COVID-19 cases now 97; Niger governor, Garba Shehu test negative; Osun announces total lockdown; NUJ wants safety kits, palliatives for journalists; FRSC Corps Marshal directs commanders to enforce restrictions

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Saturday night, confirmed eight new cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.

The NCDC, through its verified Twitter account, said that as at 10:40p.m. on March 28, Nigeria had additional  eight cases.

The centre said that four of the cases were from Oyo State, two from Abuja, one from Kaduna State and one from Osun.

According to the centre, this brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 97, with three  discharged and one death recorded.

According to the NCDC,  Lagos currently has 59 cases, Abuja, 16; Ogun, three; Ekiti,  one; Oyo, seven; Edo, two;  Enugu, two;  Bauchi, two; Benue, one;  Kaduna, one; Osun, two,  and Rivers, one.

Lagos State still has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in country, with 59 cases.

The cases are  travellers who have just returned in the country and  people who have come in contact with infected persons.

The only case in Kaduna State is Governor Nasiru El-Rufai.

Meanwhile, NCDC has  received four ambulances from the Aliko Dangote Foundation to support the (COVID-19) pandemic response activities in Lagos State.

The agency said it had also received support from Airtel Nigeria and  MTN Nigeria  to ensure mobile users were  receiving verified information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

It described the development as an important strategy to reach more Nigerians, especially those with limited access to the internet.
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, on Saturday tested negative to the Coronavirus (COVID-1).

Dr Maku Sidi, Commissioner for Health, confirmed this in Bida.

“Governor Bello was in Abuja for APC Governors’ Forum and other official engagements and had contact with those suspected to be COVID-19 positive; consequently, he submitted self for test and it came out negative.

“Since his return to the state, he has gone into self-isolation as a precautionary measure against the spread of Coronavirus.

“There is no cause for alarm; we are doing everything humanly possible to deal with the situation at hand as a normal precautionary measure.

“We in Niger are not taking things for granted; every citizen must engage in personal hygiene and take actions that can help us to overcome this health challenge once and for all,” he said.

He said that movements into, and outside, the state had been banned in the effort to prevent the entrance and spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.

The commissioner explained that the state government had generally imposed a curfew to force people to comply to the non-movement order.

He urged people to support government efforts to protect Niger residents from being infected by the pandemic.

Sidi urged residents not to panic over the development, but to adhere strictly to health advice, especially social distancing and the constant washing of both hands with soap and running water. 
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, has disclosed that he tested negative to the deadly Coronavirus disease.

The Presidential aide, who made this known on his verified Twitter account in Abuja, on Saturday, however, advised all citizens to stay at home as recommended by relevant authorities to guide against the spread of the virus.

He said: ”My test proved negative for the virus. Notwithstanding, I advise everyone that we continue the isolation and work from home.”

COVID-19 cases now 97; Niger governor, Garba Shehu test negative; Osun announces total lockdown; NUJ wants safety kits, palliatives for journalists; FRSC Corps Marshal directs commanders to enforce restrictions
Alabi

Meanwhile, the Osun State Government has announced a total lockdown of the State following the confirmation of the second case of the deadly Coronavirus.

The Government reaffirmed the commitment to shut down all the land boundaries effective from midnight, Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola made the disclosure during a statewide broadcast on Sunday morning.

COVID-19 cases now 97; Niger governor, Garba Shehu test negative; Osun announces total lockdown; NUJ wants safety kits, palliatives for journalists; FRSC Corps Marshal directs commanders to enforce restrictions
Egbemode

Oyetola maintained that there would be no movement within the state during the shutdown while those on essential duties such as health personnel, fire service, environmental officials, security personnel, power and water supply agencies, media and telecommunication officers will be on duty.

He described the decision as imperative in view of the devastating nature of the pandemic, adding that the first priority of any responsive and responsible government is to respond effectively to protect its citizens when an emergency occurs.

Oyetola, who expressed sadness over the latest incident, reiterated that the decision remained the only way to go if the State was to contain the spread of the disease.

“Following a review of our current situation, we have in addition to the subsisting measures taken in the past one week, decided to shut down all our boundaries, effective from midnight Sunday, March 29, 2020. In addition, a complete lockdown of the State will come into effect from midnight, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID-19 cases now 97; Niger governor, Garba Shehu test negative; Osun announces total lockdown; NUJ wants safety kits, palliatives for journalists; FRSC Corps Marshal directs commanders to enforce restrictions
Omipidan

“We believe this is the way to go, if we must contain the spread of this virus. To this end, we urge citizens and residents to take advantage of the hours between now and Tuesday to stock up provisions that will last them two weeks in the first instance.

“During the lockdown, there will be no movement within the state. The closed boundaries also means there will be no inter-state movements. However, those on essential duties such as health personnel, fire service, environmental officials, security personnel, power and water supply agencies, media and telecommunication officers will be on duty. Also, pharmaceutical and medical outfits will be allowed to open.

“We have mandated and mobilised the State’s taskforce and security operatives to enforce measures to the letter. We, therefore, strongly advise our people to remain in their homes during the period of the lockdown.

“When an emergency occurs, such as the one at hand, the first priority of any responsive and responsible government is to respond effectively to protect its citizens. This is what we will continue to do”, Oyetola added.

The governor urged the residents not to panic by the new measures but continue to adhere to government’s instructions and directives on the need for them to continue to observe necessary precautionary measures, including regular washing of hands with water and soap and also maintain the prescribed social distancing.

He lauded the critical stakeholders led by the former Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole; taskforce and health officers for their selfless service to humanity.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on federal and state governments to  urgently provide safety kits and palliatives to journalists to enable them to do their work effectively in view of the  COVID-19 pandemic.

The NUJ National President, Mr Chris Isiguzo, made the call in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

He said that it was imperative that governments would  provide the  safety kits and palliatives  for  journalists to work in safety and relative comfort.

“It is important  that government comes up with ways of cushioning the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on media houses to ensure they sustain the tempo of coverage.

“Regrettably, while the COVID-19  crisis confines the nation with unprecedented health, social and economic consequences, journalists are more than ever essential in publishing quality information,” he said.

He added that journalists had become more vulnerable because they were at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from the pandemic.

“Various states of the country are already on lockdown and the citizens confined to their homes but journalists are out there ensuring that the people are well informed of developments surrounding the rampaging COVID-19.

“Nothing indeed compares with the events of recent weeks in terms of the global impact on media around the world, of Covid-19 and the unprecedented scale of the story and the demands it is making on journalism and journalists.”

He called on journalists  to bear in mind that responsible and ethical journalism was vital to reporting  COVID-19.

“We must avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, avoid racial profiling, ensure  protection of affected persons to avoid stigmatisation.”

According to Isiguzo,  journalists  must ensure accuracy and seek expert opinion where necessary as well as provide context.

He urged journalists to stay safe as the pandemic was taking its toll on the people.

The NUJ president said: “In  the event of any emergency, the following lines are available for journalists to reach out to the national secretariat –  08076032723, 08034004239.”

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, on Saturday, directed the corps’ sector commanders to brace up to the challenges of COVID-19 and enforce restrictions.

He urged them to be more proactive in enforcing restrictions of movement and spacing of passengers by their respective state governments.

Oyeyemi, in a statement by the corps’ Public Education Officer, Mr Bisi Kazeem, directed the sector commanders to ensure strict sustenance of the existing cooperation with their respective state governments in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is being tackled at all levels of government, with more cases being detected in various states.

“As such, it has become imperative for Commanding Officers to brace up, be more proactive than ever before, and provide the needed leadership in their respective Commands through sustenance of collaboration with State Governments.

” Most of the governors have made specific statements on how they intend to combat the spread of the virus in their States.

“To this end, the cardinal responsibility of the Sector Commanders will be to play whatever roles that the State Governments assigned to the Corps with all sense of commitment, service and diligence,” Oyeyemi said.

He charged commanders to effectively communicate all directives emanating from the FRSC Headquarters and the State Governments to every operative of the corps on a regular basis so as to keep personnel abreast with information for enforcement.

“In states where the governments have pronounced a total lock down, the commanding officers must make every possible arrangement to ensure total enforcement of the restriction through increased visibility.

“In addition, commands whose operational jurisdiction are along the major Corridors where total lock down has been declared must station patrol teams to maintain visibility and enhance compliance,” he added.

Oyeyemi, however, stressed on the need for all staff to guard themselves against contacting the virus.

He directed the sector commanders to maintain maximum precautionary measures by ensuring that protective materials are provided for all patrol and rescue team members.

The FRSC boss also directed that under no circumstance must FRSC staff be seen attending to motorists without the proper protection kit. 

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