It’s another week and thousands of new Covid-19 cases have been discovered in the country. The NCDC reported that 765 cases were confirmed among prospective corp members after they were tested at the orientation camps and appropriate measures have been taken to curb the spread.
With schools resuming, the authorities have equally been mandated to let every parent know if one case of the virus is discovered within the school. This is in order to let parents know if there is any chance that the children have been exposed to the virus.
In the last 1 week, January 19 to 26, 9,608 people across the country were confirmed positive for Coronavirus. The highest number of 2,314 cases was recorded on January 22 and the lowest number of 964 cases was recorded on January 24.
Defaulters risk jail term as Buhari signs new regulations into law
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 into law. According to the new legislation, anyone found to have breached Covid-19 safety protocols risk going to jail for 6 months or paying a hefty fine or both.
According to the new regulations, anyone confirmed positive by a licensed testing centre can’t refuse to be isolated in a designated isolation centre. It also prescribed physical distance of no less two metres at all gatherings and gatherings of more than 50 persons in an enclosed space is prohibited except for religious purposes.
Religious places shall only operate at 50% capacity. No establishment like markets, stalls, malls, recreation centres, restaurants etc shall allow anybody within their premises unless the person has followed all due safety protocols. Failure to adhere to these measures will lead to punitive measures.
The economy can’t withstand another lockdown- CBN
Although the cases of Covid-19 have continued to increase in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cautioned against another lockdown. Recall that the FG enforced a total lockdown to check the first wave of the pandemic in the country. As such, there are fears that the same measure could be implemented again.
But the CBN, rising from its monetary policy committee meeting, says another lockdown will be ill-advised as the economy can’t withstand it. Although the complete lockdown helped to restrict movement in 2020 when it was in effect, it had adverse effects on the economy as many businesses had to shut down while many lost their livelihoods.
According to the CBN, the economy is recovering at a very slow pace, however, another lockdown may effectively snuff the life out of whatever recovery the economy has already made.
Serap asks FG to disclose beneficiaries of N729 billion Covid-19 fund
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, Sadia Umar-Farouk, to disclose the details of the payment of N729 billion to Nigerians. The monetary palliative was expected to provide help to the people impoverished by the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the ministry, the funds were supposed to be distributed among 24.3 million poor people in the country. The SERAP asked for details which include the list of beneficiaries, how they were selected, how the payment will be made, projected payment per state and if the payment will be done through Bank Verification Number or through cash.
Umar-Farouk had earlier stated that the government would pay 24.3 million Nigerians N5,000 monthly for 6 months but offered no further details on how, when, to whom and when the distribution will take place. The proposed N729 billion forms 5% of Nigeria’s 2021 budget.
SERAP said, “Transparency and accountability in the program would improve public trust, and allow Nigerians to track and monitor its implementation, and to assess if the program is justified, as well as to hold authorities to account in cases of diversion, mismanagement and corruption.”
Lagos to procure its own vaccines
The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced that the state is in contact with vaccine manufacturers in order to support the efforts of the federal government in procuring vaccines. Recall that the state has consistently recorded the highest number of confirmed cases since the virus started spreading locally in the country.
At the national level, the country is expecting 100,000 doses which were supposed to come in January but which will now be received in early February.
Sanwo-Olu said, “But other than that, as a sub-national, we are also taking our destiny to our hands, we have started conversations with some of the vaccine manufacturers.”
“Pfizer, for example, we have made contact with them. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, I have made contacts with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet…How that will work out, we still have a week or 2, but we have started making contacts already.”Babajide Sanwo-olu
According to the governor, the plan is not to vaccinate the 22 million people in Lagos State but to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating about 50 to 60% of the population.
Eased Covid-19 lockdown extended by 1 month
The federal government has extended the phase 3 of the eased lockdown by another month. This was announced by the Presidential Task Force chairman, Boss Mustapha, at the weekly briefing on Monday. The extension has been deemed necessary because of the persistent rise in the number of cases in the country.
Mustapha said, “In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating, all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2020.”
He added that the country is improving in its care of covid-19 patients in the country and is making plans to fast track the rehabilitation of medical oxygen plants in the country. This, he said, will make more medical oxygen available and reduce the number of covid-19 casualties.
The protocols for phase 3 of the eased lockdown include a no-mask-no-entry policy at restaurants, religious centres and offices in the private and public sector. It also mandates that bars and clubs remain closed for another month while other gatherings should have no more than 50 people.
Osun and Edo state governments ask staff to work from home
In accordance with a directive from the federal government, Osun state government has asked staff to work from home from January 25. This is because of the continued increase in the number of covid-19 infections in the state.
Edo state had earlier asked its staff to work from home in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus in the state. Workers in grade 12 and below will perform their tasks from home until another directive is given. In addition to the work-from-home policy, there is a dusk to dawn curfew in Osun state.