the pace of their economic restart.

Many have not met the federal guidance on how to reopen, including a 14-day “downward trajectory” of cases.

The District of Columbia is expected to announce its reopening next week.

Countrywide, the US is seeing an overall downward trend in new cases and deaths over time.

Some of the hardest-hit areas, including New York, New Jersey and Washington state are now showing the sharpest declines, while majority of states have reached plateaus. Still, states like Arizona and North Carolina continue to report increases.

Many like Connecticut have started with a state-wide approach, with varying degrees of restrictions.

In Maryland, for example, residents must stick to outdoor recreation, including golf courses, beaches and campgrounds, while states like Oklahoma now allow residents to attend religious services, get a tattoo, and even spend an evening at a nightclub.

Slower moving states – mostly concentrated in the country’s North East and West Coast – have begun regional openings.

In California, for example, some restaurants and retail locations will be allowed to open, but only in counties that meet standards for testing and declining infection rates.

Last week, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city’s social distancing restrictions until at least 8 June.

The guidelines may be loosened, however, if DC meets a series of reopening metrics set out by Ms Bowser, including a two-week decline in community spread of the virus.

In 60 pages of guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control this past weekend, the centre provides detailed guidance to particular sectors.

In schools, for example, desks must be placed six feet apart and face the same direction, with temperature checks for all staff and students.

In restaurants, the CDC advises establishments open first with limited seating to allow for social distancing, and place higher-risk workers in roles that limit their interaction with customers.

And states are advised to ensure a decline in reports of “covid-like symptoms”, documented cases and positive tests over a 14-day period.

But even as confirmed cases in the US pass 1.5 million, not all states are following the guidelines as they forge ahead.