Home NewsNational News COVID-19 cases hit 31, Lagos, Kwara declare workers’ holiday

COVID-19 cases hit 31, Lagos, Kwara declare workers’ holiday

by OtownGist

The coronavirus cases in the country increased from 22 on Saturday to 31 on Sunday.

The  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in its Twitter handle on Sunday, said the cases included 22 in Lagos State, four in the Federal Capital Territory, one in Oyo State and one in Ekiti State.

The centre said the two in Ogun State, including the Italian index case, had tested negative and had been discharged.

At 11:32pm on Sunday, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, tweeted that one of his sons had tested positive for the disease.

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The NCDC stated, “Three new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Lagos, Nigeria. Two cases are returning travellers and one is a contact of a confirmed case.  As of 05:28 pm on the 22nd of March, there are 30 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria. Two have been discharged with no deaths.”

Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case on February 27 when an Italian was diagnosed with the disease.

On March 19, the cases rose to 12 with most of the affected people being returnees from Europe and the United States.  On Saturday, the cases increased to 22 with Abuja recording its first cases.

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As of 11am on Sunday, the NCDC said the cases were 27 in the country. It stated that the cases included 19 in Lagos; four in the  FCT;  one in  Ekiti;  one in  Oyo and two in Ogun.

But on Sunday evening, the number increased to 31 with three new cases in Lagos State and Atiku’s son who tested positive.

Atiku’s son tests positive

On  Sunday night former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said one of his sons had tested positive for Covid19.

Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last election, said this in a tweet on Sunday night.

The former Vice-President said his son had been moved to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.

He tweeted, “My son has tested positive to coronavirus. @NCDCGov has been duly informed, and he has been moved to Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja for treatment and management.

“I will appreciate it if you have him in your prayers. Stay safe, coronavirus is real.”

The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, had last week tweeted that her daughter, who recently returned from the United Kingdom, was in self-isolation

Stay at home, Lagos tells civil servants

The  Lagos State  Government,  as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease, on Sunday directed civil servants from grade level one to 12 to work from home starting from today (Monday).

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The state  Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at a press conference,  said the stay-at-home order would last for an initial period of 14 days.

He commended  Lagosians, who abided by the state government’s directive that banned a gathering of over 50 people,  but warned those who flouted the order.

He stated,  “In addition to this directive, I am now also directing all public officers in the entire unified public service from grade level 1 to 12, which constitute about 70 per cent of our workforce,  to stay at  home from Monday, March 23 for 14 days at the first instance.”

Sanwo-Olu said the directive did not affect medical personnel, members of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, the  Lagos State Waste Management Authority and other essential services.

We will shut down clubs, religious groups  violating  our directive –Lagos gov

Warning residents against violating directive on mass gatherings, the governor said, “If it is a facility –  be it an event centre, be it a cinema, a restaurant, a club house or a religious gathering – that does not obverse it, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency has the power to shut down such a facility.”

Lagos dedicates Mainland Hospital to COVID-19 patients alone

The governor also said other health facilities would be upgraded to support the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba. “We have evacuated other patients out of that hospital (Lagos Mainland Hospital, Yaba) and so the hospital will be locked down only for the COVID-19 cases alone,” he stated.

Lagos to recall retired doctors, nurses

He also indicated that the state would recall retired medical workers to strengthen the number of personnel needed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The governor stated, “As part of our strategies to strengthen our efforts, more health workers are also being trained and we have put some of our retired nurses and doctors on notice.  They will come to support health personnel who are working tirelessly at this time.”

Briton, American among Lagos new cases

While confirming the new cases recorded in Lagos on Sunday, the Lagos State Ministry of Health on its Twitter handle @LSMOH, tweeted that, “One of the three new patients is a 51-year-old Briton, who arrived Nigeria March 8 via BA75 flight, while the second is a Nigerian on connecting flight KL0582 London Amsterdam/KL0587 Amsterdam — Lagos March 14. The third is a 65-year-old citizen of the United States of America who arrived in Lagos about six weeks ago.”

The state Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni,  urged public and private schools in the state to adhere strictly to the directives of the state government on the closure of schools.

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Seriki-Ayeni, in a statement on Sunday, said evaluators ha been strictly mandated to monitor compliance to the directives of the state government to stop the spread of the COVID-19.

Oyo records first case, UK returnee kept  isolation

As early as 5am on Sunday, the Oyo State Governor,  Seyi Makinde,  confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the state. He said the patient, who was in isolation, was confirmed positive when his test result was released.

Makinde also stated, “A follow-up on the Ekiti COVID-19 case revealed that the deceased was picked up directly from Lagos Airport to a private apartment in Ona Ara Local Government Area.

“The health authorities have contacted the family concerned and the community has been alerted for intensified contact tracing and self-isolation of identified close contacts.”

Last week, a driver, who conveyed an American and his Nigerian companion, from Murtala Mohammed Airport, was diagnosed with the disease in Ekiti State.

The American died in Ekiti State, while his companion tested negative. The three of them were said to have stayed in Ibadan for 10 days.

Makinde on Sunday said a  returnee from Texas, USA, had been identified at Oluyole Local Government Area of the state. “She has been kept in self-isolation with close monitoring by the state epidemiological team,”  he said.

Ekiti case in stable condition –Health commissioner

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, said on Sunday that the person who tested positive to coronavirus in the state was in a stable condition.

Yaya-Kolade said the patient’s condition “is very stable, temperature normal and all vital signs okay.

The commissioner said the contacts with the American, who had been isolated, were in stable condition.

Ogun lauds doctor who suspected COVID-19 in Italian

The Ogun State Government on Sunday appreciated a young female doctor, Dr  Karen Allison, who suspected COVID-19  in the index case.

The state government, in a statement by the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, said, “A heightened index of suspicion, amongst frontline health workers such as Dr. Amarachukwu Allison who suspected COVID-19 in the Italian; private health care providers are of keen note in this because they were the first port of contact for sixty per cent of the populace.”

Adeboye, Kumuyi, Olukoya  comply with directive  on gathering

Meanwhile, senior clerics including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre; the  General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi and Dr Daniel Olukoya of Mountain of Fires and Miracles Ministries complied with the orders of Ogun and Lagos state governments banning gathering of more than 50 persons.

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But the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Ota, Ogun State held physical services despite the orders.

Adeboye during the online service said coronavirus would subside after God had proved His point.

The 78-year-old cleric said, during his sermon from the studio of Dove TV, which was broadcast live to all members of the church via Social Media channels, that the world was on a compulsory holiday.

Daystar Christian Centre also complied with the Lagos State Government’s directive. Its services were streamed online via its website and Facebook page and shown on television channels.

Also,  Olukoya’s church broadcast a previous sermon via its social media channels to its members worldwide.

The church, later in a video showed an empty auditorium of the church’s headquarters in Yaba area of Lagos. It stressed that no ‘physical’ service was held at the auditorium on Sunday, adding that the church would not flout the directives of its host – Lagos State Government.

Our correspondents gathered that the Deeper Christian Life Ministry divided its branches, which had more than 50 members to worship at different venues, while branches with less than 50 members held services as usual but maintained high hygiene practices.

Oyedepo holds  physical service, despite order

But the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Ota, Ogun State and Dunamis Church International, Abuja held Sunday services.

The Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide,   David Oyedepo, led the physical’ services in Ota.

One of our correspondents, who monitored the service via the church’s YouTube channel, observed that thousands of worshipers gathered in the church auditorium.

Oyedepo led the congregation in prayers preceding his sermon titled “Winning the war against coronavirus”.

He said, “According to how we have prayed, the siege is over. The same way Ebola went away, this is going away. The same God that helped us that time is still alive, he will  help us again.”

The church, had in a memo dated March 20 and written by the First Vice President of the LFC, Bishop David Abioye, asked branches of the church all over the world to comply with restriction orders in their locations.

However, one of our correspondents gathered that another memo was issued late on Saturday asking members to come to church service.

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The first memo read, “In view of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic across the globe which has necessitated the temporary shutdown of activities within nations of the world to curb its further spread, all stations are hereby informed that the Mothers’ Day celebration earlier scheduled for Sunday, 22nd March is hereby postponed indefinitely.”

But a second memo, which was also signed by  Abioye, read, “Following recent release from the office of the CAN National President as per attached, our regular Sunday service(s)  shall hold tomorrow (Sunday) across various states of the nation. To this effect, every assembly should take necessary precaution.”

In a document sighted by The PUNCH and signed by Christian Association of Nigeria General Secretary, Joseph  Bade, the Christian body said “pastors should allow people to worship and use the occasion to create awareness” on the virus while maintaining recommended precautions by health authorities.

One of our correspondents,  who was at one of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Ota, gathered that the church held five separate services with thousands of people in attendance.

Besides the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Ota, no fewer than  12 other churches in Abeokuta and Sagamu violated the Ogun State Government’s directive.

The commander of the state Task Force on mass gathering,  Toyin Afolaogun led his team to disperse worshippers in some of the churches for flouting the directive.

Afolaogun said his task force got to the Winners Chapel in Abeokuta at about 6:30am when hundreds of worshippers, who had assembled preparatory to early morning service, were dispersed.

He said the worshippers were told to hold a service only if they would comply with the directive, limiting number of worshippers to 50.

Afolaogun said,  “We have recorded about 80 per cent compliance. The church that did not comply, we politely told them to comply accordingly.”

Security agencies will do the needful on non-complying churches, mosques —Ogun govt

But the Special Adviser to the state  Governor on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, said the security agencies had been ordered to enforce discipline.

Hazzan, in an interview with one of our correspondents,  said, “The  various security agencies would  do the needful in  the    circumstance.”

When asked what the state government would do for those that flouted its order, Hazzan said,  “What I am saying is that every security agency that constitutes part of the task force will carry out the enforcement of this order.

“Having been defied with this kind of flagrant disregard for public order and safety, the task force will have no choice but to look inward and find a means to ensure that this kind of behaviour does not set a precedent for further disregard of the order. By that I  mean the needful will be done in this circumstance.   What it is  in specific,  I don’t know,  but something will be done .”

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Dunamis Church International observed a physical service in its 100,000 seater capacity Glory Dome auditorium along Airport Road in Abuja.

The church founded and overseen by Paul Enenche and his wife, Becky Enenche, tagged the service “Sensitisation Service” and release account details for “Online Offerings”.

Abuja churches  defy FCTA ban

Apart from Dunamis, many churches in Abuja held their normal services with hundreds and thousands of worshippers in attendance, despite the restriction by the FCTA.

Churches monitored by one of our correspondents in Kubwa, Jabi and Gwarinpa areas were filled as usual and their services held for the normal durations.

The correspondent counted more than 20 churches along the Arab Road, Kubwa, which opened on Sunday with the normal inflow of worshippers.

The churches included the Dunamis International Church, and the Champions Church, Chikakore, having some of the largest congregations in the area.

A worshipper, Mr Elijah Martins, said he decided to still go to church despite the FCTA restrictions because he believed Abuja was not as vulnerable yet as the South-West states.

He said, “We have to go to markets and buy food items despite the FCTA order. So, why can we not worship on Sunday? I think Abuja has not got to that stage and we pray it does not. As you can see, most churches are open and there is no panic.

“I may not come the next Sunday if the situation worsens but we are praying it does not get to that terrible level.”

Our correspondent observed that most churches provided hand sanitisers and tried to ensure that people did not engage in physical contacts.

A cleric in one of the churches monitored, Pastor Akinola Oludare, said the Federal Government had voted huge amounts of money to fight the virus, and he believed that if the money was put into proper use, the pandemic would not last long in the country.

Also,  the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Abuja, Biodun Fatoyinbo, invited members of his church for a ‘physical’ worship service on Sunday, March 22.

But one of our correspondents learnt that Fatoyinbo, who came under scathing criticisms from social media users, did not broadcast the service online.

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Meanwhile, health workers at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada have expressed the fear over the presence of coronavirus patient in their hospital.

One of the doctors who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fact that they would have to cater for the patients shocked them because of the deadly nature of the virus.

Osun enforces ban on public gathering, disperses worshippers

A task force raised by Osun State Government on Sunday across the state dispersed worshippers that gathered for service.

At Osun State Headquarters of Living Faith, Oke Oniti, Osogbo, there was total compliance with the ban as church workers had arrived the premises as early as 6:30am to turn back worshippers.

But at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Oke Fia, Osogbo, worshippers attended mass in batches of less than 50 people at once.

The state’s Task Force that enforced the ban in Osogbo, dispersed worshippers at Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Temidayo, Ile Idande, Osogbo.

Kwara tells workers to stay at home

Also, the Kwara State Governor,  Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, in a statement on Sunday,  directed civil servants i in the state to work from their homes.

The governor said, “Aside from Ministry of health and essential workers, all civil servants are to work from home until further notice.

He all  gatherings of more than 25 people  should be discouraged until further notice.”

IGP  orders police to enforce social restriction compliance

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has directed zonal Assistant inspectors-general of police and state police commissioners to strictly enforce the directives in their respective jurisdiction.

Adamu in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, by the force spokesman, Frank Mba, enjoined Nigerians to voluntarily adhere to the orders.

The IG asked the senior officers not to condone cases of unnecessary arrests and detention of suspects.

The statement said, “Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 global health threat and the subsequent social restriction orders imposed by governments at all levels to enable its containment, the IG while enjoining citizens to voluntarily adhere to the orders, directs all zonal assistant inspectors-general of police and commissioners of Police nationwide to ensure that all legitimate orders given in pursuant to the containment efforts are strictly enforced within their areas of jurisdiction.”

He reiterated that detention of suspects must be reduced to the barest minimum and that only very serious cases such as terrorism, armed robbery, homicide and other non-bailable offences should warrant detention.

PUNCH.

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