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COVID-19: Another lockdown beckons as FG orders closure of bars, nightclubs, others

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COVID-19: Another lockdown beckons as FG orders closure of bars, nightclubs, others

Another round of lockdown may be beckoning as the second wave of COVID-19 is taking its toll with the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, taking tough decisions.
It has already placed restriction of all informal and formal festivities, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities and end-of-year events to not more than 50 persons.
Following the rise in confirmed cases nationwide it said it is also holding discussions around the calls for restriction of international travels due to discovery of new strains of the virus in some countries. 

The task force, aviation and health authorities are assessing the situation closely, and would take a position as soon as cogent scientific basis is established. 


It also directed that all gatherings linked to religious events be limited to less than 50 per cent capacity of the hosting facility in addition to physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and strict enforcement of not more than 50 attendees. 

Task force’s chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the advisories were being issued to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered “super spreader events.” 

He ordered closure of bars, nightclubs, pubs, event and recreational cenres with exception to restaurants providing takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins. 

The SGF said public transport systems were to carry passengers of not more than 50 per cent of their capacity in deference too extant social distancing protocol.
 Mustapha stated that the PTF, on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects schools, which vacated from December 18, 2020 to remain closed till at least January 18, 2021 for ongoing measures to take effect.

He said recent epidemiology statistics confirmed that Nigeria was witnessing rising infections akin to the second wave of the disease affecting other nations of the world.

The chairman observed that Lagos, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had emerged new epicentres with over 70 per cent of all confirmed cases.

His words: “Two major indicators highlight the current increase in cases and transmission across Nigeria. These are: Notwithstanding the fact that our testing numbers were fast approaching the peak recorded in July 2020, the number of cases being reported are disproportionately higher. For example, in the FCT, despite recording an increase of 85 per cent in tests conducted over the last week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 285 per cent during the same time period.

“These trends point to a higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR) – the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests). The TPR was below five per cent through September and October, and we recorded a low point of three per cent nationally in late October 2020. “However, recent trends in cases have seen this number increase to 10 per cent in the second week of December.” 

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At last resident doctors bow to pressure, suspend nationwide strike

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At last resident doctors bow to pressure, suspend nationwide strike

The National Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD) on Saturday suspended its 10 days old strike after sustained pressure mounted on them to shelve the strike by stakeholders.
The National President of the Association, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said the strike was suspended after series of long hours of meetings with various stakeholders in the health sector.
He said based on their responsibility to Nigerians and the fact that the Federal government has met some of their demands they have no option but to call off the strike.

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Resident Doctors would account for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action, says senate

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Resident Doctors would account for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action, says senate

The Senate committee on health has faulted the strike action embarked upon by the resident Doctors which is having a telling effect on patients.

The chairman of the committee Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe said Nigerians would hold the resident doctors responsible for the blood of any patient that dies on account of their ongoing strike action.

Oloriegbe spoke at the public hearing  of the bill entitled  “Federal Medical Centre, Mubi, Adamawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2021” sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) 

According to him, the National Assembly made every effort to avert the doctors ongoing strike to no avail. 

“We had a marathon meeting just before Easter on March 21st specifically and we agreed on all the issues that were raised by the resident doctors.

He said there three Germain issues which included the payment of salary to house officers which as at that time they also agreed had been essentially been cleared which was the major reason they wanted to go on strike.

“The second one was what they claimed to be payment to local resident doctors, which was an aberration where there was not supposed to be local but the government agreed to commence payment which has started to be done.

“Those are the two critical ones that were germane most of the other issues that were raised were not even issues within the purview of the federal government because they were issues of state governments that owed salaries or something. 

He said they are issues that relate to things that were in 2014, 2015 which was as at that meeting, the Federal Ministry of Finance confirmed that a committee has been set up to look at the other aspects. 

“So we are surprised that the resident doctors went on strike. However, we are not reneging, my counterparts in the house of Representatives are meeting with the resident doctors.”

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World Health Day: Govt decries shortage of vaccines as communities groan over neglect n Nasarawa

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World Health Day: Govt decries shortage of vaccines as communities groan over neglect n Nasarawa

Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Nassarawa State Government has raised the alarm over shortages of essential supplies of COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens who are yet to access the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination particularly the vulnerable persons in the state.

This state commissioner of health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba-Yahaya made the disclosure during the World Health Day in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital on Wednesday.

According to him, “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the light on the inequalities among the citizens amidst shortages of essential supplies, poor people have been pushed to the back of the queue in accessing COVID-19 test kits in the state.”

He continued: “There are several shades of inequalities, discrimination based on gender, place of residence, income, educational level, age, ethnicity and disability to disadvantage of the vulnerable populations across the state.”

He, however, emphasized that there was need to start to act on the social and economic determinations of the people, by working across sectors to improve living and working conditions, particularly the marginalized groups.

While reacting on the challenges being faced by the vulnerable persons in the state, he urged leaders at various levels to work together to address inequalities in their respective countries, specially on COVID-19 vaccines.

The commissioner of health also admonished pharmaceutical companies to expand their manufacturing capacity to overcome current supply shortages in the state, urging wealthy individuals to partner with the state government so that the most at risk populations in all countries could be protected.

Also residents in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, Awe, Keana and Obi local government areas and others in the state have expressed worry over lack of access to COVID-19 test in their locality.

Narrating his ordeal, Mr. John Daniel, said they could not access the COVID-19 test in their community, owning to the fact that the health workers trained by the Primary Development Agency in charge of administering COVID-19 tests are focussing on tge rich in the state.

He said: “We are poor people. We have been relegatedto the background because we are not government workers.”

Also speaking to our correspondent, Ovey Timothy, said since the state government commenced the COVID-19 test the health workers have not be able to reach their community.

His words: “We are calling on the state government to urgently intervene and come to their rescue.”

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