.COVID-19

.State accounts for over 50% of new cases

.Issues new guidelines for diplomats

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

The Federal Government has threatened to impose severe restrictive measures in the wake of the upsurge in cases of COVID-19.

While it said, “nothing is ruled out as all options are on the table” with regards to protecting the population, it disclosed that Lagos now accounts for over 50 per cent of cases, followed by Akwa Ibom state.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee PSC on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha stated this at Monday’s briefing of the PSC in Abuja.

According to him, the world has added about 4 million cases and under 100,000 deaths in the last one week, adding that all countries in the West African region are beginning to see the 3rd Wave while Nigeria has been recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days.

He said; “Our Test Positivity Ratio has increased to about 6%. This is worrisome and shows that we are not out of the woods yet.

“It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, FCT and Plateau States as this variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation.

“Lagos alone accounts for over 50% of the number of cases. This development calls for great caution because the virus is very virulent and raging in so many other countries.

“We need to test more and detect early enough so that people who have contracted this virus can be treated early. I am pleased to announce that we currently have 143 molecular laboratories in the country (54 private and 89 public) where we can go and test”.

He added that the PSC is ready to publish over 500 travellers who violated the travel protocol and those who evaded quarantine this week, while those who had their passports barred for six months will be lifted in the coming days.

Mustapha also announced that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is ready for reopening, adding that the date will be announced in due course after few logistics issues are cleared.

The SGF also announced that the United States of America has graciously donated over 4 million doses of Moderna Vaccines to Nigeria, adding that each State in Nigeria now has at least one U701 Ultra Cold Chain equipment to store ultra-cold vaccines.

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Director-General of the Niwgtian Centre for Disease Control NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu on his part warned of a possible explosion in positive cases, urging Nigerians to continue to follow all preventive protocols.

He said; “I am surprised that the numbers didn’t even increase earlier given how relaxed we have become.

“The data shows that right now in Lagos one in 10 people we test is positive. Same in Akwa Ibom state where eight now 80 per cent of the recently confirmed cases are of the Delta Variant which means that transmission is high and we have to double our efforts.

He said at a point, Lagos recorded over 70 per cent of the nation’s disease burden.

The PSC has also reviewed the travel protocols for diplomatic travellers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama who reeled out the new measures said; “Everybody has to do a PCR test before travelling 72 hours from restrictive countries. But for countries where we have not places restrictions, diplomats coming from those countries just have to have that 72 hours PCR test and then within 7 days do a test in an accredited laboratory. If they have Eno valid PCR test, then they would have to be quarantined in a government facility but if they have the PCR test, they will still have to embark on a seven-day self-isolation.

“If they do test positive and it is mild, they can isolate at home and if it is moderate to severe, then they have to be in an accredited hospital facility.

“For those diplomats coming from non-destructive countries, they can get special waivers from the seven-day isolation and this will be available to high profile diplomats who might be coming to meet the president or the vice president whole the others will now be decided on an Adhoc basis”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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