Coronavirus: ‘Not A Kobo Has Been Released,’ Lawan Contradicts Health Minister On N620m NCDC Fund

A photo combination of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while addressing reporters and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also at a press conference in Abuja.

 

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday contradicted the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on the payment of N620 million to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), an amount budgeted for the emergency response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Contrary to the announcement that the money had been paid to the agency in full, the lawmaker stressed that no kobo was released.

He, therefore, asked the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to immediately release the money to the health agency.

The minister, at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday last week, said the Federal Government had released every fund needed by the Port Health Services and the NCDC, which he described as the nation’s first and second lines of defence for coronavirus.

 

According to him, the Port Health Services received about N70 million while the NCDC got N620 million.

Ehanire admitted that Nigeria used to have very little quantity of reagents to diagnose coronavirus, but the supply of the substances has been improved.

The Senate President, however, said, “I am sad, we are indeed actually sad, that of the N620 million that was supposed to be released to this place for fixing of everything here to NCDC, not a kobo has been released.

“We are going to get across to the Minister of Finance and all the other authorities that have anything to do with this to release this money latest between today and tomorrow (Thursday).”

Lawan spoke when he led the leadership of the Senate on a tour of isolation centres located at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.

He regretted that the temporary isolation centre was not in good shape, stressing that it doesn’t look ready to receive any patient.

“We are in an emergency, even if we don’t have people who are affected, we shouldn’t just rest on our oars.

“We have to do everything and anything possible to fix that temporary isolation centre to be prepared to receive anyone who falls sick in this respect,” said the lawmaker.

The Senate President was worried that Nigeria has yet to have a completed Isolation Centre in the north-central geo-political zone that would provide emergency response to disease outbreak in the country.

He, therefore, asked those saddled with leadership responsibilities in the country to live up to expectations through the timely discharge of their mandates and duties.

Lawan said, “There’s no way that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, with a population of 200 million, and yet the Federal Capital and six surrounding states of the North Central; you don’t have one room that you can call an isolation centre, where anyone who unfortunately falls into this crisis will be taken to. This is not acceptable.

“So, we are going to ensure that the money is released, we are going to put pressure. This is what they are supposed to do, and they must do it.”

NCDC DG Reacts To Reps Two Weeks Planned Recess Over COVID-19

 

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has asked the House of Representatives not to suspend plenary over coronavirus.

Lawmakers on Tuesday, passed a resolution to suspend plenary for two weeks to enable the management of the National Assembly, put measures in place against the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The NCDC boss stressed that the time hasn’t come for such because it will create panic amongst Nigerians.

Dr Ihekweazu who was on Channels Television Sunrise Daily urged the lawmakers to support the efforts of experts by providing a budget that is sustainable in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“I have a lot of respect for the honourable members of the House of Representatives, but I think the time now hasn’t come, if they respond in a way like that by suspending session, everyone else will ask if they should close their businesses, office or schools and it is disproportionate at this time.

“They should support the work experts are doing; give us a sustainable budget so that we can develop the expertise.”

READ ALSO: Why Reps May Suspend Plenary For Two Weeks Over Coronavirus – Spokesman

The NCDC boss asked the lawmakers to show confidence in the government institutions that they have set up by providing support for the work being done.

“It’s too early to carry out a measure like that; they need to express by their actions and their words, confidence in the government institutions that they have set up and their mandate is to fund.

“I understand they are expressing the anxieties of Nigerians, but they should please support the works we are doing both in the short and long-term.”

Dr IhekweazuM while responding to a question on cures for the diseases said: “Cures are found through collective scientific effort and not from my mother’s pot in the village.”

Coronavirus: I’m On Self-Isolation, Not Quarantine, Says NCDC DG

 

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Mr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said that he is on self-isolation, and not quarantine as reported, over fears of being infected with Coronavirus.

The NCDC DG who was part of a high-level delegation by the World Health Organisation (WHO), returned from China on February 24.

His response comes hours after the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, briefed the senate leadership on Tuesday that the NCDC DG is currently under self-quarantine for possible infection of the deadly coronavirus.

 

Dr Ihekweazu explained on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, that contrary to reports, he has been in isolation for nine days as part of the regulations made, that 14-day isolation must be observed.

“I am on self-isolation; this is a procedural thing because I was part of a high-level delegation by the World Health Organisation, there were 12 global health leaders across the world, and I was the only African and it was a huge privilege to be part of this team.

“I’ve been back for nine days and I have five more days, I got back to Nigeria on the 24th, I’ve been doing my work from home just in respect to the regulations we made, because we put out the guidelines that we should stay at home for 14 days,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Why Reps May Suspend Plenary For Two Weeks Over Coronavirus – Spokesman

Dr Ihekweazu, whose visit to China made him understand the response level, said the report produced by the delegation has influenced the response of the world to the COVID-19 virus.

 

 

He maintained that since his return, he has conducted a series of tests to justify that he has not been infected by the novel virus.

“We went to China, visited several cities, to understand the response, and the reports we produced have influenced the response of the rest of the world.

“Quarantine is when you are kept in a place and enforced by the military or police to protect the population.

“Meanwhile I have had series of tests just to assure everyone and I am fine doing well,” he maintained.

Coronavirus: NCDC DG Under Self-Quarantine, Says Health Minister

 

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Mr Chikwe Ihekweazu is currently under self-quarantine for possible infection of the deadly coronavirus.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who was at the National Assembly on Tuesday, to brief the senate leadership on the level of Nigeria’s preparedness to contain the virus disclosed this to the leadership of the Senate.

According to him, Mr Ihekweazu went into self-quarantine after his return from China to Nigeria and will remain in quarantine in his house for 14 days.

Read Also: Isolated Chinese National Tests Negative To Coronavirus – Lagos Govt

In response, Senate President Ahmed Lawan has asked the Ministry of Health to immediately step up the plan to create more isolation centers in all the states of the federation or at least make plans to have one in each of the six geopolitical zones.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Tuesday evening, the NCDC said reports that the DG was under ‘quarantine over coronavirus’ is false.

They explained that between the 16th and 24th of February 2020, the World Health Organisation deployed a high-level mission to China.

According to the agency, the mission involved 25 national and international experts who met with their counterparts in China to understand their response to the COVID-19.

“As recommended in NCDC’s public health advisory, travelers from countries with ongoing transmission of COVID-19 are advised to proceed on 14-day self-isolation whether well or unwell.

“The Director-General has adhered to this, to protect himself and the public. He has been tested since his return and has shown no symptoms of COIVID-19 infection.

“He remains in good health” the statement added.

Reps To Suspend Plenary For Two Weeks Over Coronavirus

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives chamber in Abuja .

 

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to suspend plenary for two weeks to enable the management of the National Assembly, put measures in place against the spread of coronavirus in the country.

This was part of the resolution of the house, following a motion of urgent public importance by representative Uyime Idem, and seconded by Ndudi Elumelu, on the need for immediate action to prevent any new cases of the virus.

Rep Uyime called on the Federal Government to release more funds to the Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in order to quarantine, treat, and contain the COVID-19 situation.

READ ALSO: Village Head, One Other Killed In Zamfara Attack

The lawmaker added that the situation is so dire globally that 3,000 people have died and over 90,000 are infected with the virus.

He called on the leadership of NASS to set up an ad-hoc committee to liaise with relevant health agencies to ensure the virus is contained.

Also, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu called on NASS management to put mechanisms in place to ensure the virus doesn’t find a place in the National Assembly.

No date for the suspension has been set yet.

Lassa Fever Kills 118 People In Eight Weeks – NCDC

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

 

 

The number of people killed from the outbreak of Lassa fever since the beginning of the year has risen to 118.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in its situation report on the disease.

It explained that the figure covered between January 1 and February 23.

No fewer than 2,633 cases of Lassa fever have been reported since the beginning of the year, out of which 689 cases were confirmed to be positive.

The cases were reported in 115 local government areas from 27 states of the Federation.

 

In the eighth week – February 17-23 – which the latest NCDC report focused on, 102 of 456 reported cases from 46 local government areas from 18 states were confirmed.

The states include Ondo, Ebonyi, Edo, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Lagos, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Taraba, Delta, Rivers, Adamawa, and Nasarawa.

A total of four new healthcare workers were also affected in Edo and Ondo States in the reporting week.

The NCDC confirmed that the number of suspected cases has significantly increased compared to the figure reported for the same period in 2019.

 

Lagos Records First Case Of Lassa Fever In 2020

Map of Nigeria showing Lagos State.

 

Lagos State has recorded its first case of Lassa fever in 2020.

The State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

Abayomi however assured that the situation is under control and called on Lagos residents to be calm and not panic. He added that the State government in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is doing everything possible to control the spread of the disease in Lagos State.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Aso Rock Assistant Director

The Commissioner said it is important for members of the public to ensure and maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of the disease in the State.

Lassa Fever has been reported in 2020 to be raging in over 27 states with over 470 cases confirmed and 70 deaths recorded across Nigeria.

Five China Travellers Test Negative For COVID-19 In Nigeria – NCDC

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu is head of the NCDC
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu is head of the NCDC

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Saturday said five returning travellers from China into the country have tested negative for the novel Coronavirus, Covid19. 

In a tweet, the agency said its protocol is to test all returning travellers from China with symptoms.

 

The NCDC has reiterated that there is yet no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country and urged Nigerians to disregard and discourage unfounded rumours.

READ ALSO: No Case Of Coronavirus In Nigeria, Says NCDC

In a later tweet on Saturday, the agency advised that any person that has returned from China within the last 14 days should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

“Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus,” the NCDC said.

On Friday, Egypt confirmed the first Coronavirus case in Africa.

READ ALSO: France Confirms First Coronavirus Death Outside Asia

The virus originated late last year in China, where it has since infected more than 66,000 people and killed more than 1,500.

Three deaths from the virus have so far been recorded outside mainland China — in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.

The first death outside Asia was confirmed by France on Saturday.

No Case Of Coronavirus In Nigeria, Says NCDC

Photo: NCDC

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has asked Nigerians to disregard and discourage rumours of the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

The agency in a statement on Sunday clarified the case of a Chinese man who returned to Nigeria from China last week, saying he had only gone for a routine medical checkup as requested by his employers. The checkup showed that he had no symptoms of the sickness.

It stated that measures are in place to establish a laboratory-testing platform to test samples gotten from patients that show signs of infection.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is aware of ongoing rumours of the importation of the Coronavirus to Nigeria.

“The individual returned from China last week and went for a routine medical check as requested by his employers. He showed no symptoms of illness and has not been diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus.

“NCDC has agreed on a national case definition to identify suspect cases and established a laboratory testing platform to test samples from patients that meet this case definition,” the statement read in part.

READ ALSO: Lassa Fever: Doctors Call For Declaration Of National Health Emergency

The NCDC urged Nigerians to take necessary precautions and ensure that they study the public health advisory on Coronavirus epidemic in Nigeria.

“We urge members of the public to disregard rumours and discourage further spread. NCDC, Port Health Service and State Epidemiologists are aware of the process for a case to ensure that Nigerians are safe.

“On the 31 of January, NCDC shared a second public health advisory and is closely monitoring new developments. We advise Nigerians to take necessary precautions as detailed in the advisory below.”

It emphasised that travellers from China have been advised to report immediately to NCDC through its communication centre, “if they feel ill.”

Lassa Fever: 24 Killed, 163 Cases Confirmed So Far In 2020

 

At least 24 people have died of Lassa fever in the country since the beginning of the year.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed this in its latest situation report on the disease.

According to the report, 398 suspected cases were reported out of which 163 cases were confirmed while 235 cases were found to be negative.

In total, at least one confirmed case was recorded across 32 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in nine states.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Records One Case Of Lassa Fever

A breakdown of the report, which covers January 13 – 19, shows that 10 people died in the third week as 81 out of the 159 suspected cases reported were confirmed.

 

This occurred in 17 local governments across six states of the Federation.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State government has confirmed a case of Lassa fever in Chukun Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, noted that the 35-year-old male patient was already receiving treatment at the designated infectious disease control centre in the state capital.

Mohammed-Baloni added that health personnel have been stationed at the centre to manage cases that may arise.

 

Elsewhere, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has activated a standing emergency response with a call on health professionals to ensure the full containment of the disease, in order not to spread beyond the only case so far established.

He also directed that special attention be accorded to government-controlled camps and host communities associated with the forced migration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Governor Zulum promised to make available whatever was required as part of measures to guarantee the safety of public health across Borno.

He, therefore, called on the team to work round the clock and take all measures necessary to ensure maximum control of any disease in the state.

In a similar development, the Lagos State government has set up a biosecurity team said to be working on the urgent capacity to identify any kind of viruses such as Lassa Fever and coronavirus.

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Professor Akin Abayomi, told reporters that isolation wards have been set up at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, to take in confirmed cases.

He appealed to residents to take proper care of their environment and avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

NCDC Confirms Yellow Fever Outbreak, Deaths In Bauchi

INEC Resumes Collation Exercise For Bauchi Governorship Election Today

 

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that some persons have died following an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Bauchi State.

In a statement on Friday said the Commission said it was first notified of the outbreak on August 29 when the agency received the report of a confirmed case of yellow fever in Kano State from a laboratory in its network.

According to the statement, three of the confirmed cases are residents of Alkaleri Local Government Area (LGA), with a fourth case linked to a tourist who was visiting Kano State and also visited the Yankari Games Reserve in the same LGA within Bauchi.

The commission further stated that subsequent investigations led by the Kano State Epidemiology Team established that the confirmed case of yellow fever “was from a patient who visited the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi, in August with his father.

“The father died with similar symptoms before a sample could be collected and tested,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: Flood: Two Women, Teenager Drown In Nasarawa

In a similar vein, the Borno State Epidemiology Team on Tuesday had reported deaths among students of Waka College of Education in Biu LGA Borno State.

The students are said to have visited the Yankari Games Reserves in August 2019.

The NCDC said that “of the 95 Students that visited the resort (Yankari Game Reserve), eight of them developed symptoms and six had died as at the time of the report. The others are in a stable condition. Samples from these cases are being tested.”

According to the health agency, intensification of surveillance activities have led to the confirmation of three more cases in Bauchi, all residents of Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi.

Since it was notified, the NCDC said it has been collaborating with the state epidemiologists and the World Health Organisation country office to investigate these events.

“We have deployed a rapid response team to support Bauchi State to carry out further in-depth investigations, including case finding, risk communications, and support the management of cases.

“Samples of the other suspected cases from Bauchi and Borno states are currently being transported to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja for further testing,” it said.

NCDC said it has also activated the Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate the response to the outbreak.

 

NCDC Confirms Four New Lassa Fever Cases

 

Four new cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed from three states in the country, with no new death recorded.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed this in its latest Situation Report on the disease for Week 19 which covers May 6 to 12.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 128 deaths in confirmed cases.

Recent figure shows that two cases were confirmed in Edo and one each Ebonyi and Taraba States respectively.

This brings to 2,426, the total number of suspected cases reported from 21 states between January 1 and May 12, 2019.

Of these, 569 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1842 negative (not a case), while case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 22.5 per cent.

 

There is at least one confirmed case across 82 Local Government Areas of Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, and Plateau.

Others are Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi and Cross River States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Edo State is leading with 36 per cent, followed by Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Taraba, and Plateau States with 29, eight, seven, seven, and six per cent respectively.

Predominant age-group affected is 21-40 years while the ratio of male to female for confirmed cases is 1.2:1.

 

No new healthcare worker was affected in the reporting week, although a total of 18 healthcare workers have been infected in eight states since the onset of the outbreak with two deaths in Enugu and Edo States.

NCDC said eight patients are currently being managed at various facilities such as the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Centre and the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki among others.

It disclosed further that a total of 7,368 contacts have been identified from 20 States and of these, 535 are currently being followed up while 6,765 have completed 21 days follow up and eight others lost to follow up.

The report read, “119 (1.6%) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 60 (0.8%) have tested positive.”

The agency gave assurance that the multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) has continued to coordinate the response activities at all levels.