COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu Suspends Okada Operations, Announces New Measures To Ease Lockdown

Ahead of the May 4th expiration of the lockdown imposed by the Federal Government on Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Lagos State Government has introduced a strict framework for movement and re-opening of businesses.

The set of new guidelines, according to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his ninth briefing at the State House in Marina on Wednesday, are to safeguard the gains which the State had made in the past four weeks in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From next Monday, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government will be implementing the dusk-to-dawn curfew announced by President Muhammadu Buhari last Monday as part of the phased measures to reduce risk of contagion of the COVID-19 disease among the residents and to consolidate on the response strategy deployed to combat the pandemic.

The Governor’s new framework made fundamental changes to public transportation system and business dealings at corporate offices, local markets and malls.

All passenger buses are not permitted to load to full capacity, Sanwo-Olu ordered in the new guidelines. All commercial vehicles, the Governor said, must carry maximum of 60 per cent of full capacity and their drivers must use face mask and observe other prescribed hygiene tips.

The Governor also suspended the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, across the state, with the exception of those used for courier and logistics purposes.

Sanwo-Olu directed the drivers of tricycles (Keke NAPEP) operating in unrestricted areas not to carry more than two passengers per trip, adding that the passengers must keep appropriate distance.

Besides, food handlers at public eateries and restaurants have been mandated by the State Government to wear masks and hand gloves at all times, especially during the preparation and serving of foods.

Only take-out meals and delivery services will be permitted at eateries and restaurants, Sanwo-Olu ordered, warning that in-dining services will not be allowed at the moment.

Read Also: Lagos Discharges 49 Recovered COVID-19 Patients

The Governor said all businesses that will re-open next week must operate between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The new directive on business operating hours affects all corporate firms, banks, malls and local markets.

He said: “Following the culmination of the second phase of the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, and the nationwide address by President Muhammadu Buhari, it has become imperative for me to address our residents and to share a broader framework for the implementation of the President’s directives here in Lagos.

“There will be a dusk-to-dawn curfew from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am daily. This means that we expect all Lagos residents to stay in their homes in these hours, except those in essential services.

“All commuters are mandated to wear face masks at all times, sanitise with alcohol-based sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and running water before and after of every trip. All motor parks and garages must avoid overcrowding. Social distancing is required for passengers queuing up to board buses.

“All buses should be loaded to a maximum of 60 per cent of full capacity. No standing allowed in all BRT and LBSL bus operations. All air- conditioning systems in public transport systems must be switched off.

“Commercial Motorcycles, popularly known as Okadas, are to suspend their operations statewide, except for those motorcycles used for courier and logistics purposes. Tricycles (Kekes) operating in unrestricted areas, must not carry more than two passengers per trip and must ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained between passengers.”

In addition, the Governor announced the restriction of operating hours of water transportation companies to the period between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm daily.

He said under no circumstance should vehicles carrying food items have more than seven passengers.

All public and private schools from primary level to tertiary education must remain closed, Sanwo-Olu directed. He said online classes and lessons that had already been started must continue until further notice.

The Governor added that businesses will be allowed to operate within “Controlled Easing Phase” framework, clarifying that the expiration of the lockdown was not a directive for the full reopening of the economy.

“It is a gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown. We will continue to monitor the public health situation; the economic impact of the lockdown and always adjust our responses accordingly,” the Governor said.

The Governor acknowledged the role of banking sector in sustaining the economy, urging banks to open all their branches and offer full complement of their services to the public. He, however, said banking operations must fall within the stipulated hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, adding that banks’ managements must ensure regular cleaning and decontamination of their ATM machines and devices regularly used by the public.

He said: “Companies that choose to operate within this Controlled Easing Phase are to operate between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. They are also directed to operate at a maximum of 60 per cent of their staff capacity. Some non-essential workers can continue to work online and remotely from the office. Online and work-from-home arrangements are highly encouraged to continue as much as is practicable.

“All entertainment centres, such as event centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, day clubs, nightclubs and beaches shall remain closed till further notice. Swimming pools, gyms, barber-shops, Spas, beauty salons, and all public parks, including those in private and residential estates, will continue to remain closed for another two weeks in the instance, at which point we will review and advise on the permissible opening date for these establishments.”

Sanwo-Olu said the Government’s whistleblower channels would be fully opened to report companies that would flout the new directives. He said whistleblowers would be guaranteed full protection and their identities will be kept strictly confidential.

The Governor also announced that he would inaugurate a Committee on Thursday, which will comprise representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Private Transport Operators, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.

The committee, he said, will be charged with the responsibility of communicating the new State Government’s framework to their members for ease of implementation and compliance.

Govt Offices, Banks Can Open From Monday, Says PTF

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday the 4th of May.

This follows the approval of a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allow for the restoration of socio-economic activities.

However, there would be a 6:00 am to 8:00 pm curfew to regulate the movement of people.

Giving a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown will be implemented, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, said all government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday.

“For government offices, staff will be allowed to resume from the 4th of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days, so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in the offices,” he said.

For financial institutions such as banks, the PTF coordinator noted that they will be allowed to open but only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, while also ensuring that staff and customers adhere to the hygiene and social distancing measures.

Aliyu stressed that the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks and other hygiene measures.

On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home deliveries of food items.

While partial operations will be allowed for the above sectors, academic institutions were, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.

Fire Guts Several Shops In Kaduna

 

No fewer than 20 shops including a pharmacy are currently on fire in Kaduna State.

The incident started at about 7:00 pm on Wednesday along Constitution road in the state capital and the cause is yet to be known.

At the time of filing this report, officials of the state fire service and other emergency response agencies were yet to arrive at the scene.

However, residents of the area, as well as passers-by were seen making frantic efforts to put it out.

Unfortunately, most of the shop owners are not around due the lockdown imposed on the state as a result of the COVID-19.

Lagos Discharges 49 Recovered COVID-19 Patients

A photo of beds at one of the isolation centres in Lagos. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Lagos State Government has announced the discharge of 49 recovered COVID-19 patients.

According to a tweet by the state Ministry of Health on Wednesday, the discharged patients consist of 28 female and 21 male, one of which was a Greek national.

They were discharged from the Yaba and Onikan isolation facilities.

 

 

With the latest development, the number of recoveries in the state now stands at 187.

But despite the encouraging figures, the state has remained the epicentre of the virus with a total of  844 infections.

In the early hours of Wednesday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had announced 195 new cases in the country, of which 80 were identified in Lagos.

As part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus, among other things, the state government has kicked off the compulsory wearing of masks even as a phased easing of the lockdown has been approved by the president (from May 4), to allow for the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors

“Dear Lagosians, even as we observe the lockdown, we are kicking off #MaskUpLagos; the COMPULSORY wearing of face masks in Lagos Face masks help to protect us from droplets and secretions from coughing, sneezing etc as not everyone that is infected will show symptoms,” governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu tweeted on Sunday.

“Face masks, combined with frequent hand washing, being conscious about NOT touching our face, as well as #SocialDistancing, are effective in slowing the spread,”.

To drive this initiative, the state government announced that it is currently producing about three million face masks for distribution to the vulnerable.

With the 195 new infections, Nigeria’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at 1,532.

Apart from the 80 in Lagos, 38 were recorded in Kano, while 15 were recorded in the Ogun State and Bauchi State each as of 12:00 am today.

In Borno state 11 cases were recorded, 10 in Gombe, Nine in Sokoto, five in Edo and Jigawa, two in Zamfara and one each in Rivers, Enugu, Delta, FCT and Nasarawa.

So far, a total of 44 deaths have been recorded in the country.

How Easing Of Lockdown Will Be Implemented – PTF

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has given a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be implemented.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday April 27, approved that as from May 4, the lockdown could be eased in phases to allow the recommencement of socio-economic activities, as with a 6:00 am t 8:00 pm curfew in place.

But according to the National Coordinator of the Task Force, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks, and other hygiene methods.

On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Financial institutions such as banks will be allowed to open but there will be restriction of opening hours between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in in-home delivery of food.

Academic institutions are, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.

As for government staff, he stated that they will be allowed to resume based on specific grade levels and specific days, so as to reduce the level of congestion at the workplace.

Lagos Records 80 New COVID-19 Cases

 

Lagos State has recorded 80 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state now to 844.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in the early hours of Wednesday while announcing that the country had recorded 195 new cases.

Read Also: Nigeria Records 195 New Cases Of COVID-19, Total Infections Now 1,532

As the epicentre of the virus, the Federal Government had announced a two-week lockdown in Lagos, on March 29, which became effective on Monday, March 30, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

The lockdown order also applied to the FCT and Ogun State.

It was further extended by another two weeks, which came to an end on Monday, April 27.

The President, however, announced another extension by one week, after which he approved a phased easing of the lockdown to allow for the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors

This, according to the president, will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has kicked off the compulsory wearing of masks in the state as part of efforts in the fight against the COVID-19.

Dear Lagosians, even as we observe the lockdown, we are kicking off #MaskUpLagos; the COMPULSORY wearing of face masks in Lagos Face masks help to protect us from droplets and secretions from coughing, sneezing etc as not everyone that is infected will show symptoms,” the governor tweeted on Sunday.

“Face masks, combined with frequent hand washing, being conscious about NOT touching our face, as well as #SocialDistancing, are effective in slowing the spread,”.

To drive this initiative, the state government announced that it is currently producing about three million face masks for distribution to the vulnerable.

With the 195 new infections, Nigeria’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at 1,532.

Apart from the 80 in Lagos, 38 were recorded in Kano, while 15 were recorded in the Ogun State and Bauchi State each.

In Borno state 11 cases were recorded, 10 in Gombe, Nine in Sokoto, five in Edo and Jigawa, two in Zamfara and one each in Rivers, Enugu, Delta, FCT and Nasarawa.

So far, a total of 225 have been discharged while 44 deaths have been recorded in the country.

Emergency Phase For Lassa Fever Outbreak Now Over – NCDC

Death Toll Rises To 75, As NCDC Confirms 355 Cases Of Lassa Fever

 

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has declared the emergency phase of the 2020 Lassa fever outbreak, over.

This, according to the agency, follows a successive decline in cases below the emergency threshold, and an epidemiological review carried out by it (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

On January 24, 2020, the NCDC had declared a Lassa fever outbreak and activated a national Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

This was in response to an increase in Lassa fever cases at the beginning of the year, exceeding the threshold for an outbreak.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 979 confirmed cases including 188 deaths have been recorded from 27 States including the Federal Capital Territory as of April 19, 2020.

But according to the NCDC, the Lassa fever case count has significantly declined in the last three weeks and has now dropped below levels considered to be a national emergency.

“It is important to highlight that this year, there was a decline in case fatality of Lassa fever, from 23% in 2019 to 19% in 2020,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency noted that its strategic response was based on five key priorities:

1. Improved preparedness through training of health workers across the country and a nationwide communications campaign before the outbreak

2. Early deployment of One-Health Rapid Response Teams to affected States and deployment of surge staff to treatment centres

3. Establishment of new treatment centres and strengthening of existing treatment centres

4. Distribution of medical, laboratory, treatment and infection prevention and control supplies to all states with confirmed cases

5. Implementation of Lassa fever Environmental response campaign in high burden states by the Federal Ministry of Environment

Despite the end of the emergency phase of the outbreak, the NCDC says it will continue to coordinate the national multisectoral Lassa fever Technical Working Group (TWG).

This TWG would ensure continuous monitoring of cases, as well as the strengthening of Lassa fever surveillance, diagnostic, treatment and other response activities across all levels in Nigeria.

Ooni Presents Motorised Fumigators To Lagos Govt

Ooni Of Ife Celebrates First Anniversary With Thanksgiving Service
File photo of Ooni of Ife.

 

 

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi on Tuesday presented three locally made motorised modular fumigators to the Lagos State Government as his contribution to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The monarch also handed over a large-sized drone sprinkler to the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which would be used for aerial fumigation purposes.

While handing over the items, the Ooni commended Sanwo-Olu for his efforts so far in fighting the pandemic in Lagos, as well as other state governors and world leaders who are working hard to bring an end to the pandemic.

However, being the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, the Ooni said Lagos deserves all the support.

Read Also: Buhari Approves Phased Easing Of Lockdown In Lagos, Ogun, FCT From May 4

According to him, the government’s current efforts encouraged him and the palace to throw their hat into the ring by coming up with the disinfecting machines to help protect the environment.

The monarch said the fumigators, which were locally fabricated are environmentally-friendly.

He also explained that the equipment converts the liquid sanitizer to fog, which according to him, travels faster and stays longer in the air to fight the coronavirus and any other virus in the community.

Responding to the gesture, Sanwo-Olu expressed appreciation to the royal father, describing him as an enabler and a notable part of governance in Nigeria.

He added that Oba Ogunwusi has equally helped the government in educating the rural people not only on the presence of the pandemic as a reality and not a myth but also by encouraging them to provide a local answer to the scourge.

“Thank you, your majesty, for showing our people the ‘can-do spirit’, thank you for using your office and institution as a strong enabler to be able to communicate and pass on this strong message to our citizens. You are a critical part of governance because you are one of our traditional institutions,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“I want to commend you, for using your office as an institution to let our people know that what we are going through is real, it is not something that anybody has conjured, but it is something we can come together and solve collectively.

“It is good that you are leading this conversation today. You are the first that would able to tell our people that COVID19 is real, you have shown we can also look inward and take up a local solution, and you have taken it upon yourself to not just sit back and criticize, but to give back and encourage our local industry and economy, to be very creative and see what kind of local solutions you can bring about.”

Meanwhile, speaking further, Oba Ogunwusi, charged other Nigerians to join hands with the government in the fight against COVID-19.

He urged the people to look beyond palliatives by coming up with more local solutions to save lives during and after the COVID-19.

“Our people should look inward for solutions that are social and local as the present situation calls for home-grown interventions to support our doctors and other frontline warriors.”

COVID-19: Kaduna Govt Frees 162 Inmates From Correctional Centre

File Photo of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.

 

The Kaduna State Government has ordered the release of 162 inmates spread across different Correctional Centres in the state as part of efforts to decongest the centres and halt the spread of coronavirus among inmates.

A statement issued on Tuesday disclosed that 72 of the inmates were pardoned by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, while 90 inmates were released on bail by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Muhammadu Bello.

Governor El-Rufai appealed to the released inmates to make use of their freedom to engage in useful ventures and avoid anything that could lead them to crime.

In response, the Controller of Corrections in charge of the Kaduna Command, Sanusi Dan-Musa, thanked the governor for the gesture.

Read Also: Kaduna State Govt Extends Lockdown By 30 Days

He urged the freed inmates to be of good conduct and to ensure they are productive and of positive impact on society.

The development comes just days after the state government announced a 30-day lockdown, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

Vibez: Remembering Da Grin, Burna Boy’s Global Collabo, Celebrating With Davido + More

 

April the 22nd, marked 10 years since the Nigerian music industry lost a legend, Olaitan Olaonipekun, popularly known as Da Grin.

This week on Vibez, we look at how Nigerian rap and music lovers took a trip down memory lane as they reminisced over the death of the one who is said to have revolutionised indigenous rap in the country.

We also talk about yet another win in the fight against the COVID-19, donations and even Burna Boy’s global collaboration and more.

Vibez is your weekly recap of stories from the world of showbiz.

Please like, share, and join the conversations. Also, remember to stay safe and stay home. This too shall pass!

COVID-19: There Are Several Natural Therapies That We Need To Investigate – Abayomi

 

As the Federal Government continues to make efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 and even find a lasting solution to the pandemic, there’s a possibility that traditional medicine could be the way to go.

In Lagos State which has become the epicentre of the virus in Nigeria, the state Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, has hinted that investigations will be carried out in that regard.

Abayomi, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Saturday, noted that the state is pushing very hard to explore traditional medication.

He said this while explaining some tips on how to recover from the flu or even the COVID-19.

“Of course, you can support yourself with a good diet, good food and lots of natural therapies and that’s one thing that we are pushing very hard in Lagos – our traditional medicine,” the commissioner said.

“We have a traditional medicine board, a traditional medicine research committee and I believe that there are several natural therapies that we need to investigate”.

Another important remedy according to the commissioner is adequate sleep.

Read Also: COVID-19: Abayomi Blames ‘Destroyed’ Environment, Expects More Similar Outbreaks

“One of the best ways to raise your immune system is sleep. As the body rests, it allows the immunity to do its job.

“If you get sick with the flu or with Coronavirus, the best thing is to stay in bed and get lot of rest and allow your body’s energy to be consumed by the immune system which is trying to do the curing,” he explained.

With the traditional remedies, however, Abayomi raised concerns that issues such as deforestation and a destroyed ecosystem, may have limited the nation’s ability to explore the option of herbs.

“We have a whole ecosystem of plants and herbs, if we haven’t destroyed them all by our wanton deforestation, we would have access to a lot of therapies from the environment that we could test out.

“Destroying the ecosystem is what’s causing these zoonotic events and its depriving us of our natural heritage to find traditional solutions to these problems,” he said.

COVID-19: Abayomi Blames ‘Destroyed’ Environment, Expects More Similar Outbreaks

 

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, believes that environmental pollution and degradation have affected Nigeria’s ability to find traditional solutions to diseases such as the COVID-19, currently ravaging the world.

According to him, Nigeria has a whole ecosystem of plants and herbs which could be used as a remedy for the disease but issues such as deforestation have limited the country’s ability to explore those options.

“We have a whole ecosystem of plants and herbs. If we haven’t destroyed them all by our wanton deforestation, we would have access to a lot of therapies from the environment that we could test out,” the commissioner said during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Saturday.

“Destroying the ecosystem is what’s causing these zoonotic events and it’s depriving us of our natural heritage to find traditional solutions to these problems,”.

He also raised concerns that the recurrence of such diseases are likely to be on the rise because of the current realities of the environmental.

“The way the world is going now, we are seeing an increase in the number of these zoonotic events…what we call the ability of a dangerous pathogen to jump from the animal kingdom, to the human kingdom and that’s because we’ve destroyed our environment and the opportunity for these kinds of events is going to keep increasing,” the commissioner added.

Read Also: We Are In The Stage Of Community Spread, Abayomi Says As He Warns Against Stigmatization

He, however, stated that Lagos State has a traditional medicine board as well as a traditional medicine research committee which is looking into the area of natural or traditional therapies.

Abayomi said this while outlining some other key steps for recovery for patients infected with the flu or even the COVID-19.

“One of the best ways to raise your immune system is sleep,” he said.

“If you get sick with the flu or with Coronavirus, the best thing is to stay in bed and get lots of rest and allow your body’s energy to be consumed by the immune system which is trying to do the curing.

“Of course, you can support yourself with good diet, good food and lots of natural therapies and that’s one thing that we are pushing very hard in Lagos – our traditional medicine.

“We have a traditional medicine board, a traditional medicine research committee and I believe that there are several natural therapies that we need to investigate”.