…As number of deaths increases
…Niger govt shuts schools for 30 days
By Chioma Obinna, Wole Mosadomi & Gabriel Olawale
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, yesterday, raised the alarm over a spike in COVID-19 cases, saying that majority of the new cases are at a point where little assistance can be rendered.
This came on a day the Niger State Government ordered the closure of public and private schools, as well as tertiary institutions across the state, with effect from today.
Professor Abayomi hinted that since mid-October, the state has been experiencing a very sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with most of them requiring oxygen and intensive care.
The commissioner stated this during a media training on COVID-19 response, with the theme: ‘Gender and Social Inclusion in COVID-19 Response: The Role of the Media’’, organised by the state Ministry of Health in collaboration with Lafiya Projects.
He was represented by the Incident Manager, COVID-19 Lagos Response, Dr. Ismail Abdulsalam.
He said: “From the middle of October, we have been experiencing a very sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and most of these cases require oxygen for them to remain alive.
“This is worrisome because the situation now can be likened to what we experienced between May and June. Most of our new patients now require intensive care; also, the number of deaths is on the increase compared to what we had in early October.
He, however, expressed concern over the nonchalant attitude of residents towards the non-pharmaceutical preventive method, saying “most of our people, till now do not believe that COVID-19 is real and that is very worrisome.”
Also, he said: “This shows that we must intensify efforts in the area of risk communication and social mobilisation.
“Lagos now has over 25,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with over 300 deaths, even as positivity rate in the state has suddenly risen to 12.2 percent, compared to 3.5 percent that it was in September.
“We now have 25,128 confirmed cases; 304 deaths and 23,562 recoveries. We have 37 persons on admission. The total tests done so far are 198,571 and 221,416 samples were collected. Our positivity rate is now 12. 2 per cent; before, it was 3.5 per cent.
“Our role is to ensure that members of the community have the correct information. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths going on in the communities and we need to correct that.”
Corroborating his views, COVID-19 Lagos IPC Pillar Lead, Dr. Folarin Opawoye said: “We understand that a vaccine has been rolled out recently, though will take a long time before reaching most people.
“We need to embrace infection prevention and control measures like wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitizers, social and physical distancing among other measures.”
Niger closes schools for 30 days
Meanwhile, in a statement by Secretary to the State Government, SSG, and Chairman, Niger State Task Force on COVID-19 Pandemic, Ahmed Matane stated that the closure followed an upsurge of the COVID-19 case in the country noting that the closure will last for 30 days.
The Head of Service had earlier directed that all Civil Servants to stay at home from Monday, 21st December 2020 till further notice except those on essential services.
The statement reads: “Despite massive advocacy and sensitization by the Government, it is disappointing to see the crowd at worship centres, banks, markets, motor parks across the State flouting the coronavirus guidelines.
“We will be forced to take the painful decision of bringing the State under the COVID-19 Preventive, Containment and Emergency Order if it remains clear that Nigerlites are determined to flout the rules.”