•Sultan, CAN President call for 3 days Muslims, Christians’ fasting, prayers
•We are not getting enough samples — PTF

•Kano completely lifts lockdown
•Passengers who sneeze on board ‘ll be treated as COVID-19 cases, says Aero airline

By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Chioma Obinna, Omeiza Ajayi, Gabriel Olawale & Abdulmumin Murtala

The Federal Government on Thursday went spiritual in its bid to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it has partnered with the Nigerian Interreligious Council NIREC to declare a season of prayer and fasting in the country.

In a related development, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, a body led by the Sultan of Sokoto and the President Of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has called for three days’ fasting and prayers for God to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this during the daily briefing of the Taskforce in Abuja. Mustapha, also the SGF, added that schools have not been reopened, explaining that only those in exit classes have been asked to return for revision, preparatory to writing their terminal examinations.

Prayer, fasting

The SGF said it has become pertinent to call on Nigerians to seek the face of God in order to end the pandemic.

“In furtherance of the synergy being built, the Co-Chairmen of the Nigerian Inter Religious Council NIREC, His Eminence Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, the Sultan of Sokoto/President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and His Eminence Rev. Dr. Samson O. A. Ayokunle, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN, would be directing Muslim and Christian adherents all over the country to go in for a period of fasting and prayer. The NIREC will announce the details and we urge all Nigerians to participate in this effort to seek divine intervention”, he said.

NIREC calls for 3 days fasting  & prayers 

In a statement, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, has called for three days’ fasting and prayers for God to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the statement signed by the NIREC Executive Secretary, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, “Muslims will begin on Friday, July 3, 2020 (today) while Christians will end the prayer on Sunday, July 5 in the National Christian Centre.  These prayers will respect social distancing. NIREC calls on everybody to seek the face of God in fasting and prayers for God to put an end to the Covid -19 pandemic”, it added.

Further, the statement reads: “Since April 30, 2020, the Nigeria inter-religious council (NIREC) has been calling on all Christians and Muslims to take part in the national weekly prayer conducted online with zoom meeting every Thursday in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF), the Nigeria television authority (NTA) and UFUK Dialogue Foundation.

Kogi attack

The PPF regretted Wednesday’s reported attack on the Federal Medical Centre FMC in Lokoja, Kogi State, vowing to bring the perpetrators to book. It added that the incident has been reported to President Muhammadu Buhari who would spearhead further action on the matter.

“The PTF has received with great concern, reports about the attack on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State by some hoodlums. The PTF is particularly distressed and regrets the trauma to which medical workers, patients and others who went on their legitimate businesses were subjected. I wish to assure you that security agencies have been tasked with the responsibility for fishing out the criminal elements behind it and they will be brought to justice. We thank law abiding Nigerians for reporting the occurrence promptly”, the SGF said.

Berating those doubting the reality of COVID-19, Mustapha said it was the height of insensitivity  for anybody to have such thought.

“For anybody to think or say COVID- 19 is not real, is height of insensitivity because there are families who lost their love once due to this virus and are currently grieving.  We need to respect the feelings of our country men and show empathy. To begin to create doubt is very insensitive.

“We are not in any way getting out of the woods. This number of confirmed cases will keep increasing. We don’t want the country to slide into panic mood, the fatality will keep increasing, the more the figure the more fatality. So let us resolve to do everything humanly possible to secure ourselves,” he stated.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on his part said about 138, 462 people have been tested so far, adding that in order to scale up testing, all hospitals in the Federal Capital Territory FCT will now become sample collection centres.

He said: “All government hospitals in the FCT will become COVID-19 sample collection sites so that walk-in cases can have samples taken to be forwarded to NCDC for testing. This will boost testing and assure users and care-givers of reducing bottlenecks and improving efficiency in our response. We intend to scale this initiative up to other states of the Federation.

“Only accredited hospitals will be allowed to handle COVID-19 patients and this power has been handed over to the state governments to accredit hospitals. All hospitals in Abuja must have people trained to collect samples.

‘3 of 5 victims are above 50’

On his part, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has called on Nigerians to show more love and care towards the elderly  as the majority of COVID-19 fatalities were recorded among this category of people.

“The transmission of COVID-19 is dynamic. It’s obvious that transmission among people within the age of 20 years and 40 years are the one driving the spread of the virus but those that bear the burden are people within 50 years and above. Out of every five deaths recorded, three were people 50 years and above.”

“We are on the verge of opening our airports, we have relaxed interstate travel. Over the next few weeks we will have feelings to visit our people and start to partake in different event and occasion, it is important but we need to remember that we have not relax guideline on mass gathering.

Low turnout for testing

National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu has raised alarm over low turnout for testing by citizens, saying the country’s testing capacity is underutilised. Aliyu said that despite the availability of laboratories across the country, the sample collection for testing still remains low.

“We have more than 30 laboratories across the country, but we are confronted with low demand. Our capacity as a nation exceeds what we are getting in term of samples. Moving forward, we are going to ensure that every government-owned hospitals across the country is empowered to collect samples.

“COVID-19 is not a death sentence; people recover from it and move on with their lives. We hereby urged people to present for testing so that they can protect themselves and loved ones.

Kano lifts lockdown, civil servants resume work July 6

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has announced the total lifting of lockdown in the state following a decline in the rate of transmission of the Coronavirus, evne as civil servants in the state from grade level twelve to return to work as from Monday 6 July 2020.

Ganduje who spoke on Thursday at the briefing organized by the State Task Force on COVID-19  announced a ban on street hawking and carrying of more than two passengers in a tricycle. He also announced enforcement of wearing  face masks and prosecution of defaulters by mobile courts in the state.

“We have observed that there is a decline in the rate of the spread of COVID-19 in the state. As a result we hereby declare the three days lockdown lifted from today.

Passengers who sneeze will be treated as COVID-19 cases –Aero Contractors

Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, has advised intending passengers who have cold or malaria not to come to the airport. Speaking on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels TV on Thursday, Sanusi said passengers seen sneezing on the aeroplane will be isolated and treated as potential COVID-19 patients.

“I will like to point out that if you have malaria or a common cold, do not come to the airport because there is a high possibility that you are going to be denied boarding. This is the new normal that we are going to see.

“The main thing for the airlines is to make sure that the aeroplanes are safe and that is what we’re doing and that’s why we still believe that air transportation is the safest way to travel.”

“So if we see anybody sneezing, we will take him as an index passenger. We are going to take the person as index passenger till we have handed them over to port health officials. They will be the ones to determine if he is allergic or has COVID-19.

“My airline will not allow a passenger that comes with a doctor’s report saying he has malaria. I would rather he comes with a COVID-19 test result that he is free which is only valid for four days,. If you have malaria, please sit at home and when you get better, you can travel.

Lagos discharges 40 more patients, including 2 foreigners

The Lagos State Government on Thursday, discharged 20 more patients from various isolation facilities across the state. According to the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, “The patients; 19 from Onikan, 7 from Gbagada, 3 from Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, 8 from Agidingbi and 3 from Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH Isolation Centres were discharged after full recovery and testing negative to COVID-19.”



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