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Chinese Doctors Who Brought Medical Equipment To Help Fight COVID-19 In Nigeria Sent On 14 Days Isolation

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Amid a wave of opposition, 15 Chinese medical experts arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday, to join the battle against COVID-19.

The Federal Government received some medical equipment and supplies brought by the medical team which arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in a chartered Air Peace flight.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the sponsor of the trip, said they brought about 16-tons of test kits, ventilators, disinfection machine, disposable medical masks, N95 masks, medications, rubber gloves, protective gowns, goggles, face shields, infra-red thermometers, and others.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was at the airport to receive the Chinese and their supplies, said the team will be quarantined for two weeks.

“They knew that before they came and have undergone tests before they left their country.

“Nevertheless, they will be in quarantine for 14 days. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has gone to see where they will be quarantined.”

Ehanire added: “The equipment (they brought) will assist a lot to fill some existing gaps.

“We now have 50 more ventilators.”

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, said the equipment and medical supplies are valued at about $1.5million. Added to the cost of the flight, everything is worth about $2million.

Our reporter learnt that 12 of the 15-man team are doctors. The rest are specialists in infectious diseases, respiratory illnesses, intensive care, cardiology, neurology, general surgery, and anesthesiology.

CCECC Nigeria Managing Director, Michael Jiang, said in a statement: “The primary purpose of the working team is to escort the medical supply and provide guidance for their usage and distribution.

“They will also provide CCECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare assistance where necessary. They are also coming with adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and medical items for the employees.

“In addition, under the directive of the Chinese Embassy and in response to the Nigeria Government’s request, the working team may also share with Nigerian medical teams effective methods on how to contain the COVID-19 and provide advice on the use of relevant medical equipment.

“The team is not coming to treat COVID-19 patients in Nigeria.

“In keeping with its corporate value, ‘Stride with Nigeria’, CCECC is participating in the construction of two COVID-19 response facilities in the FCT for free as part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).

“The facilities are a 196-bed at ‘ThisDay Dome Treatment Centre,’ in collaboration with Sahara Group and Arise News; and the 150-bed ‘Idu Depot Treatment Centre’.”

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) re-iterated that the Chinese experts must not directly treat any Nigerian patient.

They described any attempt by the Chinese medical team to manage any Nigerian patient as unethical and illegal.

NMA President Dr Francis Faduyile told our reporter: “Our stand has not changed and we still insist that there is nothing that they (Chinese) want to offer that can improve what we have on the ground.

“There are so many things that we need to put into consideration because it is a war affecting ordinary Nigerians, and sometimes, you look at the risk and benefits.

“Our members will look at what is on the ground; if we are doing what we are doing and they (Chinese) do not interfere with us, we will continue doing what we are doing for Nigerians.

“We cannot now precipitously make a decision. We are an association that is bounded by ethics, and rules. In a very short while, you will hear our decision”

NARD President, Dr Sokomba Aliyu, said while the association was not against donations, the experts cannot attend to any Nigerian patient because they do not have the license to practice in Nigeria.

“We do not need their hands as we are not overwhelmed and can take care of our patients.

“So far, they have also stated that they are not coming to attend to patients, so we cannot say categorically if their words are anything to go by.

“While they (officials) have gone ahead to welcome the Chinese, we are hopeful that the Chinese will have nothing to do with our patients because if they proceed to involve the Chinese in the management of our patients, we will just leave the patients for the Chinese to continue.

“As it is now, we are going to be watchful and wait for them to see how far they are engaging the Chinese, and to what extent they are going to be managing our patients,” Aliyu said.

Also yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible should there be an upsurge in the rate of COVID-19 infection and death following the arrival of the Chinese.

The party said it was alarmed that the President ignored the protests by Nigerians and professional bodies, including the NMA and allowed the Chinese doctors to be brought in “from the hotbed of the plague”.

PDP, through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, questioned the safety of kits and equipment from China, adding that it was concerned about “scary reports of escalation of the scourge in certain countries reportedly after the arrival of Chinese medical personnel”.

“Our doctors and nurses have been on top of the situation with records of recoveries and fewer casualties, thus raising questions about the real intentions of bringing in doctors from China.

”Nigerians are aware that since the index case was reported till date, our nation’s COVID-19 data stands at 254 confirmed cases, out of which 44 have been successfully treated by our doctors with six deaths, which reportedly had other underlining ailments”, the party noted.

The figure rose to 276 last night.

The party charged Nigerians to be extra vigilant and asked the Presidential Task Force to outline the states and local government areas the Chinese doctors are expected to operate in for monitoring .

Also, the United Labour Congress (ULC) said while there is nothing wrong with seeking help, stakeholders should have been carried along.

Its President Comrade Joe Ajaero said in a statement: “We are surprised that the decision to bring in the Chinese medical experts was not fully discussed and agreed among the top medical practitioners and stakeholders in the nation… This is worrying.

“Why would such a crucial decision be taken in secret without coordinate input from the critical stakeholders in the nation?

“This sector is a highly specialized area which requires that at all times the input of the professionals in this sector to process the offer and agree on its mechanics and modalities.

“As we battle against COVID-19, we strongly believe that the nation’s medical experts must be involved if not allowed to be at the forefront of taking such crucial decisions.”

ULC urged the Federal Government to address Nigerians’ fears, especially as it relates coronavirus.

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said it would resist any move to deploy the Chinese medical team in Southeast and Southsouth.

Its leader Uchenna Madu said in a statement: “We shall resist any medical assistance from China…Medical doctors and other health workers in Southeast and Southsouth are capable and trained to handle every medical challenge professionally in those areas.”

BIG STORY

Nigeria Yet To Receive Ventilators From US, A Month After Trump’s Promise — FG

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The federal government says it is yet to receive ventilators from the US.

On April 28, US President Donald Trump, during a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, promised to send ventilators to support Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on Thursday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said the ventilators are yet to arrive in Nigeria.

He said there is no specific date for the arrival of the medical items, and that the information will be made public once the ventilators are received.

“On when the ventilators promised by President Trump will arrive, to the best of my knowledge, they have not arrived. When they do arrive it will be made known to the public,” he said.

On the efforts made by the information ministry in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Mohammed said there has been increased community sensitization against the disease.

He said there has been a series of jingles played on radio stations to enhance rural engagements.

“In addition, we also have support from 40 community and campus radio stations across the country awaiting our jingles,” he said.

“Our aggressive and sustained campaign on the Social Media has gained traction, in the last five days alone some of the videos we posted have been viewed over one million times.”

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BIG STORY

Buhari Came To ‘Steal, Kill, Destroy’ —- Fani-Kayode

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A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has described the five years of President Muhammadu Buhari as “disastrous.”

He disagreed with Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, whose weekly column argued the President’s emergence, saved the nation from collapse in 2015.

Fani-Kayode, on his verified twitter handle, said Buhari’s emergence has plunged the nation into a deeper abyss.

Responding directly to Adesina’s tweet, the former Minister said: “Not so my friend. The emergence of Buhari in 2015 annihilated Nigeria and plunged her into darkness, death, and destruction.

“He came to steal, kill and destroy and for the last disastrous 5 years that is all he has done.”

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BIG STORY

Lagos BRT Increases Fares By 50%

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Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Primero Transport Services Limited, operators of the Bus Rapid Transport, have said fares will increase by about 50 percent.

The company on Thursday said it got approval from the regulator of the sector, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, to increase the fares.

Earlier, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the company withdrew its services on Monday due to losses caused by the new guidelines of government which restricted the number of commuters on BRT to 20 per trip instead of 70.

The BRT Managing Director, Mr Fola Tinubu, told NAN that the management of the company would resolve the issues after a meeting with the government.

After the meeting, Tinubu said an agreement had been reached for the fares to be increased.

He said, “We are going to increase our pricing effective from Friday, May 29 (today). We agreed on this after our talk with the Lagos State Government.

“Everywhere commuters are paying N200 for a trip, it is going to be N300 and everywhere commuters are paying N300 per trip, it is going to be N500.

“We are increasing our fares. We have secured the permission of the regulator, Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.”

He said the number of passengers on the buses would also be increased to 42, with no passenger standing on buses as against 20 earlier approved by the government.

The LAMATA External Relations Specialist, Kola Ojelabi, confirmed the development.

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