Coronavirus: 14 fresh cases in Lagos, Abuja; Boss Mustapha, Lai Mohammed, Ehanire, Diri, others test negative; Lagos Govt turns schools to makeshift food markets


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Thursday night, confirmed 14 new cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in Nigeria.
The NCDC, through its verified Twitter account, said that as at 8.35p.m of March 26, Lagos has additional 12 cases, and Abuja two new cases.
According to it, this brings the total confirmed cases in the country to 65.
The centre said that of the 65 confirmed cases, three had been discharged, while one death was recorded in the country.
According to the tweet, six cases were detected on a vessel, three were returning travellers into Nigeria and one was a close contact of a confirmed case.
It added that currently Lagos has 44; Abuja- 12; Ogun- three, Ekiti- one, Oyo- one; Edo- one, Bauchi-one, Osun-one and Rivers-one cases respectively.
Meanwhile, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mashi Abdulaziz Mashi, have tested negative to the novel Coronavirus (COVID19).
Ehanire disclosed this while addressing a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the result of the tests conducted on him, the SGF and Mashi “came out negative”.
Some senior government officials have tested positive while others have self-isolated.
The positive cases include the Bauchi Governor, Bala Mohammed, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
The breakdown of COVID-19 cases by states in the country showed that Lagos State still has the highest number of confirmed cases with 32.
Abuja has 10 cases, Ogun three, while Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Bauchi, Osun and Rivers have one case each.
Most of the cases reported are of travellers who just returned to the country.
Other victims are people who have come in contact with infected persons.
Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced on Thursday in Abuja that he tested negative for Coronavirus  (COVID-19)
The minister disclosed this at a media briefing to give update on what the government, through the Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID–19 is doing to end the spread of the epidemic.
Reacting to a question on whether he and some of his colleagues had gone for test after the reports that they got close to one or two index cases, Mohammed responded in the affirmative.
“I did my test and the report came out this morning that I am negative and that is why I am here to address you.
“Every member of the presidential task force went for test, however, I am not at liberty to tell you their status.
“My own result was given to me personally just like every other person,” he said.
Responding to another question on why he has not gone into isolation after testing negative, the minister explained that he, like his other colleagues in the task force, are taking precautionary measures.
He said they were abiding by the rules of social distancing and personal hygiene and the task force meets by teleconferencing when the need arises.
Mohammed said giving the importance and volume of the assignment of the task force, which is responsible for the policy directive on COVID-19, the members could not go into isolation after testing negative.
The minister disclosed that the country now has 51 cases of Coronavirus covering eight states.
He said Lagos State has 32 cases, Federal Capital Territory has 10 cases, Ogun has three cases while Ekiti, Edo, Bauchi, Osun, Oyo and Rivers States have one case each.
Mohammed said that the task force is taking measures to increase the number of bed spaces for isolation of suspects in addition to existing facilities.
The minister also announced that they had received donated safety and test kits from the Jack Ma Foundation in China.
He listed the supplies as 100,000 Face Masks; 1,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 20,000 test kits.
The minister said the face masks and the PPE would be distributed to the front-line health workers while the test kits will be shared among the five test laboratories.
He commended some of the domestic airlines that have announced one form of support or another for the government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Mohammed said they were also aware of more private sector supports to the federal government and would be announcing them after full compilation.
He sought the support and cooperation of more capable individuals and organisations in order to defeat the pandemic.

FCT Minister of State Ramatu Aliyu, who had earlier gone on self-isolation in line with the protocols of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has tested negative to covid-19.
Aliyu made this known on her verified personal Twitter handle, on Thursday in Abuja.
“Dear compatriots, I am glad to inform you that my results came out this afternoon. I tested negative to #COVID-19.
“Please stay safe and take every precautionary measures as outlined by Together, we are stronger.”
She implored FCT residents to take all possible precautions not just for themselves, but also for their loved ones.
“Please don’t panic. As a nation, we shall come out of this stronger and better,” she said.
The minister had gone on self-isolation and subsequently gave her sample for laboratory test for COVID-19.
Aliyu said she went into self-isolation since Tuesday evening “because I was in contact with people who tested positive for Corona Virus”.
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, also tested negative for Coronavirus amidst speculations and anxiety over his health status.
The governor’s acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, made the disclosure in a statement in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Alabrah said the test result was obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) accredited laboratory in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State.
“The result showed that Diri had no evidence of COVID-19 infection,” the acting chief press secretary said.
Officials of the epidemiology unit of the state Ministry of Health led by the State Epidemiologist, Ifiemi Iwuji,  on Wednesday, took the sample for the test to the Irrua Specialist Hospital.
He stated: “Before the governor opted for the test, he had been inundated with phone calls and messages, following speculations on the social media that he may  have been infected.
“This was fuelled by his sitting next to a Northeast state governor, who later tested positive for the virus, during the last National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja, on March 19.
Meanwhile, Diri has expressed appreciation to Nigerians and the people of Bayelsa in particular for their concern, love and good wishes toward him and his family.
“I prayed for a reversal and healing for all those that have been infected by the pandemic. I had to take the test so as to douse the tension and end all the speculation.
“Besides, I needed to know my status concerning the COVID-19. I am therefore thankful to God that the result was negative as I anticipated.
“I also thank Nigerians and Bayelsans all over the world for their concern, love and prayers. I pray for everyone that has been infected by this disease to be healed,” the governor stated.
Diri, however, gave the assurance that his administration would continue to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state.
As part of measures to prevent the spread COVID-19, the state government earlier directed civil servants on salary grade level 1 to 12 to stay at home for two weeks with effect from March 26.
All public and private primary and secondary schools in the state have been shut down while burial and wedding ceremonies have been suspended for two weeks.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and his Deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, have tested negative for COVID-19.
The deputy governor disclosed this to newsmen in Lafia on Thursday.
Akabe, who is also the chairman of the state Quick Response Committee said, the governor, himself  and another man isolated at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, (DASH) in Lafia were tested for COVID-19.
According to him, samples were collected from them and  taken for test at the National Center for Disease Control, (NCDC) and the results for all the three came out negative.
He said that the trio were happy that the results were made known in good time for their safety , their families and the general public.
Akabe explained that Sule and himself took the test as precautionary measure following report of that Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State had tested positive to the virus.
He said Sule had contact with his Bauchi counterpart at the National Economic Council meeting last week in Abuja.
On the case of the man isolated at DASH, the deputy governor said man came into the state from Abuja last weekend to attend a wedding and came down with symptoms similar to COVID-19 and had to be admitted and isolated for further investigation.
Akabe, a medical doctor by profession, called on the public not to panic, but rather, go to hospitals for evaluation if sick for experts to assess and find out the symptoms and remedies.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has begun to set up makeshift markets for food and agricultural produce in selected schools.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, said on Thursday in Lagos  that development was sequel to the directive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu  on measures to check coronavirus spread.
Lawal said that the aim of setting up the makeshift markets was to provide Lagos residents access to food supplies during the period of shutdown of open  markets,  shops and other places.
The  governor had  directed that all markets and stores trading in non-essential commodities be closed with effect from Thursday.
The commissioner listed the local governments where the makeshift food and agricultural markets would be set up to include Mushin, Alimosho,  Ikeja, Apapa, Lagos Mainland; Eti-Osa; Surulere and Ifako Ijaiye.
According to him, the makeshift markets will be located at the Bishop Aggey Primary School, Ilasamaja; Ajenifuja Primary School, Ilupeju, Mushin; Papa Ajao Primary School, Ladipo Street, Mushin.
“Others are Akin Ogun Primary School, Mosan; Meiran Community Primary School, Meiran; and Animashaun Primary School, Ijeshatedo off Omilani Street, Surulere.
“Tbey also include Ikeja Primary School, Ikeja; Opebi Primary School, Opebi, Ikeja; Anglican Primary School, Marine Beach, Apapa; St. Jude Primary School, Ebute- Meta; St. George’s Boys Primary School, Falomo,” he added.
The official said that Community Grammar School, Adelabu, Surulere; Obele Secondary School, Adelabu, Surulere; Fagba Junior Grammar School, Ifako Ijaiye, and Stadium High School, Ifako, were among the schools .
Lawal said that the ministry and  the state  ministry of Health had put in place safety guidelines at each of the makeshift markets.
He called for strict adherence to safety measures by shoppers, including  social distancing.
The commissioner said that there was no need for any panic-buying by the  public since the makeshift markets were being  put in place to ameliorate peoples’ suffering.
He added that the police and Neighbourhood Watch would be on ground to maintain law and order.
Lawal said that suppliers of  fast-moving consumer goods had giving  assurance of  their readiness to keep supplies unhindered.
He advised all residents of the state to cooperate with the government in its efforts to check the spread of  COVID-19.


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