It is a new week in our roundup of events relating to the covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. This week leads up to 1 year since the country was forced into lockdown as a way of keeping the rate of infection manageable within communities.
In the time since then, we have gone through the first and the second waves of the pandemic, lost people and experienced economic hardships along the way. To all that we have been through and all that lies ahead, cheers to you and I, who will see it it to the end.
Within the last week (March 3 to 9), 2,289 people were infected across the country. While this is a slight increase from the 2,654 cases recorded last week, it still indicates a slowing down of the infection rate compared to the weeks before. This means the country may be well out of the second wave.
Here are the other important events that happened in the past one week.
Lagos, Ogun, others start vaccination program
Following its arrival into the country, vaccines have been distributed among the different states for disbursement. Lagos received its dosages around 4am on Tuesday morning while Ogun state received 50,000 on Monday morning and reportedly took delivery of another 50,000 on Monday night.
In accordance with the guidelines from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the frontline workers and elderly will be inoculated first before the other citizens are responded to.
The President and Vice-President have both been vaccinated and declared the vaccines safe. According to the director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, “It is important to stress that the President and other strategic leaders received their vaccines from the same four million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines delivered to Nigeria last week.”
Lagos arrests 113 clubbers in 2 clubs
113 young people have been arrested for going to nightclubs and violating covid-19 protocols. The arrest was made by the Lagos Police Command at two nightclubs, Garbana Nightclub in Ajao Estate and DNA Nightclub, Victoria Island.
TechNext reported the arrest of 172 people who were each fined N40,000 and sentenced to community service last week. This new arrest is coming barely a week after. According to the State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, one of the nightclubs went as far as removing the tape that the government used to seal the club premises as such will attract harsher punishment.
In addition to this, 55 persons arrested for not wearing facemasks in public places, were tried in an Abuja Mobile Court. They pleaded guilty to the charge of violating the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulation and were fined N2,000 each with the option of community service.
Lagos seals 11 facilities including clubs and event centers
The Lagos State government has sealed 11 buildings including Event Centres, Lounges and Night Clubs for violating the covid-19 protocols as laid down by the federal and state governments.
The centres had earlier notified the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSC) of their intention to organize parties and events and had gotten permission to do so. However, when the LSC officials visited the venues, they met a greater crowd of people than the number of people that had been permitted for each event.
The facilities that were closed off include UBC Club, VGC; Sapearz Lounge, Awolowo road, Ikoyi; Bravo event centre, Ogba; Ronite Event Centre, Iju Road, Agege.
The others are All Season Event Centre, Ipaja; OlaideAdeoluwa Memorial Hall, Carabana Lounge/Bar Isolo, Ajao Estate, DNA, Victoria Island; Twist Lounge, Kofo Abayomi Victoria Island; Carlsbad Lounge, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja; and Darts Event Centre, Grammar School, Ifako Ijaiye.
CBN extends stimulus package for homes and businesses
The Central Bank of Nigeria has reopened the portal to receive applications for the Targeted Credit Facility. (TCF). TCF is a stimulus package that is designed to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Through the facility, households can borrow up to 3 million naira at an interest rate of 9% per annum. The working capital is for a period of 1 year while the term loan has a maximum tenure of 3 years, with at least 1-year moratorium. The working capital cycle for a business is the length of time it takes to convert its total net working capital into cash.
The funds will be disbursed through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). According to NIRSAL, when TCF was first opened, it benefited at least 3,256 out of the 80,000 individuals and small businesses that applied as of April 2020. In this new opening, SMEs and MSMEs can also request loans of up to N25 million.
Iweala gets support for vaccine manufacturing in developing countries
With about 130 countries still waiting to get Covid-19 vaccines, equitable vaccine access remains a priority for top government and global officials. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, raised the need for more widespread production of vaccines at a 2-day summit organized by the organization.
At the summit, which was focused on covid-19 vaccine production, she said, “The fact is that each additional day the vaccine shortage continues, people will pay with their lives”. In support of her ideas, 7 of the 164 members if the global body released a document calling for acceleration in the distribution of vaccines.
The document reads in part, “”… The WTO should rapidly make use of its resources to the full extent to foster a prompt, pragmatic and tangible acceleration in the global response to COVID-19, and particularly the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.” It was sponsored by Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Norway and Turkey.
To allow more countries manufacture vaccines, a temporary waiver of intellectual properties is required from each of the producing countries. This has not been met with much enthusiasm as wealthier countries opine that it would undermine the bulky research efforts put into vaccine production by these countries in the first place.
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