COVID-19 Update: Lagos Reopens Cinemas and Gyms, FG Sets Up Vaccine Company
As the recorded number of cases continue to drop in Nigeria week after week, a number of activities are returning to the country. Over the past 7 days (14th to 21st September), 40,064 Nigerians were tested for the coronavirus.
1,049 people tested positive for the virus while the others tested negative. This is a significant drop from the 1,228 cases recorded the previous week, as well as from 1209 recorded two weeks ago. This shows that the rate of infection is reducing though it could also be a result of insufficient testing.
Lagos reopens cinemas, gyms and recreation centers
On September 19, the Lagos state government has announced that cinemas, gymnasiums and recreation centres in the state be reopened with immediate effect.
According to the details of the reopening, all the recreation centres are allowed to operate at 33% of their original capacity. The Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the reduction is necessary at the moment in order to avoid a resurgence of the COVID-19 infections in the country.
The governor said, “Henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33% occupancy, which means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.’’
While the recreational centres reopen, night clubs, spas, public parks, event centres and other similar centres are to remain closed until October when another announcement will be made by the state government about their reopening.
FG sets up company to buy COVID-19 vaccines
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Thursday that the government has set up a company to see to the procurement of vaccines for the country. The company will also be responsible for the licensed manufacturing of vaccines in partnership with countries that have approved vaccine candidates for public use.
“The federal government has a vaccine company that is just beginning to work on projects known as Bio-vaccine Company Limited, which it has a share in,” Dr Ehanire said.
The minister also said that discussions are in progress concerning the Russian vaccine but no Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by either country. According to Ehanire, a report will be presented to the Ministry of Health when the Nigerian scientists and their Russian counterparts have concluded discussions on the matter.
The report will cover, among other things, details about the vaccine and how far the country has gone with its development.
FG Donates N1 Billion to Each State as COVID-19 Cases Drop in August
From July to August, there has been a 36% decline in the number of recorded coronavirus cases in the country. This was announced by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu at the Presidential Task Force (PTF).
The decline may not show the true state of things in the country, however, because according to Ihekweazu, “The number of reported cases daily has declined nationally in the last few weeks. We have seen a 36 per cent decline in August compared to July on national figures. Unfortunately, we cannot celebrate this until we test sufficient figures in every state.”
Insufficient testing may be the reason for the low figures recorded, and to boost the COVID-19 response in each state, the FG has allocated N1 billion to each state.
The fund allocation was made known by Dr Sani Aliyu, the PTF co-ordinator. “This is for the purpose of driving their COVID-19 responses and we are asking them to prioritize testing in addition to surveillance activities linked to COVID-19,’’ he said.
NCAA releases list of testing centres for travellers
The federal government has released a list of medical centres approved for testing for the COVID-19. The list contains 68 centres including Delta Mobile Laboratory, Delta; General Hospital Onitsha; EHA Clinics; The 54gene COVID-19 mobile laboratory; Medicaid Radio-diagnostics Centre, FCT Abuja; SynLab Ikeja, VI, Lekki; 54Gene Lekki; Medbury Medical Services, Lekki; and Clina Lancet, Maryland, Anthony, Lagos.
You can find the list of the 68 centres here.
TechNext reported last week that according to the NCDC’s mandate, people travelling into the country must take a repeat COVID-19 test once they enter the country. The test can be paid for on the Nigeria International Travel Portal or at the airport if payment can not be made through the portal.
The list of approved centres was tweeted by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The Director-General of the NCAA, Mr Musa Nuhu, also announced that the federal government will be sanctioning domestic airlines that do not comply with the established COVID-19 protocols.
He said, “It has been brought to the notice of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority that some domestic airline operators have not been complying with the COVID-19 protocols.”
According to him, the continuous non-compliance of the domestic airline operators will attract severe penalties and in some cases will lead to the revocation of the company’s operating license.
Herbal vaccines Get approved protocols from WHO
According to the World Health Organization, herbal vaccines for the COVID-19 can now undergo phase 3 clinical trials for treatment. The new protocol was approved by the WHO in collaboration with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs.
This will boost the efforts being made globally to develop vaccines for the coronavirus. Currently, there are more than 100 Covid-19 vaccines that are being developed across the globe with about 8 of them at the phase 3 trial stage.
A charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials were also endorsed by the Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19. The committee was formed by the three organisations.
The technical documents that were approved as a result of the endorsement will help African scientists to conduct proper clinical trials and ensure the safety and efficacy of the traditional medicines.
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