BY HENRY TYOHEMBA, ABUBAKAR SADEEQ |
Worried by the escalating cases of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the federal and state governments to establish oxygen production centres across the states to ensure availability of oxygen in hospitals.
NMA president, Prof Innocent Ujah, who made the call at a news conference yesterday in Jos, said the need for the establishment of the oxygen centres in Nigeria was a matter of necessity to save lives and reduce fatalities.
According to him, while there is a high demand for oxygen in the hospitals, non-availability of oxygen increases the risk of mortality for patients who need it.
“With the advent of COVID-19, there is a higher demand for clinical oxygen. The establishment of oxygen plant centres in the country is also a means of saving lives by ensuring continuous availability of oxygen”, the NMA boss said.
Israel To Vaccinate Children By March
Meanwhile, Israel has said it would include children over the age of 12 in groups receiving COVID-19 vaccines within the next two months if research shows it is safe.
A top health official said yesterday that vaccinating at a world-record pace, Israel will aim at administering one or both shots to five million of its nine million citizens and reopen the economy by mid-March.
Elderly Israelis and adults with medical onditions or jobs in critical high-risk sectors have been given priority.
But with Israeli officials anticipating more regular vaccine shipments, the eligibility categories have been expanded.
Nachman Ash, national coordinator on the pandemic, predicted that pharmacological research would establish that the minimum age threshold for the vaccines could be safely lowered from 16 to 12.
According to him, Food and Drug Administration approval for such use is expected to be secured by March.
We’ve Not Postponed Resumption Of Schools – FG
Meanwhile, the federal government has debunked reports making rounds that it has put on hold the January 18, 2021 resumption of schools due to the second wave of COVID-19.
Director, press and public relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, told LEADERSHIP yesterday that the date is only subject to review in a situation where COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
He said, “The federal government has not postponed January 18th resumption date. The minister said January 18th is subject to review by COVID-19.
“So, if COVID-19 Task Force gets up tomorrow and says we are having over 5000 infections and we can’t resume, that is the review we are talking about”, he said.
The minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had stated during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that government is reviewing the resumption date for a final decision.
The minister was quoted as saying: “You will all agree with me that what is happening presently is not friendly. And earlier before we made the announcement on resumption, it was agreed that it was not sacrosanct.”
ABU To Reopen January 25
But even with the uncertainty over the resumption of the schools in Nigeria, the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, has tentatively fixed Monday January 25, 2021 as the date for reopening of the institution and resumption of academic activities.
ABU’s director of Public Affairs, Malam Awwal Umar, in a statement in Zaria said the reopening is, however ,subject to further directive that may be issued by the federal and Kaduna state governments.
He said that the reopening of the institution was approved by the Senate of the University at its 50th special meeting held on 12th January, 2021.
According to the statement, the 2019/2020 academic session would be completed based on the adjusted calendar as approved by the Senate.
The statement further stated that the decision was taken following the suspension of ASUU strike and the directive by National Universities Commission (NUC) based on the advisory/clearance by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 that universities could reopen as from January 18, 2021 under strict observation of COVID-19 protocols.
“The reopening of the University would be on a gradual phased basis comprising first and second phases.”