•Edo, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Niger govs in self-isolation, total cases now 46
•Buhari at work; negative test result calls for rejoicing—Presidency
•Osinbajo tests negative; WHO urges unity against coronavirus
•NAF airlifts medical facilities donated by Jack Ma from Lagos to Abuja
•Presidency on partial lock-down, says Femi Adesina
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Wole Mosadomi, Chioma Obinna, Gabriel Enogholease, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Egufe Yafugborhi, Boluwaji Obahopo, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ozioruva Aliu & David Odama
LAGOS — As Nigeria yesterday confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 46, Rivers and Kogi states have shut their borders to stop the spread of the virus in their states.
Also, four governors, namely Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State have gone into isolation, while Governor Abdulahi Sule of Nassarawa State, said he would work from home.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers declared all state borders shut indefinitely, barring movement in and out of the state from today to guard against spread of the virus.
The governor in a state broadcast said his administration’s measures have become imperative after an alleged Port Harcourt-bound infected passenger was stopped from boarding a flight from Abuja.
Also, Kogi State yesterday announced closure of all entry points in and out of the state as part of efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in the state. It also banned public gatherings above five persons.
Meanwhile, following his close contact with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who have both tested positive for coronavirus, Governor Obaseki has gone into self-isolation.
Also, Governor Fayemi of Ekiti has said there is no cause for alarm over his decision to self-isolate, just as Governor Sule of Nassarawa said he has decided to work from home.
Also, Governor Bello of Niger has embarked on self isolation. He took the decision based on the fact that as a public figure, he must have had contact with some confirmed contact cases of COVID-19.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari, resumed work after isolating himself for about 24 hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit some staff of State House.
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday said that the result of President Buhari’s coronavirus test which proved negative calls for rejoicing.
The Presidency also said that the State House has not been shut down, but rather on partial lock-down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that socio-economic activities in the country are presently on a low.
Cases in Nigeria now 46
Nigeria yesterday confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 46, as the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi disclosed that over 2,000 persons are under supervised self-isolation.
The two new cases were reported in Lagos and in Osun States.
According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, both cases were returning travelers to Nigeria in the last seven days.
The cases which were reported as at 7a.m., on March 25, 2020, brought the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 46. Out of the 46, 43 are still active while two have been discharged with one death recorded.
NCDC also revealed that currently, Lagos has a total of 30 confirmed cases, Federal Capital Territory, FCT- 8, Ogun- 3, Ekiti- 1, Oyo- 1, Edo- 1, Bauchi-1 and Osun-1. As at yesterday, the disease has spread to eight states across Nigeria.
2,000 persons in supervised self-isolation
Also, speaking during a 35-minute webinar on “Nigeria COVID-19 Responses: Media Interaction” convened by Nigerian Health Advocates, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Abayomi disclosed that over 2,000 contacts traced so far are being followed-up nationwide.
The Commissioner said: “If the person develops symptoms, samples will be taken from he or she for medical test and will be sent to Isolation One, for cases not confirmed. If the test comes out positive, the person will be sent to Isolation Two which is for confirmed cases.
“You do not need a test except you develop symptoms of COVID-19. There is need for people to limit contact, keep to social distancing, wash your hands regularly and also sanitize your hands.
“For those under isolation, that does not mean that you will not move around your home. You can but avoid doorknobs and surfaces; if you do develop symptoms, a test will be done.”
Noting that resources are limited, he added that the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health, have fantastic collaboration and have been assisting Lagos as the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria.
On treatment of COVID-19 patients, the commissioner said they were using a combination of different drugs to manage the patients. “We use different types of drugs. The drugs do not kill the virus but slow it down. The drugs help boost immunity and that naturally kills the virus. The virus affects the lungs and causes shortness of breathing.”
No movement in, out of Rivers — Wike
In Port Harcourt, Governor Wike declared all Rivers State borders shut indefinitely, barring movement in and out of the state from Thursday to guard against spread of Corona Virus.
The governor in a state broadcast yesterday, said his administration’s increasing measures have become imperative after an alleged Port Harcourt-bound infected passenger was stopped from boarding a flight from Abuja.
His words: “Our state would have been infected with coronavirus yesterday, but for the vigilance of security agents who, acting on a tip-off prevented an infected person from boarding a flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt.
“The infected person beat all security measures in place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and was to sneak into Port Harcourt before security agents stopped her.
“Based on this alarming information, the State Security Council decided there was urgent need to adopt stringent measures to protect those living and doing business in the state from the virus.
“Therefore, with effect from 6p.m., Thursday, March 26, the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa will not be open to air traffic. While we may not have the right to stop flights from entering Port Harcourt, we cannot allow anybody coming from the airport to enter our state.
“We are confident that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN and other federal agencies will cooperate with us.
“All land and sea borders will be closed. Vehicular movements in and out of the state have been banned. In essence, no vehicle will leave Rivers for any other state and no vehicle will be allowed to enter.”
Kogi shuts borders, bans gatherings above 5 persons
In Kogi State, a statement by Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said: “All entry points into Kogi State (land and waterways) are now closed. Entry and transit by any vehicle is subject to successful health check of all passengers. To prevent avoidable delays, which may extend to preventive quarantining, persons with any disease condition which mimics COVID-19 symptoms, including elevated temperatures, should have a medical report from a reputable hospital/medical practitioner explaining their condition before venturing through the state.
“The directive shutting all educational institutions in the state, both public and private, from March 23, 2020, remains in effect until further notice. Civil servants on Grade Level 1-13, except those on specified essential services like medical personnel, revenue officers, law enforcement are to remain at home and away from work till advised otherwise. All social, cultural and religious activities are hereby suspended and essential activities must not have a crowd beyond five persons. We solicit everyone’s prayers from the safety of their homes.
“Tricycle (keke) operators may carry only one passenger at a time and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested. Regular 4-wheeled taxis may carry only three passengers at a time (1 in front and 2 behind) and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers.
“Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested. Buses may carry only two passengers per row of seats, subject to a maximum of 10 passengers per trip for any type of bus. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“All public areas, pubs, bars and restaurants are limited to five customers at a time, seated apart in line with the social distancing guidelines. Operators and customers are advised to utilize delivery and takeaway options more during this period.”
Obaseki in isolation, sends samples for test
In Benin City, following his close contact with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who have both tested positive for coronavirus, Governor Godwin Obaseki, has gone into self-isolation.
Giving a daily update of the situation report of COVID-19 in Edo state, Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu also revealed for the first time that the index case of the disease in the state is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Frank Okiye who was said to have traveled to the United Kingdom.
He said so far, 111 persons are being tracked, of which 64 have been contacted, six isolated and five samples have been taken for test.
He said: “Since the governor came back from Abuja, on his own, he has avoided direct contact with everybody and has maintained social distance. Even in our meetings he has deliberately not shaken hands with anybody, even before those he had contact with were announced to be positive. But one or two that would have been close to him, we are tracking.”
For the Speaker, Shaibu said he “came back and self-isolated. He sent his sample for testing and the test came back positive. He is in stable condition. His family members have been tested and the tests came back negative.”
Fayemi isolates self
In Ado-Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said there is no cause for alarm over his decision to self-isolate over the coronavirus disease.
Fayemi assured the people of the state of his well-being, saying his action was just a precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
The governor said the action became necessary, having been in contact with two people who have since tested positive of COVID-19.
Fayemi on Tuesday broke the news on his tweeter handle that he had self-isolated, following startling and shocking revelation that some top presidential aides and his colleague governors , had tested positive to the disease.
Fayemi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said: “No cause for alarm, I just took this step as a normal precautionary measures.
“With the circumstance we find ourselves today, every citizen must engage in personal hygiene and take actions that can help us overcome this challenge, and that exactly I have done.
“I had had been in contact with those having suspected cases and I felt I have to do this to help the situation,” he said.
Niger gov directs aides to follow suit
In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State has embarked on self isolation.
He took the decision based on the fact that as a public figure, he must have had contact with some confirmed contact cases of COVID-19.
The self-isolation is also due to Bello’s outing at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum meeting on March 18, which was also attended by his colleagues among whom is the Bauchi State Governor, who has already been confirmed positive to the virus.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Berje said that the governor has already gone on to isolate himself while tests would be run to know his status.
“Considering the fact that I was in Abuja the whole of last week to participate in the All Progressives Congress, APC, national meeting with the President, the Nigeria Governors Forum meeting, National Economic Council meeting and the World Bank breakfast meeting and as a way of leading by example, I have placed myself on isolation, waiting to be tested, along with members of my family.”
He acknowledged the directive of the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all the governors who attended the meetings to go on self-isolation including their close aides and people they had contact with. Meanwhile, the Governor has directed that all his close aides and all cabinet members should subject themselves to self isolation too.
Gov Sule in self-isolation, confirms contact with Kyari
In Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule yesterday took the initiative to self-isolate .
State Commissioner of Health, Ahmad Yahaya who disclosed this in Lafia, said the governor was going into self-isolation following his physical contact with persons who have tested positive for Coronavirus, including Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari.
The commissioner added that the governor’s close aides and the deputy governor have been advised to also self-isolate. Yahaya, however, declined to comment on whether or not the governor’s blood sample had been taken for test.
Also, Director-General, Strategic Communication and Press Affairs to the Governor, Yakubu Lamai has said that the governor has taken the precautionary measure to self- isolate and work from home so as to reduce exposure to the COVID -19 virus.
Buhari resumes work
Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday, resumed work after isolating himself for about 24 hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit some staff of State House.
President Buhari was tested for the virus on Monday by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, when news of his Chief of Staff, Kyari of testing positive broke out, but on Tuesday, it was reported that the result of the President’s test was negative. Before then he had self isolated himself in compliance with the NCDC directive.
Authorities of the State House had pruned down the number of staff, including journalists covering the Presidential Villa to enforce the policy of social distancing.
According to the Presidency source, President Buhari was in his office working but no government functionary came for the usual briefings.
Although the source did not disclose the time President Buhari resumed at work, he said the No 1 citizen was in his office at about 2.30p.m, when the inquiry was made.
Buhari’s negative test calls for rejoicing Presidency
Also, yesterday, the Presidency said that the result of Buhari’s COVID-19 test that proved negative calls for rejoicing.
The Presidency also said that the State House has not been shut down, but rather on partial lock down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that socio-economic activities in the country presently was on a low.
Speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina denied reports that he banned some journalists and media outfits from covering activities at the State House, stressing that pruning down the number of members of the State House Press Corps was a precautionary measure to avoid overcrowding at this precarious time.
Fielding question on whether Buhari was tested for the COVID-19 virus, the Presidential Spokesman while confirming it said the outcome of the result calls for rejoicing.
He asked: “What did you hear about the result?” To which the reporter responded, “they say it’s negative.” Adesina then replied: “Good. So that calls for rejoicing with him. Anybody that does the test and tests negative, we will rejoice with that person.
“And anybody that does it and test positive; it’s not a death sentence. We also would pray along with the person, give the person our good will and best wishes and they will surely come out of it.
“Even the index case in Nigeria recovered and has been discharged. So, God that has shown us mercy thus far will continue to show that mercy. For anybody that tests positive, it is not a dead sentence, they will be attended to, they will be tested and they will be fine.”
Osinbajo tests negative
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reportedly tested negative to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vice President was on self-isolation on Tuesday and according to his media spokesman, he worked from home.
In a tweet by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Office of the Vice-President, Professor Osinbajo’s result was negative.
Also in a brief message on Wednesday morning, Laolu Akande, the media spokesman said: “Good morning sirs and ma: I have been inundated with calls on whether indeed the VP had undergone a COVID-19 test and the outcome. Yes he has, and results are negative. An official tweet would follow. Thanks.”
As at Wednesday morning, the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria had swelled to 46 following the announcement of two new cases in Osun and Lagos by NCDC.
The test on Osinbajo was said to have been carried out on Tuesday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC).
He went into isolation after the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari tested positive.
Unite against Coronavirus, WHO appeals to all countries
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has appealed to all countries across the world to unite in the battle against Coronavirus which it has since declared a pandemic.
Speaking, yesterday, at a one-day media orientation workshop for health reporters in Abuja, organized by NCDC, WHO, through its Risk Communication Officer, Hawa Sesay, warned that the disease could spread beyond its current state if there was no co-operation, and if the best possible preventive measures were not adhered to.
“Countries that have not had any case of the disease should not stay back and be watching others. If you don’t have it, your neighbours have it and so don’t stand and look at it from a distance.
“Coronavirus is a global pandemic and so we have to fight it together. Countries that have not registered it, they should know that they have neighbours. They should not stay back,” it added.
According to WHO, since cure for the disease has not been developed, it is better for countries to put in place preventable measures.
Also speaking at the event, UNICEF explained that contrary to belief in some quarters, people cannot get infected with the disease through handshakes.
According to the global body, people only get infected if they shake hands with carriers and used the hands to touch their mouths, eyes or nose.
The UNICEF Communication for Development Manager, Rufus Eshuchi, speaking for the organization, explained that it was in this light that people were being advised to stop touching the entry parts of their bodies which it identified as nose, eye and the mouth.
Set up emergency funds, testing centres in all LGAs — Rep
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Simon Atigwe, has asked President Buhari to immediately set up an emergency fund to fight Coronavirus.
He also urged the President to declare an emergency on the pandemic and establish testing centres across the country.
Atigwe who spoke against the backdrop of the increase of Coronavirus cases on a daily basis, noted that the call by the Federal Government on Nigerians to prepare for tougher measures to curtail the spread of the disease could create panic among the populace.
Atigwe said it would support other precautionary measures like the ban on large gatherings of over 50 persons, sporting events and closing of schools, among others more effective.
Atigwe, who represents Igbo-Eze North/Ndenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State explained that this would help the government in halting the growing pandemic and ensure quick recovery of those already infected.