Measures put in place by both the federal and state governments to contain the COVID-19 pandemic the country are paying off as new positive cases of the virus appear to be dropping steadily across the states.
As of Friday, confirmed cases in the country stood at 53,477, with 41,017 recoveries, 1,011recorded deaths and 11,449 active cases.
So far, the country has also tested 398,304 samples for the virus.
The director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said last week that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had started to drop.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also declared on Tuesday that he was optimistic of Nigeria defeating the pandemic the same way it eradicated the Wild Polio Virus.
But the NCDC on its official twitter handle cautioned yesterday that the spread of the virus is not over, just as it urged citizens to stay safe.
It also said three out of every five Nigerians who have died of the virus are more than 50 years old.
LEADERSHIP Sunday however showed that more states of the federation are witnessing steadily decline in the number of new cases.
In Jigawa State, no single case of Covid-19 has been recorded in the last 40 days.
Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of Health, Malam Salisu Muaz, said the spread of the pandemic in the state has reduced drastically.
Muaz who is also secretary to the state taskforce committee on Coronavirus noted that already, the state has closed down two of its three Isolation centres, adding that the last person was discharged from Isolation centre in the first week of July.
According to him, the strategy adopted by the state government and the support of all stakeholders and general public contributed in stemming the spread of the virus in the state.
He said the Isolation centres were well equipped while the state testing capacity was expanded and improved from time to time for quick action on any suspected case of the virus.
He added that despite the drop in new cases, the state did not relent in strengthening its mechanism for disease surveillance, enforcing compliance to public safety measures and public enlightenment on infection, prevention and control of COVID-19.
Also, the Jigawa state team leader of a DFID-funded project known as “Lafiya project”, Dr Abubakar Maiwada said although the number of new cases is dropping, it is not yet over.
He said to sustain the success recorded in the fight against the virus, the state has concluded arrangements to commence training of 12,000 community volunteers (Jakadan Lafiya) on how to promote public enlightenment for COVID-19 Infection, prevention and control across 27 local government areas of Jigawa State.
According to him, when trained, the Jakadan Lafiya would help in promoting public enlightenment against the pandemic and also work closely with health practitioners on sampling and contact tracing against any suspected case of coronavirus.
Maiwada however revealed that the DFID-funded programme had already trained over 5,000 people on the coronavirus Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) in the state
He said those trained are critical stakeholders in public health, including health practitioners, media practitioners, traditional medicine vendors, patent medicine vendor, Association of Medical Practitioners, community leaders and traditional rulers.
Maiiwada noted that DFID was also giving technical support to the state government on the fight against COVID-19 and they are currently working to improve the state testing capacity from 20 to 100 per day for quick and timely response to any suspected case.
In Niger State, the chairman of the taskforce on COVID-19 and secretary to the state government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, said the number of new cases was also dropping by the day.
He, however, said the state was still in a state of “active mode” and all structures are still in place, including the isolation centres with health workers.
The chairman of the taskforce said currently three patients in stable condition are on admission at the general hospital centre.
Also, the Cross River State commissioner for Health and state chairman of COVID19 response team, Dr Betta Edu, said the number of new cases in the state was drastically dropping.
Edu who said she could not quote the exact figure as at the time of going to press said the state was hoping to improve on sensitization, especially around the border communities to ensure that all protocols regarding the spread of the virus are observed.
When asked if the state government is willing to shut down the isolated centre, Edu stated: “All that will depend on the situation as it is dropping. We encourage everyone to ensure that the protocols on COVID-19 are observed.”
She urged residents in both urban and rural areas to adhere strictly to use of face masks, social distancing and regular hand washing with sanitizer.
In Kogi where Governor Yahaya Bello has insisted that COVID-19 has no place in the state, the only isolation centre near the specialist hospital along Lokoja-Okene-Kabba road is empty.
LEADERSHIP Sunday checks on the isolation centre reveals that even a woman who was brought from Ajaokuta general hospital for suspected COVID-19 pandemic has been tested negative and discharged.
The management of isolation centre under the commissioner for health Kogi State, Saka Audu, affirmed that no new case has been registered of recent.
The drop in the figure of COVID-19 cases has been described as a welcome development in Imo State.
This position was made known by the chairman of Imo State Task Force on COVID-19, Prof Maurice Iwu, while speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP Sunday in Owerri, the state capital of the state.
According to him, whatever has a beginning must surely have an end even though it has been a tough battle fighting the coronavirus pandemic for the Task Force which has been doing its best to checkmate the virus in the state.
“It has not been easy combating this menace. However, we take solace in the fact that we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, explaining however that the state government is not contemplating closing the isolation centers for now, as they are watchful and careful so as to deal with any eventuality when such issues arise.
“Our Isolation Centres would be left open in the meantime. The drop in the cases of the virus is a good omen and we will not take things for granted”, Prof. Iwu added.
He submitted that the committee would continue to work tirelessly in the state with a view to contending any new outbreak of the pandemic in the state.
Despite the drop in COVID-19 positive cases, culminating in the closing down of some isolation centres in some states, Plateau State has continued to record a spike in the number of those testing positive for the virus.
According to the state commissioner for Information and communication, Hon. Dan Mangjang, while the government is concerned about the situation and has continued to work towards overcoming it, there is an increase in community testing for the disease.
He said Plateau State has three testing Centres at NVRI Vom, Specialist Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital while records had shown that 23,396 samples have been collected and sent to the laboratory, out of which, 21,015 results had been returned.
He said this makes Plateau State among the states with the highest testing rate in the country, adding that the state is one of the few to have tested all its civil servants and other citizens.
“Due to the slow pace of processing samples, not all test results are released immediately thereby resulting in backlogs. For example, there are 2,301 results pending at the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom testing centre alone, due to high traffic. Whenever such backlogs are released, it accounts for the high figures recorded against the state by the NCDC which might be misconstrued as daily figures,” the commissioner said.
Sanwo-Olu Asks Schools To Reopen In September
Primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions shut down six months ago in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus in the country will reopen from September 14.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, dropped the hint while giving the 17th update on management of the pandemic in the state.
He said “Firstly, we are pleased to announce that tertiary institutions will reopen from September 14, 2020. However, as regards Primary and Secondary Schools, we are working towards reopening these institutions anytime from September 21, 2020.
“This decision is not cast in stone and is subject to a review of our ongoing modelling of the state’s response to the pandemic.’’
The governor said the state had adopted a home care strategy to flatten the curve of the deadly virus in the state.
He stated: “With regards to our home-based care strategy, we have dedicated COVID care packs that are issued to those who have tested positive and are being managed through the home-based care route.
“Restaurants are permitted to open for in-dining services, and they must ensure the maintenance of a 50 per cent maximum occupancy at any point in time. They must also have obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission: www.lasgsafetyreg.com.
“Social Clubs and Recreational Centres that have Registered Trustees have also been permitted to open, on the condition that they have applied for and obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission: www.lasgsafetyreg.com.
“I must put on record here that we are sympathetic to the plight of business owners, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors. We are still reviewing the permissible opening dates for these businesses and will advise on this during the month of September. For the avoidance of doubt, all Event Centres, Bars, Lounges, Night Clubs, Spas, Beaches, Cinemas, Gyms and Game Arcades remain closed for now”.
He said all civil servants in the state’s unified public service system are to comply with prevailing guidelines and roster schedules issued by the Head of Service and/or their MDAs.
The governor added: In terms of testing, we now have in Lagos State four (4) public laboratories and ten (10) private laboratories, accredited and approved for the testing for Covid-19. Testing in any of the four public laboratories is available free of charge for those who meet the case definition, which means those who are showing Covid-like symptoms or have had close contacts with confirmed cases.
“Testing in the private laboratories is available at a fee for those who wish to test either out of curiosity or to fulfil travel or work requirements.’’