Covid-19 Update: FG denies imposing new restrictions, Indian strain discovered in Nigeria

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Although the cases of Covid-19 have continued to increase in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cautioned against locking down the economy again.
Although the cases of Covid-19 have continued to increase in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cautioned against locking down the economy again.

It has been an interesting 7 days since the last roundup of important developments related to the covid-19. In that time, 242 people were confirmed to be infected with the virus across the country. Currently, there are 165,515 confirmed cases in the country but only 7,085 are currently active.

Lagos still leads the pack with 58,599 cases confirmed to date. The commercial epicentre has 1,170 active cases, also the highest number of active cases in any state. Besides Kogi which refused to acknowledge the virus early enough, Zamfara has the lowest number of infected persons so far with only 244 total cases and only 3 of them active.

Here are the other interesting and important developments you should know of.

FG denies new covid-19 restrictions

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has denied the imposition of new Covid-19 restrictions on movement by the Federal Government. This is contrary to the news that made the rounds following a meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee on Monday.

lai mohammed
Lai Mohammed

He said, “what we did was to remind people of the existing extant regulations on the covid-19.” Per the current protocols, night clubs will remain closed while social gatherings will only admit a fraction of their normal capacity.

Indian covid-19 strain discovered in Nigeria

The B1.617 strain of Covid-19 that originated in India has been identified in Nigeria. It was detected by the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (AGEGID) at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun state. The strain was found specifically in Edo and Osun states.

Source: Marca.com

The virus is, however, yet to have the devastating effects that characterize it in India where it infected 400,000 people daily and claimed 157 lives every hour. According to Christian Hapi, a professor of the AGEGID, “What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant that they had but it has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.”

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The strain has mutated twice and has some characteristics that are absent in the one detected here in Nigeria. The strain is not yet fierce in the country and more testing will need to be carried out in states to monitor the infection rate of the Indian strain.

Only 1% of Lagosians have been vaccinated

Despite having the highest recorded number of Covid-19 cases in the country, Lagos state has vaccinated only 1% of its population. The state’s commissioner for health, Akin Abayomi, made this revelation at a ministerial briefing last Tuesday.

Prof Akin Abayomi

The minute percentage represents 260,000 people who have received the first dose of the vaccine. The state’s metropolitan area has a population of 21.3 million people. Abayomi said that in light of the insufficiency of vaccines, health agencies have been placed on a high alert to detect early warning signs of a third covid-19 wave.

Local production of vaccines halted for lack of expertise

The local production of Covid-19 vaccines in the country has hit a brick wall. The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, clarified that it was not due to a lack of funds but rather, a lack of technical know-how.

osagie ehanire
Dr Osagie Ehanire

According to him, funds approved by the National Assembly for supporting local production of vaccines is still intact. However, the tech that is needed to make the vaccines is currently unavailable because the company billed to facilitate it is not yet ready.

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He said, “Nigeria is a 49 percent shareholder in a company called Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited, and the bio-vaccine is a revival of the former vaccine plants that the federal government used to have, in which the private sector was invited to join and form a special purpose vehicle.”

The minister further explained that the joint venture has not been kicked off because of delays from past lockdowns. He said there is a lot of delay by the company in getting themselves on their feet. He assured that though the aspiration to produce the vaccine is not been fulfilled, it has not been abandoned.

UK places Nigeria on Amber list

The United Kingdom has placed Nigeria on its Amber list. This means that all passengers from the country will have to fill a passenger location form, book and pay for day 2 and day 8 Covid-19 travel tests within the country on arrival at the airport.

air-travel

The passengers are to quarantine for 10 days at home. However, the quarantine may be ended earlier if the individual is able to pay for a private test through the “Test to Release” scheme in the UK. Nigeria is joining 188 other countries on the Amber list shortly after it placed a ban on flights from India and Brazil.


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