Covid -19 Update: Nigeria Risks Third Wave, Politicians Allegedly Hijacked Palliatives
With the numbers of detected cases declining week on week, it is quite unexpected to hear the medical experts warning of a potential third wave in the country. Yet, that is exactly what has happened.
In this roundup, there are interesting developments. The latest details covered include Budgit’s findings of misappropriation of the 2020 palliatives, the FG’s denial that it did not receive $5.6 billion and the warnings about a third wave.
Relax and read through.
Lagos health commissioner admits vaccines have side effects
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi said that a small percentage of those vaccinated with the Astrazeneca vaccine experienced what is called Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) or Adverse Event of Special Interest (AESI). Simply put, they experienced side effects.
He admitted this as part of the steward reports on the conclusion of phase one of the covid-19 vaccination. He announced May 28, 2021, as the date for the commencement of the second phase of vaccination. In the second phase, those who have been vaccinated before will receive the second shot of the vaccine.
The adverse symptoms recorded after the first dosage include pain at the injection site, fever or body pains lasting 24 to 48 hours and anaphylactic shock.
Medical experts warn against third wave, recommend ban on international flights
In spite of the declining numbers of covid-19 cases in the country, medical experts have warned that there is still a risk of a third wave. Under the aegis of the Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria, the experts recommended that international flights from high burden countries like India should be banned for at least 2 weeks.
The president of the academy, Prof Oladapo Ashiru said, “The ongoing transmission in the country is caused largely by inbound passengers from India and those countries with surges in the cases reported daily. Many of them travel into Nigeria on indirect flights. Nigeria cannot afford to have a third wave.”
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, however, maintains that the risk of a third wave can be mitigated by travel tests and self-isolation protocols.
Numbers also show that not much has changed in the rate of infections between last week and this week. 424 new cases were recorded between April 21 and 27 while 423 cases were recorded in the week before then.
Budgit says politicians hijacked covid-19 palliatives for party loyalists
A report by the civic advocacy group, Budgit, alleges that covid-19 palliatives were not properly distributed in many states in Nigeria. Recall that palliatives which included food items were made available for distribution to the masses by the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CA-Covid).
In its report, Budgit says it found evidence of wrongdoing in Kano, Lagos and other states. It also mentioned that in most monitored local government areas in Lagos including Mushin, Agege, Ikorodu, Surulere and Epe, palliatives were hijacked, diverted and shared among party members by politicians.
“Some residents who are not members of the party lamented the hijack and their exclusion from the whole distribution process. The ward chairman is in charge of the distribution of the food in the Agege area in Lagos State. One DeRica of rice, one DeRica of beans and one sachet of tomato paste were given to a street with more than 30 houses,” the report said.
During the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest in 2020, several warehouses full of palliatives were discovered and looted by people across the country. The Lagos state government, however, denied that it hoarded the free items. It stated that the distribution was slow due to logistics challenges and the disturbances created by the protests.
FG denies receiving $5.6bn donation for pandemic
In response to the report from Budgit, a spokesperson for the federal government has denied receiving a $5.6 billion donation to help in the fight against covid-19.
The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clement Ikanade Agba said, “They are saying that the country received a donation of $5.6billion dollars. That is incorrect.”
He explained that what happened there was a shortfall in revenue due to the disruptions in supply and reduction in the price of crude because of the covid-19. As a result, the government introduced a stimulus of N2 trillion into the economy.
Senate says new loan of $1.5 billion has no harmful strings attached
The House of Senate has approved a loan of $1.5 billion from the World Bank for Nigeria. The entire sum is in 2 parts, with the first being the $750 million for the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme. The second is an additional $750 million for states, fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
Senator Clifford Ordia while shedding more light on the nature of the loan said there are no unusual or onerous conditions attached to the terms of the loans. He insisted they do not compromise the sustainability of the Nigerian economy or damage the integrity and independence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation.
Half of the fund dedicated to Covid-19 will be used to protect livelihoods, ensure food security and stimulate economic activity while the other half will be used to provide fiscal support to states.
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