COVID-19 Roundup: Nigeria to Get 100k Vaccines as New Variant Could Spread Faster
As the country prepared to close activities for 2020, the number of COVID-19 infections continued to rise, showing that the virus is not going away anytime soon. Numbers from the NCDC show that 5,908 new cases were recorded between 21st and 27th December 2020.
Few days into January 2021 has revealed a sharp rise in the spread of the COVID-19. The daily highest number of cases this year was recorded on January 6, with a total of 1,354 new cases across the country. In the days since TechNext reported that the country is entering the second wave of the global pandemic, the cases have been rising.
Paul Okoye of the former P-Square musical duo announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the virus. He shared this with his fans on Instagram, saying:
ATTENTION!!! Covid is REAL !!! I know as typical Nigerian or African is very hard to believe some will say “experience is the best teacher,” oh well , the experience and the teacher has visited me and they’ve been dealing with me for more than 10days now sh*t is not funny ….. worst sickness ever!!! …… y’all better be careful out there. if you like believe me, if you like don’t believe me you can as well wait for your own experience by playing ignorance. Goodluck God help us all.
Here are the other stories that have developed relating to the pandemic.
Nigeria to receive 100,000 vaccine doses by January
On Tuesday, the Presidential Taskforce, PTF announced that about 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to the country before the end of January. According to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, this is the first phase of the vaccination scheme.
He added that the second phase will help the country to obtain about 42 million doses of the vaccine through the COVAX facility which is also coordinated by the Global Vaccines Alliance, GAVI.
According to him, the 42 million doses will be free and will be a “combination of all the available approved vaccines currently in the market but this will cover only about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s population”. Admitting that for the pandemic to be completely eradicated, 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated, Shuaib said that only about 40% will be vaccinated in 2021 while the remaining 30% will be reached in 2022.
In similar vein, Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama shared that the country is in talks with China to obtain vaccine for the COVID-19. Onyeama met with China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs while the latter was on a working visit to African countries. This is in an effort to increase the supply of vaccine doses to Nigeria.
Virologist says variant found in Nigeria is more contagious
Director of the Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology at the Lagos University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital, Sunday Omilabu, has announced that the variant of the COVID-19 found in Nigeria is more contagious than the first strain to appear in the country. Recall that the first case of infection was recorded in February 2020 and since then the country has recorded more than 80,000 infections.
According to Omilabu, one person who is infected with this variant can infect 4 or 5 persons as well, leading to a higher rate of infection. In the midst of a rise in cases with more people presenting severe symptoms, the director recommended that genetic sequencing will help medical practitioners to learn more about the new variant.
It is not yet established whether the rise in the number of cases is as a result of the variant or not. However, people are still encouraged to comply with COVID-19 protocols and curtail social activities as much as possible.
Speaking on the new variant, Omilabu said “I think we need to calm our mind down, there are going to be more variants to come. We need to be monitoring the virus, we need to sequence. If we sequence, then we would have more information about what is in circulation and then, of course, we need to continue with surveillance.”
FG Places Embargo on 100 Travellers who refused COVID-19 test
100 passports belonging to people who failed to take the repeat COVID-19 test after arriving in the country have been embargoed by the FG. Owners of the marked passport numbers will not be allowed to travel out of the country.
Recall that travellers into the country are mandated to go into self-isolation and carry out COVID-19 tests seven days after arrival. The result of the test will then determine if they should mingle with the public or be treated for the virus.
In earlier briefings of the Presidential Task Force, the Chairman, Boss Mustapha had mentioned that about 20,216 inbound travellers refused to show up for the repeat COVID-19 PCR test. This led to the decision to place a ban on their passports to restrict them from travelling out of the country.
“With effect from 1st January 2021 the passports of the first 100 passengers that failed to take their day seven post-arrival PCR test will be published in the national dailies,” Mr Mustapha said.
Schools in Lagos to reopen amidst pandemic
While the second wave of the pandemic is sweeping through the country, schools have been asked to reopen in different states. In Lagos, schools below the tertiary level will reopen on Monday, 18th of January, 2021.
This was announced by the State’s Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo. She implored schools to comply with all the COVID-19 protocols, adding that it is not “just for the improvement of overall school operations but for the safe reopening of academic activities in order to support the Lagos State government’s quest for a full return.”
Recall that the state cancelled the previous resumption date of January 4 for the students on account of the rise in the number of cases being recorded daily in Lagos. While sharing the new resumption date, Folashade asked schools to have alternative plans in place for students and teachers who might need to continue the learning process online if they fall sick.
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