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COVID-19: Nigeria Records 1,332 Cases In One Week, Fears 5th Wave

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…names Lagos, FCT, Rivers, Kano as flashpoints

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has again warned of a possible fifth wave of the Covid-19 virus in the country, given the resurgence in the number of confirmed cases. It disclosed that about 1,332 cases were recorded in one week.

It, therefore, called on states to ramp up testing as it asked Nigerians to embrace the safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus. “In the last eight weeks, the test positivity ratio has continued to increase,” the NCDC added.

It was gathered that as of July 22, 2022, Nigeria has recorded no fewer than 260,339 confirmed cases. While 253,566 cases have been successfully discharged, 3,147 lost their lives to complications arising from the virus.

As of Friday, the World Health Organisation reported that there were over 565 million cases globally, out of which over 6.3 million persons lost their lives. About 9,181,118 cases had however been confirmed in Africa. It noted also that over 12 billion doses of vaccines of the virus, covering first, second, and booster jabs, had been administered as of July 19.

NCDC data obtained on Saturday by our correspondents from the latest situation report of the disease however revealed that testing in the country had reduced by 53.42 percent.

According to the NCDC data, the country recorded 478 new cases between July 16 and 18, with Lagos State having 325 cases; Rivers State, 60; Federal Capital Territory, 29; Delta State, 25; Edo State, 17; Oyo State, eight; Kano State, six; Bayelsa four; and Ekiti four.

From July 19 to 20, not less than 235 confirmed cases were recorded in six states and the FCT. Lagos had 138; Rivers, 36; Delta, 21; Kaduna, 17; FCT, 13; Edo, nine; and Kano, one case.

Also, from July 21 to 22, there was a sharp increase in the number of cases as the country recorded 619 new cases from Ekiti (364); Lagos (62); Rivers (58); Delta (27); FCT (22); Oyo (19); Cross River (16); Abia (14); Kano (12); Bayelsa (11); Nasarawa (eight); Gombe (three); Plateau (two) and Bauchi (one).

It was also gathered that the number of inbound and outbound passengers who tested positive was on the increase. For inbound international travelers, the NCDC noted that In weeks 25 and 26, 858 travelers were tested, out of which 28 persons tested positive, compared to 17 out of the 904 persons tested in weeks 23 and 24.

Also, in weeks 25 and 26, 4,447 outbound international travelers were tested, out of which 133 persons tested positive, compared to 52 out of 3,987 that tested positive in weeks 23 and 24.

Though no death was reported during the referenced period, the NCDC noted, “In the last eight weeks, the test positivity ratio has continued to increase with the highest increase being in this reporting week. The majority of the cases were reported from Lagos, FCT, Rivers, and Kano states.”

The NCDC, however, said hospitalization and fatalities had remained low, suggesting the recorded cases were mostly mild to moderate. It noted in its report that it had reached out to states to increase their testing, adding that the addition of laboratories was ongoing.

According to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, as of Friday, 26,127,761 persons have been fully vaccinated in Nigeria, representing 23.4 percent of the total eligible population, while 11,819,911 have been partially vaccinated.

It was earlier reported that Nigeria missed the 40 percent herd immunity deadline set by global leaders in a bid to ensure fast vaccination drive and herd immunity in the various countries across the world.

Ekiti reactivates protocols

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, said on Saturday that the state recorded 74 fresh cases, which necessitated the reactivation of the preventive measures.

Filani said residents must adhere to the measures including wearing face masks in public gatherings, proper handwashing in flowing water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, social or physical distancing, reporting at the nearest health facility when sick, getting tested, and isolating if positive, and adherence to Covid-19 measures by banks and other institutions.

In a statement titled, ‘Ekiti announces return to strict COVID-19 preventive measures to mitigate increasing nationwide spread’, the commissioner harped on the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines, saying, “Vaccination remains the most effective means of curbing this pandemic and we encourage all residents of the state to get vaccinated. As of today (Saturday), 384,730 persons are fully vaccinated (in Ekiti State). However, this is not sufficient to achieve herd immunity, hence the re-enforcement of preventive protocols.”

“As the state Ministry of Health continues to monitor the recent increase in Covid-19 cases across the country and a recent spike in the state with 74 persons currently positive, all residents of Ekiti State are hereby advised to adhere strictly to the government’s public health and social measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

He asked residents of the state to visit vaccination posts nearest to them for their complete jabs.

Speaking on the reason for the surge, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, in an interview, attributed the surge to the weather and low vaccination rate.

He stated, “There are two hypotheses: the weather is getting colder and it’s like flu. In a cold season like this, we may have more cases when people have not been vaccinated and our immunity is not up to the level of fighting the virus.

“Also, our vaccination rate is low. There are some countries already taking second and third boosters but we are still on the first booster. The tests show that we are dealing with a new strain, so people need to get vaccinated. We have been saying this but people do not adhere to our instructions. Covid-19 is going to be with us for a long time, so it is better for people to get vaccinated.”

Also, a former chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Dr. Tunji Akintade, advised Nigerians to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical protocols.

He said in an interview, “The increase in cases is as a result of an increase in testing. There was a time we were not reporting more cases; it was because there was not much testing.

“People need to go back to the non-pharmaceutical protocols like wearing face masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing,” he added.

The immediate past president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, also stressed that prevention was key.

“People need to do the needful; they need to get vaccinated, maintain social distancing and wear their masks. It is obvious that there is a surge in the infection globally and people need to take care of their health because the government cannot do everything for us,” he added.

Also speaking in an interview, a professor of medical virology at the University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba said the country might not be able to withstand another lockdown and that testing and the vaccination drive should continue.

Baba added, “There is a need for Nigerians to embrace the non-pharmaceutical measures. The coronavirus is a virus that mutates and when you have more variants coming up then you see newer characteristics.

“When you look at what is going on in Nigeria now, you will see that most people act as if the virus has gone and that is wrong. There is also no need for states to slow down on testing. I know most people won’t go for a test until they discover symptoms, but that is not fair enough. We are still in a pandemic. This is not the time for us to joke about it.”

Another health expert at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Prof Victor Olumekun, said virulent variants were coming up and that the pandemic had yet to be over.

“The only thing is that it is not as deadly as it used to be because we are approaching herd immunity. That means the virulence and the infectivity will reduce; that does not mean it has gone. People who are yet to get vaccinated should go and do so.”

Report has it that countries such as the United Kingdom have continued to witness a recent spike in cases. A report from the Office for National Statistics stated that the number of people testing positive for the virus in the UK within seven days rose to 3,760,200.

In the United States, President Joe Biden was a few days ago diagnosed with the virus and is experiencing “very mild symptoms”, a White House statement said on Thursday.

His deputy, Kamala Harris, had tested positive for the virus in April.

Symptoms evolving – Expert

A consultant paediatrician and former chairperson, Medical Advisory Committee, National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Seyi Oniyangi, on Saturday said symptoms of COVID-19 were still evolving as he advised Nigerians to embrace the safety protocols.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Oniyangi spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during the eighth Kola Olafimihan Endowment Lecture at the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, titled ‘The Pandemic Now and Next Time – Matters Arising’.

Oniyangi said the symptoms ranged from zero to life-threatening situations. “Severe illness is more likely in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. These symptoms are most commonly respiratory with pneumonia-like illnesses, difficulty in breathing, cough, and loss of smell among others,” she said.

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Project Lead Africa Announces 2022 Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards, Tagged “Rewarding Tenacity”

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Organizers of Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards have annouced November 13th for the 2022 maiden edition of Lead Awards. It was also revealed that the prestigious event will hold at the Dome International Conference Center, Akure, Ondo State.

Addressing a cross section of journalists over the weekend in Lagos, the Executive Director, Abiola Alaba Peters AAP, said the evening promises to be a gathering of captains of industries, government officials and prominent traditional rulers as far as Ondo State is concerned.

“It is our pleasure to announce to the general public, particularly the good people of Ondo State, that all is set for the 2022 Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards. This announcement was necessary after several months of consultation and planning, the event will be live at the Dome International Conference Center, in Ondo State capital, Akure”

“The date is November 13th 2022, It’s going to be a cooperate night, an evening of glitz and glamour, we have put in so much into making this maiden edition a memorable one. And that is why we have also taking time to design the concept of the theme of this year ceremony, REWARDING TENACITY. We believe it’s time to celebrate the individuals and organizations who have put in their best in making our dear state what it is today”

“It’s promises to be a gathering of some of the biggest names in Ondo State, from politics, business, entertainment, among others, our traditional rulers are not going to be left out, we are also expecting guests from neighboring states. Alaba Peters concluded.

Giving further details on the event, the Media and Publicity Director, Adewoye Solomon, said although activities, such as nominations and voting has kicked off since January, the award ceremony will hold on a Sunday in the month of November 2022.

In his words, “Let me start by saying that, the process and activities for the award started in January this year, the award presentation will hold in Akure, on a Sunday, the second week of November 2022. Let me also add that, two months ago, we closed the voting process. We have about 25 categories of awards, which includes the special recognition category”.

“A total of 15 categories will be decided by general public, while the remaining 10 will be decided based on the panels’ decision. We received a good number of quality entries from across the state for this debut edition. We have our final shortlists of winners, which we are confident embody the excellence the awards stand for.”

Lastly, let me also add that, this is a strictly by Invitation event. We are introducing an electronic invites by next month. We also have some top celebrities coming in from Lagos. We will make some major announcement in the month of October, do well to follow us on all our social media pages for updates. Thank You “

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JUST IN: FG Makes U-Turn, Withdraws Order To Reopen Varsities

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The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission, Monday afternoon, withdrew its circular which ordered vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors, and governing councils to re-open federal universities.

It was reported earlier that a circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 was addressed to all vice-chancellors; pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities ordering them to re-open universities.

But in another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which the Director, Finance also signed, and Account of the NUC, Sam Onazi, the commission withdrew the order.

Though it did not explain why. The letter tagged, “withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022” partly read, “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022, on the above
subject.

“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors, chairmen of governing councils, and vice-chancellors of federal universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.

“Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards”

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Retired Soldiers Stage Protest In Abuja Over Pay Discrepancies [PHOTOS]

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Some retired soldiers on Monday in Abuja protested salary and pension gaps among the ranks of serving and retired military personnel.

The protesters were seen with mats and banners demanding that the federal government rectify the discrepancies.

One of the banners they carried, said, “Review the wide disparity in pay and pension across the ranks of servicing and retired personnel”

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