183 New COVID-19 Cases In Lagos As Nigeria Reports Record Single-Day Infections

PHOTO: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

 

COVID-19 cases in Lagos surged by 183, a record for the state, on Thursday as Nigeria witnessed its highest number of infections in a day.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed a total of 381 new cases for the day.

It is the largest number of cases to be confirmed in a day since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country on February 27, 2020.

With 183 new cases, Lagos State’s total confirmed infections now stand at 1,491 and it remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, accounting for 42.3 per cent of the country’s total cases.

The state has, however, received praise for its reaction to the pandemic from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and many others.

It has also discharged 406 patients from its isolation and treatment centres.

Forty-eight of them were discharged earlier on Thursday.

There has been focus on Kano State recently as reports of mass deaths made the round and many Almajiri children sent from the state back to their states of origin tested positive for the virus.

A presidential panel had also gone to the state to investigate the deaths and their causes.

On Thursday, the NCDC confirmed 55 states for Kano, taking the state’s total infections to 482.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns about the level of compliance with the guidelines released by the Federal Government for easing the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory. There have also been concerns about the level of compliance with the interstate lockdown which is in effect.

President Muhammadu Buhari had announced the easing of the lockdown in all three places and imposed an interstate lockdown during his nationwide broadcast on Monday, April 27.

Many Nigerians have, however, failed to comply with the guidelines, prompting the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to warn that full lockdown could be reintroduced if violations continue.

During its briefing on Thursday, the PTF condemned what it said was the high level of compromise among some security officials in the enforcement of the night curfew and the ban on interstate travel.

The task force also asked state governments to improve security and welfare at the various isolation and treatment centres across the country.

The call was in reaction to recent protests and cases of patients escaping from some isolation centres because of alleged poor treatment.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country on February 27, 3,525 more cases have been confirmed.

So far, 601 people have recovered from the virus and have been discharged while 107 people have sadly died.

48 More COVID-19 Patients Discharged In Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gives an update on the fight against COVID-19 in the state on April 20, 2020.

 

Forty-eight more COVID-19 patients in Lagos State have been discharged after recovering from the virus, which has infected 3,145 people in Nigeria and claimed 103 lives in the country.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced this on Thursday evening.

“I’m pleased to announce to you the discharge of 48 more patients; 32 males and 16 females, all Nigerians who were discharged from our Yaba, Lekki, Onikan and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) isolation facilities to reunite with the society,” the governor tweeted.

Twenty-eight of the patients were discharged from the Mainland  Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba; six of them were from Lekki, one was from the Onikan centre and 13 from the LUTH Isolation Centres.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said they were discharged “having fully recovered and tested negative to #COVID19 in two consecutive readings”.

Lagos State is the epicentre of the pandemic in the country and accounts for 1,308 of total cases. The state has, however, received praise from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and many others for its handling of the pandemic.

Announcing, the latest development, which takes the total number of discharged patients in the state to 406, the Governor called for focus.

We will continue to celebrate and acknowledge our wins, as well as reflect on our losses. These will help us stay on course, prevent us from being distracted, help us stay focused as we face this pandemic head on,” he said.

“Though we have been recording recovered patients, we need to also be careful, remain guarded, and show commitment and cooperation with authorities as we are all in this together. Our wins are your wins, our losses, your losses.”

Ogun Govt Discharges Six COVID-19 Patients

 

Ogun State government has discharged six COVID-19 patients after they recovered and tested negative for the virus.

According to the state ministry of health, they were discharged on Wednesday from the Isolation centre in Ikenne after testing negative twice.

The six patients have since joined their families to continue living their normal lives. This brings the total number of discharged cases in the state to 20.

Meanwhile, four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced in the State by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the State to 95. Out of these 95, there are currently 73 active cases who are receiving treatment at isolation centres in the state.

The State Ministry of Health expressed the hope that as the days go by, more patients would be discharged, and urged the residents to continue to maintain social distancing as the use of face masks alone may not stop the spread of the infection.

Infectious Disease Bill Is Superfluous, Unconstitutional – Falana

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, says there is no need for the Infectious Diseases Bill

The proposed Infectious Diseases Bill co-sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and two of his colleagues has been described as superfluous, illegal and unconstitutional.

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, told Channels Television on Wednesday that the efforts to replace the Quarantine Act was a waste of time as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Act of 2018 has taken care of what the lawmakers are trying to achieve.

Mr Falana, who spoke about the controversial bill during an appearance, via Skype, on Politics Today, said, “It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that in November 2018, a law was enacted in this country – the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Act, NCDC Act, which has taken care of infectious diseases in the country.

“So, it is not correct, in fact, it is misleading on the part of the House of Representatives to say that it is amending the 1926 Quarantine Act because there is already a development between 1926 and now. You had the 2018 Act which has taken care of the entire provisions of the new bill.

“The new bill, as far as the law is concerned, is superfluous. Its provisions are largely illegal and unconstitutional.”

A close look at some sections of the said Act shows that the legislation empowers the NCDC to prevent, detect, monitor and control of national and international public health importance.

The law also empowers the NCDC to develop and coordinate capabilities, measures and activities to control outbreaks and mitigate the health impact of public health disasters.

 

As Nigeria battles the raging COVID-19 pandemic, several measures have been implemented to halt the spread of the virus which has infected 2,950 people in the country and claimed 98 lives.

The introduction of the infectious disease bill has, however, proved controversial with many calling for it to be dumped.

READ ALSO: Infectious Diseases Bill Conceived In Public Interest – Gbajabiamila

On Tuesday, in reaction to the controversy surrounding the bill, Mr Gbajabiamila defended it, saying it was conceived in public interest.

Gbajabiamila while addressing his colleagues at the resumption of plenary noted that since the introduction of the Bill a week ago, it drew a barrage of criticisms against it, with allegations of sinister motives.

“None of these allegations are true. Unfortunately, we now live in a time when conspiracy theories have gained such currency that genuine endeavours in the public interest can quickly become mischaracterised and misconstrued to raise the spectre of sinister intent and ominous possibility,” he said.

“This House of Representatives will never take any action that purposes to bring harm to any Nigerian here at home or abroad. As we have thus far shown by our conduct, the resolutions and actions we take in this 9th House of Representatives will always be in the best interests of the Nigerian people who elected us, and no one else.

“In the recent uproar, certain fundamental truths have been lost and are worth remembering. Our current framework for the prevention and management of infectious diseases is obsolete and no longer fit for purpose.

“The current law severely constrains the ability of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take proactive action to prevent the entry into Nigeria of infectious diseases and the management of public health emergencies when they occur,” he said.

15 Children Hospitalised With Rare Disease Linked To COVID-19 In New York

This US Navy photo releases April 28, 2020, shows Javits New York Medical Station staff members discussing a patient’s treatment in the facility’s intensive care unit, April 26, 2020. New York is the Coronavirus epicenter in the United States with more than 300,000 confirmed virus cases and over 19,000 deaths. Barry RILEY / US NAVY / AFP

 

Fifteen children have been hospitalised in New York with a rare inflammatory disease possibly linked to coronavirus, officials said Tuesday, in the latest reports of the worrying syndrome.

Kawasaki disease is a mysterious illness that primarily affects children up to the age of five and causes the walls of arteries to become inflamed, resulting in fever, skin peeling, and joint pain.

Britain’s National Health Service first sounded the alarm last month, warning about a small rise in children infected with the coronavirus that have “overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease.”

France has also reported several cases.

Though frightening, most recover without serious issues.

New York’s government health department said it had identified 15 cases of children aged between two and 15 who had symptoms of Kawasaki disease.

“That is enough for sure (to say) it’s causing us concern,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.

More than half of the patients required blood pressure support and five needed mechanical ventilation, but no fatalities were reported among the cases, the department said.

Respiratory symptoms were reported in less than half the patients, it said. All experienced a fever and more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said a few cases had also been identified in Boston and Philadelphia.

“We’re not sure what to make of this yet. We’re still learning every day about how COVID-19 behaves,” she said.

Treatment for Kawasaki disease involves intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin, Barbot added.

AFP

 

Buhari Appoints Muhammed As NEMA DG

The new appointment at the agency became effective on April 30, 2020

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Air Vice-Marshal Muhammadu Alhaji Muhammed as the New Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (NEMA).

The appointment was announced in a statement by Willie Bassey, the Director of Information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on Saturday.

Bassey said the appointment took effect from Thursday, April 30, 2020, “for an initial period of four years in accordance with Section 3 of the National Emergency Management Agency Act”.

The erstwhile NEMA DG, Mustapha Maihaja, was directed to hand over all official matters to Muhammed immediately.

The President thanked the out-gone Director-General for his services and charged the new appointee to serve with diligence and commitment.

14 More Almajiri Children From Kano Test Positive For COVID-19 In Kaduna

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s North-Central region.

 

The Kaduna State government has announced that 14 more almajiri children who recently returned from Kano State have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Special Adviser to the Kaduna state Governor on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye said the new positive results have increased active cases in the state to 41, with one death recorded.

The statement expressed concern that the figure might rise as more test results are awaited.

“Further progress on expanding testing capacity is being made by the Kaduna state COVID-19 Standing Committee,” he said.

He added that the installation of a PCR machine had commenced at the Yusuf Dantsoho General Hospital at Tudun Wada area of the state capital.

When accredited by the NCDC, the facility will increase to three the number of Covid-19 testing labs activated in Kaduna State during this pandemic.

“The Standing Committee commended the people of Kaduna State for their sacrifice and cooperation in enduring Quarantine Orders that are designed to protect citizens from Covid-19, prevent the spread of the virus from other states and avert the nightmare of community transmission,” the statement continued.

The statement also explained that the robust enforcement of border lockdowns will complement the inconveniences being endured by Kaduna State residents.

“This will eliminate both willful and inadvertent spread of Covid-19 by persons crossing state lines in breach of Kaduna State Quarantine Orders and the prohibition of interstate travel by the Federal Government,” said.

“Citizens are encouraged to report anyone who sneaks into the state so that health officials can take swift action”.

Emir Of Rano Dies

Emir of Rano, Tafida Abubakar-Ila, died on Saturday at a hospital in Kano.

 

The Emir of the Rano Emirate in Kano State, Tafida Abubakar-Ila, has died.

He died at a hospital in Kano on Saturday, almost one year after the Kano State Government created four new Emirate Councils and made him a first-class emir in Rano.

A member of the House of Representatives and Turakin Rano, Alhassan Rurum, confirmed the death of the emir.

The lawmakers said the Emir died at a hospital after a brief illness.

He is survived by 17 children and two wives.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had signed a bill passed by the Kano State House of Assembly into law on May 8, 2019, thereby creating the Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi emirate councils from the Kano Emirate Council which at the time was led by Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II.

Five days later, on May 13, 2019, the governor presented staffs of office to Emir Abubakar-Ila, and the three other Emirs including Ibrahim Abubakar II, Emir of Karaye; Ibrahim Abdulkadir, Emir of Gaya, and Aminu Ado-Bayero, Emir of Bichi.

Emir Aminu Ado-Bayero was made the Emir of Kano in March after the Kano State government deposed Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II.

Kaduna Records First COVID-19 Death, Awaits Test Results For More Almajiri Children From Kano

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s North-Central region.

 

 

Kaduna state has recorded its first death from COVID-19 pandemic out of the 35 cases recorded in the state so far.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Baloni, said in a statement on Saturday that the deceased male patient was one of the three COVID-19 cases that were confirmed in the state on Thursday, April the 30th.

According to Dr Baloni, the deceased was a retired civil servant with underlying medical conditions, who concealed his recent travel to Kano when he visited a public hospital and then a private hospital.

The man was eventually admitted at the isolation centre with respiratory distress where he died.

Dr Baloni said the man’s family had been informed of his demise and has since been buried according to the burial protocol of the NCDC.

As a result of the development, health officials in the state are decontaminating the two hospitals that the deceased visited, while workers who attended to him have been isolated, as well as his family members.

The commissioner also announced that the testing of 167 almajiri children from Kano for COVID-19 pandemic has been completed and their results are being awaited.

She, however, expressed concern that the number of positive cases from this group may rise beyond the 21 recorded before the completion of testing for this category of persons.

The commissioner appealed to citizens who suspect that they have been exposed to Covid-19 to avoid infecting others. Rather, they should follow the safety protocol of isolating themselves at home and contacting health officials.

She said, “Concealing relevant information and engaging in conduct that exposes others to the risk of infection constitutes a danger to the community and is regarded as wilful and reckless endangerment of the well-being and lives of other citizens. Such conduct contravenes the provisions of the Quarantine Orders and could lead to prosecution.

“The Ministry of Health wishes to remind the general public of the importance of hand-washing, personal hygiene, social distancing and the avoidance of large gatherings in helping protect us all from Covid-19. Residents should wear facemasks when leaving their homes and should wash their hands when they return home”.

France Extends COVID-19 Emergency Until July 24

French Health and Solidarity Minister Olivier Veran (L) and French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner hold a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on May 2, 2020, after a cabinet meeting on the extension of the state of emergency amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Francois Mori / POOL / AFP

 

France will extend a health emergency imposed to fight the new coronavirus for another two months until July 24, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday.

A draft law says a lifting this month of the emergency, which began on March 24, would be premature and carry the risk of an intensifying outbreak.

“We are going to have to perform a long-distance run,” Veran said, adding he was aware that the French people had already been asked for “colossal efforts” in the fight against the virus.

The new emergency bill also lays out the quarantine conditions for people coming to France from abroad.

“We are going to have to live with the virus for a while,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said after a cabinet meeting.

“Learning to live with the virus, that’s what’s at stake in the coming months.”

The proposals cover an “information system” for those have the virus and their entourage that would operate for up to a year.

The bill will go before the Senate on Monday and the National Assembly most probably the day after, said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye. It is expected to become law by the end of the week.

France is one of the European countries most impacted by the virus and lists 24,594 deaths from 167,346 confirmed cases.

The government has announced the gradual lifting of some lockdown measures from May 11, including the re-opening of primary schools.

Many shops will also reopen and remote-working staff will be able to return to offices as France battles the economic impact of the coronavirus that has already pushed the country into recession.

In the latest example of the losses involved, the chairman of the national rail operator SNCF said Saturday that his company had already lost two billion euros ($2.2 billion) during the crisis, and would probably apply for state aid and cut staff numbers.

AFP

COVID-19: Spain Eases Strict Lockdown

People exercise in Seville on May 2, 2020, during the hours allowed by the government to go out and exercise, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

 

Spaniards were allowed out of their homes to exercise and walk freely after 48 days of confinement on Saturday as some European nations began cautiously easing virus lockdowns while others like Russia faced a spike in new infections.

As governments across the globe balance lifting restrictions to restart economies against the risk of new infections, US authorities brought some hope by approving an experimental drug for emergency use on coronavirus patients.

The measure was the latest step in a global push to find viable treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown, hammered the world economy and caused more than 3.3 million confirmed infections.

The virus has killed nearly 239,000 people since it emerged in China late last year.

With signs the pandemic in their hardest-hit nations is slowing, European countries and some parts of the US have begun to lift restrictions and to try to inject life into economies battered by weeks of closure.

In Madrid and Barcelona, Spaniards took to the streets to exercise and walk freely as the government eased seven weeks of strict lockdown in a country with one of the highest number of fatalities at nearly 25,000.

“After so many weeks in confinement, I badly wanted to go out, run, see the world,” said financial advisor Marcos Abeytua in Madrid’s Chueca district who got up a 7 am to enjoy some time outside. “Yesterday, I was like a child on Christmas Eve.”

In the city’s Retiro park, many residents were out to running, sometimes in groups, as a policeman used a loudspeaker to urge them to keep out of deserted avenue and on the pavement.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, however, said masks would be obligatory on public transport from Monday.

Spain, Germany, Austria and Scandinavian nations are all slowly easing lockdowns as the virus cases slow though they will keep in place social distancing measures, demand the use of masks or increase testing to try to track infections.

France on Saturday decided it would extend a health emergency, in place since March 24, by two months until July 24, Health Minister Olivier Veran announced after a cabinet meeting.

Italy is preparing to ease restrictions in coming days while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent time in intensive care with the virus, said Britain had past the peak of its outbreak.

Ireland extended its lockdown by two weeks to May 18, with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar saying the nation will reopen “in a slow, phased, staged way” after that.

In Russia, though, authorities reported the largest increase in coronavirus cases with the new infections rising by nearly 10,000 in a single day.

In Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, around two per cent of the population is infected by COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, officials said.

“The threat is apparently on the rise,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, said on his blog earlier Saturday.

Treatment hopes

More than 3.3 million cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 195 countries, including 1.5 million in Europe alone. That number is likely only a fraction of true cases as testing is still limited.

The United States has the most deaths with more than 65,000, followed by Italy with 28,236, the United Kingdom with 27,510, Spain with 25,100 deaths and France with 24,594 fatalities.

US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Remdesivir, an antiviral drug initially developed to treat Ebola, was given the green light for use after a major trial found that it boosted recovery in serious COVID-19 patients.

“It’s really a very promising situation,” Trump said on Friday at the White House.

The drug incorporates itself into the virus’s genome, short-circuiting its replication process.

Its approval came as the US leaders struggled with growing pressure from citizens wearying of stay-at-home orders.

Trump is keen for a turnaround as the world’s largest economy reels with tens of millions left jobless.

Texas became the largest US state yet to ease curbs, while anti-lockdown demonstrations were held in several states — including California, where officials had re-closed beaches beginning Friday to avoid a repeat of last weekend when crowds flocked to the shoreline.

In Huntington Beach, about 35 miles (55 kilometres) south of Los Angeles, several thousand people rallied to denounce Governor Gavin Newsom’s beach shutdown order.

“Open California!” chanted protesters near the closed beaches, carrying signs that read “All jobs are essential” or “Freedom is essential”.

Hong Kong shops opening

In Asia, India announced that the lockdown on its 1.3 billion people — the world’s biggest — would continue for two more weeks from May 4.

And in Singapore, the government said Saturday that pet food stores and hair salons will be allowed to reopen on May 12.

Most of the city-state’s infections have been detected at dormitories housing migrant workers, and their confinement was extended to June 1.

Hong Kong recorded zero confirmed case of coronavirus on Saturday, the sixth day within a week.

The city’s social distancing regulations including limits on the gathering of more than four people are due to expire on May 7, but authorities have not decided whether to extend them.

The city’s chief executive has said that civil servants will return to work in the office starting from May 4.

During the long weekend with public holidays to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and Labour Day, residents flocked to country parks and the city’s outlying islands to get some fresh air.

Shops and restaurants started to resume business in normal opening hours with more consumers going out to streets and shopping malls.

The virus restrictions put a damper on May Day celebrations worldwide on Friday as many labour unions delayed their rallies and some held online events, while a determined few hit the streets in face masks.

May Day carried extra significance this year because of the staggering number of people put out of work by the pandemic, with the global economy in a tailspin and facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Stock markets tumbled again on Friday after Trump’s unproven allegation that the virus may have come from a lab in Wuhan — the central Chinese city where the disease first emerged.

AFP

UK PM Boris Johnson And Carrie Symonds Name Son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) walks with his partner Carrie Symonds as they arrive at The Midland, near the Manchester Central convention complex in Manchester on September 28, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Boris Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, on Saturday said they had named their newborn son after their grandfathers and the hospital doctors who treated the British prime minister for COVID-19.

Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson was born on Wednesday, just days after his father returned to work following several weeks recuperating from the virus and a spell in intensive care.

Symonds, 32, posted a picture on her Instagram account of her cradling her son.

“Introducing Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson born on 29.04.20 at 9 am,” she wrote.

“Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather, Lawrie after my grandfather, Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart — the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month.

“Thank you so, so much to the incredible NHS maternity team at UCLH (University College London Hospital) that looked after us so well. I couldn’t be happier. My heart is full.”

The announcement of the birth came as a surprise as Symonds, a former Conservative party head of communications, was not thought to be due for several more months.

It is her first child while Johnson, 55, is believed to have at least five other children, including four with his second wife, Marina Wheeler, from whom he split in 2018.

Johnson was expected to take statutory paternity leave at some point in the future, his spokesman told reporters this week.

The couple are the first unmarried couple to officially live together in Downing Street and the baby is the third to be born to a serving British prime minister in recent history.

Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, gave birth to son Leo in May 2000, while David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, had daughter Florence in 2010.

AFP