Nigeria Records Four New COVID-19 Infections, Total Cases Rise To 139

File photo/ AFP

 

 

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria has risen to 139 after four new cases were discovered.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed the new figure in a tweet on Tuesday, in its latest update on the disease.

Of the new cases, three were confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while one new case was discovered in Lagos.

 

This comes two days after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the restriction of movement in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun State.

President Buhari had made the declaration as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

Following the lockdown order, the President signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared COVID-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

According to his media aide, Femi Adesina, this is in line with the exercising of the powers conferred on President Buhari by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.

As of 8pm on March 31, there are 139 confirmed cases with nine discharged while two deaths have been recorded in the country.

With the increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Lagos now has 82 reported while the FCT has 28.

Other states that have recorded at least one case are Oyo – eight, Osun – five, Ogun – four, Kaduna – three, Enugu – two, Edo – two, Bauchi – two, Ekiti – one, Rivers – one, and Benue – one.

Buhari, Osinbajo Have Been Earning Half Salaries – Adesina

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have been receiving half of their monthly salaries before the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this during an interview on Politics Today.

“Already, the President and the Vice President are earning 50 per cent of their salaries, they are not earning 100 per cent,” he stated on Tuesday during the Channels Television political programme.

Adesina explained that both leaders opted to be paid half of their salaries since the inception of the present administration in 2015.

Although he did not disclose what purpose the unpaid halves were used for over the years, he believes both leaders have done well and will be making donations to tackle coronavirus at their own will.

Asked whether the President and his vice were donating their salaries just like the members of the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly, he said, “I can’t say for sure; the members of the federal cabinet are donating 50 per cent of their March salaries.”

“Already, the Vice President and the President are earning 50 per cent. Right from the beginning of the administration (the first term), they had elected to earn half of the salaries they should earn … to ask them to do more will be a voluntary thing,” the presidential aide added.

COVID-19: Security Operatives Foil Attempted Jailbreak In Kaduna

 

Security operatives in Kaduna State have foiled an attempted jailbreak by some inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the state capital.

The incident occurred at about 1pm on Tuesday.

This prompted operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NCDC) and soldiers to block all roads leading to the correctional facility located along Independence Way.

Following the incident, the inmates reportedly embarked on a violent protest inside the facility, demanding their release due to fear of being infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Command of Nigerian Correctional Service, Nathaniel Gagas, confirmed the protest to Channels Television.

He said the inmates carried out a sporadic protest against the officials at the facility over undisclosed reasons.

Gagas explained that the violent behaviour of the inmates prompted the command to beef up security around the correctional centre, in order to avert any possible jailbreak.

He, however, stressed that no inmate escaped from the facility while normalcy was later restored there.

The command’s spokesman revealed that Service has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the action of the inmates, with a view to taking necessary action against to prevent a reoccurrence.

Ekiti Index Case Recovers From COVID-19

 

The index case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ekiti State has been discharged from the isolation centre in the state.

The case is a 37-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus after he came in contact with an American tourist.

After weeks of treatment and monitoring at the isolation centre, the man tested negative for coronavirus.

He was discharged on Tuesday by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ekiti State Ministry of Health.

This comes two days after Governor Kayode Fayemi ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state and directed all residents to stay at home.

As part of measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, the governor had also ordered the shutdown of borders around the state.

In a broadcast on Sunday, he explained that the decision would be effective for an initial period of 14 days, starting from Monday night.

Governor Fayemi said the curfew would run from 7pm to 7am each day, and warned that legal actions would be taken against violators.

He, however, noted that the shutdown order gave allowance to the transportation of food, drugs, and other essential commodities while those on duties deemed essential would be permitted to move freely.

Ogun Confirms New COVID-19 Case, Identifies 122 Contacts

 

Ogun State government has confirmed one new case of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases recorded so far in the state to four.

The Commissioner for Health in Ogun, Dr Tomi Comer, revealed this on Tuesday while briefing journalists at her office in Abeokuta, the state capital.

She added that the new case was that of a 30-year-old woman linked to the third case of the disease in the state.

According to the commissioner, the state government has identified 122 contacts with the new case.

She disclosed that 40 of the contacts had been confirmed negative while 72 others were being monitored.

Comer asked residents of the state to adhere strictly to personal and respiratory hygiene and report suspected cases to appropriate quarters.

She, however, cautioned the people against the use of chloroquine without a doctor’s prescription.

Presidential Task Force Gives Update On COVID-19

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday gave an update on the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

The briefing held in Abuja with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, giving the opening remark.

In attendance were the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, as well as Mr Lai Mohammed (Minister of Information and Culture), Ms Sadiya Farouq (Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development), and Mr Hadi Sirika (Minister of Aviation).

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, was also among those who briefed reporters at the gathering.

Nigerian Govt Sues Supermarkets, Pharmacies Over Hike In Prices Of Sanitisers

 

The Federal Government has filed charges against four supermarkets and their proprietors in Abuja for alleged arbitrary hike of prices of sanitisers, handwash liquids, disinfectants, and other anti-bacterial hygiene products.

Court documents made available to Channels Television by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) named the four supermarkets, which also include their pharmacies as H-Medix Pharmacy and Stores Limited, Prince Ebeano Supermarket Limited and its proprietor, David Ojei, and Bakan Gizo Pharmacy & Stores Nigeria Limited.

The others are Ray Opia and Luter Irene and their representatives, Sandra Ejekwu and John Oluwagbemiga, as well as Faxx Stores & Trading Limited and its representative, Adogah Ahmed.

In the statement of claim filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the FCCPC preferred a six-counts against the four supermarkets and their owners.

The charges against them are for violating section 125 (1) (a) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018, and punishable under section 155 of the Federal Competition And Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

The four supermarkets were also charged with supplying hand sanitisers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands to consumers at a price that was manifestly unfair, unreasonable and unjust.

They were also accused of disobeying without lawful excuse, the lawful orders and directives of the FCCPC against such practices.

The commission said the allegations against the accused were discovered following complaints from consumers through various social media channels, as well as visits to their supermarkets and pharmacies by representatives of its surveillance and enforcement office.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

Nigeria Records Second Death From Coronavirus

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja on the confirmed case of coronavirus on February 28, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.
A file photo of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The Nigerian Government has confirmed the second death from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced this on Monday during the Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He said, “Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment. But sadly, another fatality was recorded over the weekend in the person of a patient who had severe underlying illnesses.

“We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them, and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat, in order to reduce the spread of the infection.”

“As of today, the 30th of March, 2020, we have recorded 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria of which 68 are in Lagos, 21 in the FCT, seven in Oyo, three in Ogun, two in Bauchi, two in  Edo, two in Osun, two in Enugu, and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers States,” Ehanire added.

He stressed that Nigeria has 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19, saying a majority of them were persons who came in from overseas.

According to the health minister, the highest number of confirmed cases are in Lagos and Abuja because they serve as the major gateways to the country.

He also informed the gathering that all retired but able-bodied staff of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Federal Ministry of Health were being recalled.

Ehanire warned Nigerians to protect the elderly among them, as well as those having underlying health issues as they were the most vulnerable.

In his opening remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, informed the audience that the briefing would be a daily event.

He explained that the purpose was to give an update and minimise the incidence of fake news in the country.

Mustapha stressed that the briefing would be the only approved briefing of the task force, although appearances on TV by relevant members would be allowed.

He announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has constituted a committee headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to care for the economic challenges that the situation may bring for the time being.

The SGF also clarified the controversy triggered by the restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He allayed the fear of Nigerians, saying workers in the financial institutions were not included in the stay-at-home order declared by the President in his Sunday broadcast to the nation.

Military Ready To Enforce COVID-19 Lockdown In Lagos, Abuja, Ogun – DHQ

 

The Defence Headquarters says the military is ready to implement the presidential order on the restriction of movement to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, announced this on Monday while briefing reporters at the DHQ in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

This comes a day after President Muhammadu Buhari addressed Nigerians on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his Sunday broadcast, the President imposed a curfew on Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

He also highlighted some of the measures put in place by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of the disease and mitigate its effect on the Nigerian economy.

READ ALSO: Senators To Donate 50 Percent Of Monthly Salaries To Tackle Coronavirus

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, briefing reporters in Abuja on March 30, 2020.

Addressing reporters on the lockdown order, Enenche said, “The Armed Forces of Nigeria is to implement all restriction on movement, in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this includes the presidential directive given by the President, Commander-In-Chief, during his address to the nation on the COVID 19 pandemic, on 29 March 2020.”

The major general stressed the need for members of the public to adhere to the order aimed at curtailing the spread of coronavirus.

He outlined the efforts of the military to assist in the fight against COVID-19, adding that the only military officer who contracted the virus was already recovering at the isolation centre located at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada.

According to Enenche, a committee headed by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations is in place interfacing with all relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the government managing the situation.

He noted that a number of Armed Forces of Nigerian medical personnel have been earmarked to be trained on the management of COVID 19 cases, in liaison with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“In the same vein, about 48 Disaster Response Units of the Armed Forces of Nigeria are on Notice To Move in conjunction with NEMA.

“These units will handle operations other than medicals that may arise in the course of this non-kinetic military operation,” the military spokesman explained.

He added, “The High Command of Nigerian Military hereby solicits for the support of the general public in this trying period of the fight against COVID-19.

“This can be achieved by adhering to all the medical and administrative guidelines being provided by government at all levels.”

Enenche also disclosed that 17 isolation and treatment centres have been earmarked across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

They are 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba and 2 Division Hospital, Ibadan in the South West, as well as the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt; Navy Reference Hospital, Calabar and Military Hospital, Benin in the South South.

Others include 211 Regiment Group Medical Centre, Owerri and 82 Division Military Hospital, Enugu in the South East, and 161 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Makurdi and 22 Brigade Medical Centre, Ilorin in the North Central.

The rest are 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna; 465 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Kano; 263 Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital, Daura and 119 Composite Group Medical Centre, Sokoto in the North West, as well as 261 Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital, Bauchi; 163 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Yola; 7 Division Military Hospital, Maiduguri and 27 Task Force Brigade Field Ambulance, Damaturu in the North East.

German Economy Set For ‘Significant’ Recession, Experts Say

A Swissair plane takes off past aircraft of low-cost carrier Easyjet on the tarmac of Berlin’s Tegel airport on March 30, 2020, amid a new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Germany’s 83 million people are currently under slightly less strict lockdown conditions than in other European nations like France and Italy, with non-essential excursions outside mostly still allowed.
John MACDOUGALL / AFP

 

Measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak will slash German 2020 economic output by 2.8 to 5.4 percent before a rebound next year, a panel of economists who advise the government said Monday.

“The German economy will shrink significantly in 2020,” the so-called “Wise Men” expert panel (SVR) said, with the exact size of the impact “depending on the extent and duration of health policy measures and the subsequent recovery”.

Like other economists around the world, the group sketched different scenarios for the virus’ impact on Europe’s top economy depending on whether it follows a “V” shape, with a sharp drop matched by a swift recovery, or a more prolonged “U” in which the rebound takes longer to materialise.

Germany’s 83 million people are currently under slightly less strict lockdown conditions than in other European nations like France and Italy, with non-essential excursions outside mostly still allowed.

But companies from airline giant Lufthansa to car behemoth Volkswagen have already slashed their operations in response.

– ‘V’ or ‘U’? –

In their central outlook with activity “normalising over the summer”, the SVR forecast a 2.8 percent drop in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, followed by a 3.7 percent expansion next year.

But a deeper “V” due to widespread halts in production or a longer period of isolation to slow the virus’ spread could bring a 5.4 percent slump, followed by growth of 4.9 percent in 2021.

In the still-more-damaging “U” scenario, with contact restrictions lasting “beyond the summer” and economic recovery setting in only next year, GDP might fall 4.5 percent in 2020, but add just 1.0 percent next year, the experts suggested.

SVR member Achim Trueger urged Berlin to coordinate with governments elsewhere in Europe and further afield on both health and economic measures to lay the groundwork for the recovery in Germany’s highly-interconnected economy.

“It’s not much good if one country, hopefully Germany, comes through the crisis relatively well, but around us, the crisis is not yet over, then we won’t be able to ramp up production,” Trueger said.

The SVR members hailed as  “welcome” a 1.1-trillion-euro package of economic support from Berlin including easier access to benefits for workers on shorter hours, guarantees for loans to business and direct support for firms hardest hit by the crisis — up to and including the state taking stakes in stricken companies.

In the weeks ahead, “optimum use should be made of the time during which the public health measures are in place in order to support the recovery and long-term economic development,” the experts added.

That could range from training and further education for workers to make faster progress on construction projects in areas affected by shutdowns, like schools and public transport.

“Further, the restrictions make fast progress on digitalisation imperative for businesses and public administration,” the economists said — with integrating IT into daily work, an area where Germany is widely seen as lagging behind.

 

– Slowing inflation –

Also Monday, inflation in Germany fell back to 1.4 percent year-on-year in March, 0.3 percentage points lower than in February, statistics authority Destatis said in preliminary data.

Some economists predict sharp swings in inflation data in the coming months, as virus restrictions alter shopping behaviour and a flood of cheap oil unleashed by a Saudi-Russian price war undermines energy prices.

March data for Germany showed “fuel above all got cheaper,” LBBW bank analyst Jens-Oliver Niklasch commented, while there was “accelerated price growth for unprocessed food”.

“The question is of course what inflation data is worth when whole categories of goods, like in the hospitality sector, are practically unavailable,” Niklasch added.

AFP

Senators To Donate 50 Percent Of Monthly Salaries To Tackle Coronavirus

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate.

 

 

Lawmakers in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly have agreed to contribute 50 percent of their salaries to the efforts to curb the spread and treatment of coronavirus in the country.

The Senate Committee Vice Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, revealed this in a statement on Monday.

“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 percent of their salaries to these efforts to stop the spread of the disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, in our country,” he said.

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

“The Senate commends the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari and the administration towards the goal of securing our nation against this plague.”

According to the lawmaker, the Senate is willing and ready to do whatever is required of the Legislature for the effectiveness of the measures presently in place, or that may be required in the future to win the fight against COVID-19.

He commended all agencies of the Federal and State governments for working in collaboration to protect public health across the country.

Senator Akwashiki noted that the lawmakers also acknowledged the patriotic response of public-spirited individuals and organisations who have contributed in one way or the other in support of this fight.

He appealed to Nigerians to comply with the directives on social distancing and observe the basic rules of hygiene, as explained by public health officials as the most effective way to protect themselves against COVID-19.

“This is a global adversity that is testing the wit and resilience of mankind all over the world.

“By staying resolute and each of us responsibly playing their role, COVID-19 like all epidemics before it will soon be pushed into history,” the lawmaker said.

Israel’s Netanyahu Under Precautionary COVID-19 Quarantine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 1, 2019.
Abir SULTAN / POOL / AFP

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides have been placed under quarantine after a staffer within his office tested positive for COVID-19, a statement and Israeli media said.

“Before the epidemiological investigation was completed and to dispel any doubts, the prime minister decided that he and his close staff would be in confinement until (tests) were completed,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

The statement did not mention the positive test of a staffer, but multiple Israeli media outlets have reported the case, which was confirmed to AFP by separate sources.

AFP