…731 Corps members test positive — PTF
…To punish 20, 000 test defaulters
…One in five persons tested in Nigeria has Covid-19 – WHO
…Edo records 113 recoveries, 5 deaths since the second wave
By Gabriel Enogholase, Victoria Ojeme & Omeiza Ajayi
NO fewer than 731 participants in the Batch B of the National Youth Service Corps NYSC have tested positive for Covid-19, the Federal Government has announced.
This was as government disclosed that about 57 people who were being treated at various isolation and treatment centres pass away within a space of one week.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has opened discussions with the People’s Republic of China to have access to Covid-19 vaccines.
This came as the World Health Organisation, WHO, official data revealed that one in five persons tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria is positive, showing that the country’s positive rate jumped from 4.2 per cent to 21.3 per cent in the last month. Edo State has recorded five deaths, while 113 recovered from the second wave of coronavirus pandemic since December 1, 2020, as the state government intensifies efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who announced this, at yesterday’s briefing of the PTF said, from the analysis by the Taskforce, Nigeria is beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. He said, “We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We, however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.
“Week 53 recorded 57 deaths which is the highest for any single week since we started. There is also a rising rate of infections among health care workers and this calls for the escalation of surveillance.
“In Africa, Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting the highest daily infection cases. In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of batch B Corpers using RDTs.
“Out of the 35,419 in Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A. It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every state of the Federation,” he added. He said the private sector coalition – CACOVID has commenced supporting the national response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.
“Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.
While the PTF said it has commenced implementing sanctions against 100 returnees who evaded the Day 7 post-arrival PCR test, the Taskforce added that it has generated over 20, 000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted.
“The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted. Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represents a drawback to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this,” he stated.
Minister of State, Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora on his part attributed the rising cases of fatality to the late presentation of patients for treatment.
“A major factor contributing to the mortality of cases is the late presentation at the approved treatment centres. We, therefore, appeal to caregivers not to hold on to suspected cases who fit the case identification protocol for longer than necessary and refer promptly. This will greatly improve treatment outcomes and drive our case fatality rate further down,” he said.
The minister added that in terms of vaccines, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA was working with other stakeholders and partners in assessing the infrastructural gaps in terms of logistics for cold chain maintenance, storage, supply and distribution to ensure vaccine viability and reach all.
“We are also working with the Aviation Ministry to ensure strict enforcement of Covid-19 protocols at the local and international wings of Airports across the country taking cognizance of the high transmissibility of the new strain of the virus already confirmed in many countries. Particular attention in this regard is therefore being focused on passengers arriving from the UK and South Africa.
“We appeal to all states to increase testing to enable us to know exactly where we are. This will enable us to put in place mitigating measures to check transmission and provide treatment for COVID-19 sick patients. We urge all those with COVID-19 evocative symptoms to report and get tested promptly”, he stated.
Nigeria opens discussion with China on Covid vaccines —Onyeama
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Geoffery Onyeama, yesterday, in Abuja shortly after a bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, who is on a working visit to Nigeria, said: “We have received a lot of support from China in the area of personal protective equipment that they were very quick to provide us with. And of course, with the vaccine discoveries now, China is also one of those countries that have been able to discover vaccines for Covid-19. So we are also engaging with China to also help with regards to access to vaccines for our people. “Our two countries will continue to work closely on Covid-19 response and strongly support each other to a final victory which is a cure.”
Further, he said, “In the area of fostering relations, both countries are now considering having a direct flight from Nigeria to China. “We want to establish a direct air link with China. We hope that very soon, a Nigerian carrier would be carrying out scheduled flights to China in the not too distant future,” he said.
One in five persons tested in Nigeria has Covid-19 – WHO
The Covid-19 positivity rate is the percentage of all the coronavirus tests that are positive, the higher the number of positive tests, the higher the positivity rate.
As of December 3, 2020, 4.2 per cent of all the tests (roughly one in 25 samples) conducted in Nigeria returned positive.
But as the second wave sweeps across the country, the number of positive cases is rising. The WHO data show that the positive rate stood at 21.3 per cent as of January 3, 2021, a steep rise in the number of positive diagnoses.
According to the experts, a high positivity rate for Covid-19 infection is an indication of how widespread the virus is in the community. It could also be an indication of low testing. In a statement, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health affirmed, “A higher per cent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet.
“A high per cent positive means that more testing should probably be done and it suggests that it is not a good time to relax restrictions aimed at reducing coronavirus transmission a high per cent positive can indicate it may be a good time to add restrictions to slow the spread of disease.”
Nigeria has had challenges with testing since the onset of the pandemic. The country has so far carried out fewer than one million tests, compared to South Africa that has tested over 6.7 million samples, and Morocco, 4.5 million.
Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, situation reports show the country’s testing capacity still hovers between 35,000 and 45,000 weekly.
Edo records 113 recoveries, 5 deaths since COVID-19 second wave
The Edo State Covid-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, at a briefing of the State’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) chaired by Governor Godwin Obaseki, said, “Edo State has recorded 234 cases of coronavirus since December 1, when the state government started tracking the second wave of the pandemic. In that time, the state government has had a fatality rate of two per cent and a case positivity rate of 23.1 per cent.
“We have a total of 121 active cases, with 113 recoveries. Unfortunately, five persons have died from coronavirus since the second wave of the pandemic in the state.”
“There is a need for residents in the state to take the second wave of the pandemic seriously.
“Since January 1, 2021, we have recorded 46 positive cases. This is alarming. People must take personal responsibility to halt the spread of the pandemic. It is important to observe the safety protocols so as to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus.”
He added that the state government was intensifying public enlightenment to get residents in the state to take the outbreak seriously and also to mobilise the public to observe precautionary health and safety guidelines to halt the spread of the virus.