…8pm-6am curfew in Ekiti, public gathering more than 20 banned
…Buhari should wear face-mask in public as role model — TOMORI
…Obaseki urges banks to intensify efforts to curb Covid-19 second wave
…How vaccines’ll be administered — NPHCDA
…Frontline workers, adults, uniformed personnel, high burden states top priority list
…84,655,749 Nigerians to be vaccinated in first quarter
By Sola Ogundipe, Adesina Wahab, Chioma Obinna, Gabriel Enogholase, Peter Duru & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Worried over the spike in COVID-19 infection in the second wave in the state, the Ekiti State government, yesterday, imposed a curfew from 8pm to 6am in the state.
This came as Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State is currently on self isolation after one of his permanent secretaries (names withheld), and his entire family members tested positive.
Also, a renowned professor of Virology and former president of the Nigeria Academy of Science, Prof Oyewale Tomori, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerian leaders to be role models in the fight against COVID-19 by wearing masks and keeping to the rules of social gatherings among others.
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, has urged corporate institutions, especially banks to join hands with the state government and enforce measures aimed at checking the spread of the second wave of coronavirus in the state.
In another develop-ment, as Nigeria receives first 100,000 doses of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines for 84,655, 749 (40 per cent) of the country’s 200 million population, top among those to be vaccinated first are health workers in the Isolation Centres nationwide, 10 per cent of adults above 50 years of age, 17 per cent of persons with co-morbidity below 50 years, and 12 per cent of other risk groups.
Other front-line workers such as Immigration officials at the airports, and personnel at testing centres, targeted uniformed personnel among others would also be prioritised for vaccination because of their exposure.
Ekiti imposes curfew, bans public gathering of more than 20
The state government also banned all gatherings of more than 20 people in the state until further notice.
State Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Akinbowale Omole, who announced these new guidelines in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, said the restrictions take effect today, January 11, 2021.
Omole cited the alarming rate at which the deadly pandemic was spreading in Nigeria and elsewhere as reason for these drastic steps.
He said there is need for government to be proactive and take decisive steps to secure the citizens from falling prey to the second wave of the pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives all over the world recently.
He urged the people to continue to observe the Covid-19 protocols strictly and also abide by the curfew and new restrictions placed on public gatherings by the state government.
Mr Akinbowale Omole called on the people to ensure that they wear their nose masks properly, wash their hands with soap and use hand sanitisers regularly, as well as keep social distance to avoid contacting the virus.
Omole added that the curfew placed throughout the state from 8pm to 6am will be strictly enforced except for those that can prove they are on essential services.
According to the commissioner, there is also a ban on all public gatherings of more than 20 people while COVID-19 prevention protocol should be strictly observed even in such gatherings.
He expatiated that, to allow faithful observe their religious worships, the government allowed for two services to take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays accordingly and all these services should not extend beyond 2pm on such days.
He said that all worship centers were expected to provide necessary facilities for hand washing, soap and hand sanitizers at the entrance and infra-red thermometers to take worshippers temperature before they were allowed in for service.
He added that the State COVID-19 Response Committee put in place by Ekiti State Government and other relevant enforcement agencies would be going round to ensure compliance with these directives and any person or group of persons caught violating the guidelines put in place to curtail the spread of th pandemic in the state would be prosecuted.
The Information Commissioner called on all top government functionaries both at the state and local government levels, local government chairmen, traditional rulers and law enforcement agencies not only to obey Covid prevention protocols themselves, but to also monitor compliance and report any violation to the Covid-19 Response Taskforce promptly.
Omole assured that Ekiti State Government would continue to do all within its power to ensure that the second wave of the pandemic does not have a foothold in the state.
Ortom in self- isolation
Deputy Governor and Chairman of Benue State COVID-19 Action Committee, Mr Benson Abounu, disclosed yesterday, at the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Church service held at the ECWA Church Makurdi that Governor Ortom is in self-isolation,.
Abounu, who represented Governor Ortom at the event admonished Benue people to ensure strict compliance to COVID-19 protocols to check the spread of the virus in the state, stressing that the governor who had not shown any symptoms of the virus would soon complete his period of isolation.
“As I speak with you, the governor has been in isolation for about nine days and has shown no symptoms or signs of the virus. So, I’m happy to inform you that by tomorrow, we should be able to certify him free and he will resume work,” Abounu said.
He urged the people to take precautions against the virus, stressing that the state had in the last few days lost prominent persons, including a serving local government chairman.
“Presently, the state has an infection rate of over 489 persons. Though we are still doing relatively well compared to other states, the only tactics to fight the virus is by keeping to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, protocols.”
Earlier, state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Apjen Leva who also commenced the armed forces for their dogged fight against violent crimes, lamented the spate of killings, banditry and kidnappings had become a threat to the unity of the country.
Rev. Leva also urged the Federal Government to rethink the ongoing National Identification registration exercise if it was serious about checking the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“If we are serious about checking the spread of COVID-19 in this country that exercise should be discontinued immedia-tely because it obviously provides that fertile ground to spread the virus across the country,” he said.
Obaseki urges banks to intensify efforts to curb COVID-19 second wave
In a statement in Benin City, weekend, Governor Obaseki said that the state has a robust case management system put in place to manage confirmed cases at the four well-equipped and functional isolation centers spread across the state.
Obaseki said: “Several corporate institutions particularly banks have so far done well in enforcing social distancing and other safety measures.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Ekiti re-imposes curfew, bans large public gatherings from Jan11 – Commissioner
“They are however, encouraged to intensify efforts this time around to ensure that we curb the spread of this deadly virus.”
The governor commended religious leaders for their support and assistance during the first wave of the pandemic, adding, “I encourage them to actively and continuously disseminate information on adhering to safety guidelines to halt the spread of the disease.
“Market unions and trade associations are encouraged to rally their members to adhere to public health and safety guidelines outlined to halt the spread of the disease. Do not sell items to anyone not wearing facemasks so that they don’t put your life at risk.
“In as much as the government will enforce the rules relating to Covid-19 in Edo State, it is important that each and every one of us take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us.
“We must abide by all public health and safety measures to ensure that we are safe.”
Ignore social media reports on dons dying— UNILAG
Meanwhile, the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has said there was no truth in some reports in the social media that some professors in the employ of the institution have again died after contracting the COVID-19 disease.
Head of the Information Unit of the institution, Mrs Olufadeke Akinleye, told Vanguard, yesterday, that there was no iota of truth in some social media reports that six professors of the university were being treated for Covid-19.
“Professors Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe and Duro Ajeyalemi that died last week had retired from UNILAG. Their death was unfortunate and we cannot say we did not know them because of their contributions to the institution while working here.
“However, those insinuating that some other professors in the university are dead due to the disease are only trying to spread panic and false information,” she said.
Buhari should wear face-mask in public as role model— TOMORI
Tomori who spoke during a webinar organised by National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, weekend, said Nigerians need the president to wear a mask in public because “the consequences of an infection could be dire.”
Arguing that face masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others, he admonished Nigerians to obey the safety regulations against the Covid-19 pandemic
“The President should be a role model to all of us. Other leaders outside the country are wearing face masks. Leaders here should lead by example and learn to wear their masks so that people will believe them. They should be role models,” Tomori added.
Noting that the clamour for the Covid-19 vaccines had reached its crescendo, he cautioned that while vaccines can help prevent infection, they are not magic as individuals can still get infected with the virus even after vaccination, emphasising that the most important factor in dealing with a pandemic such as Covid-19 was to prevent being infected and getting the disease.
“We need to go back to those guidelines. We want to appeal to our people to know the reasons why we need to wear our mask. A vaccine is not magic to prevent you from having Covid, it is what I call an additional bullet to the ammunition we have against Covid. The most important part of infection is the prevention not the disease and not anyone getting the infection. If you prevent, you will not have any problem.”
Tomori explained that the vaccine only comes to cure after an individual has fallen into the infection stage, hence, the need for the use of a face mask.
“Individuals have antibodies inside them. It is not in your nose or mouth. If you expose yourself to somebody who has it, you could still get it from the droplets through coughing and sneezing. The nose is not where the antibodies are but the virus can still multiply from there but then the antibody that you will have would then prevent the infection from becoming a disease. That is what a successful vaccination does.
“Even after your vaccination, you still need to put on your face mask to ensure you are not exposed to someone who has the disease. A person may be lucky to get the infection and not the disease. For instance, we are vaccinating our children several times with polio because we are trying to boost their immunity against polio. In some cases, some people will be given vaccination and they will develop very high immunity while some people will not.”
Warning that immunity was not automatic on the day of immunisation, he explained that every Nigerian should continue to be protected.
“Vaccination is not immunisation. Immuni-sation is a successful vaccination. You can be vaccinated with vaccines and you don’t get immunised. It is only when you have a success-ful vaccination that you get immunisation and protected.
“When you get vaccination, please know that the response is not going to be that day. It takes some time but if your immunity is high you will not develop the disease, however, if your immunity is low, you will develop the disease. These are the important things we should know. People should know that vaccination is not magic. The most important thing is to wash your hands and wear your mask and keep away from the crowd.”
‘How vaccines’ll be administered’
Meanwhile, giving a breakdown of how subsequent vaccines would be utilized, during a webinar organised by NPHCDA, Director of Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, Dr Bassey Okposen said the 100,000 doses would be utilized efficiently as each beneficiary would need a second dose after three weeks.
Okposen explained that states with a high burden of Covid-19 would be given a priority.
He said: “About 70 per cent of Nigerians are being prioritized for COVID-19 Vaccines vaccination in 2021 and 2022 to reduce mortality and interrupt Covid-19 transmission in the country.
“In the year 2022, 30 per cent of the country’s population (65,035,014) for additional other risk groups will be prioritised based on current epidemiology of the Covid-19 in Nigeria. So the total target of the both years are 149,690,763 which is 70 per cent of the country’s population.
“The 70 per cent population was targeted to reduce mortality due to COVID-19 in Nigeria. The government plans to reach 70 percent of the total population with COVID-19 vaccines by end of 2022 and the vaccines to be introduced in Nigeria would be safe and effective,” he stated.
He disclosed that already, the number of health workers nationwide had been mapped out and estimated 2,116,393 persons made up of health workers/other support staff (0.44 percent of total populations ) and 0.56 percent as contingency.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had earlier said that Nigeria needs a total of N400 billion to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine.