Nigeria records 241 fresh cases of COVID-19; NDDC says Finance Director died of virus; PTF charges states to drive prevention processes

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Tuesday, said it has recorded 241 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, taking the total number of infections in Nigeria to 10,818.

The NCDC on its official twitter handle said that as at June 2, 2020, 15 deaths were recorded in the country.

The health agency stated that most of those who died were associated with co-morbidities, noting that three out of four of those who have been discharged were without co-morbidities.

It said this was consistent with the fact that risks were higher for those with other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases.

The NCDC said that there was general reduction in mortality trend and continuous improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges compared to the increase in number of confirmed cases.

It stated that no new state reported a case in the last 24 hours.

According to the body, till date, 10,819 cases have been confirmed, 7,266 of active cases, 3,239 cases have been treated and discharged, 314 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC said that the 241 new cases were reported from 14 states – Lagos(142), Oyo(15), FCT(13), Kano(12), Edo(11), Delta(10), Kaduna(9), Rivers(9), Borno(8), Jigawa(4), Gombe(3), Plateau(3), Osun(1) and Bauchi(1).

The health agency reassured that it would keep Nigerians informed on the public health response to COVID-19 through the daily situation report.

NCDC said that it was important for Nigerians to remember that there were humans behind the numbers.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Five months later, the disease continues to affect people in countries across the globe.
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says its Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Etang, died of complications from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mr Charles Odili, the NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, said this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday amid controversies that trailed Etang’s death on May 28.

After the death of Etang, the commission shut its head office in Port Harcourt and directed its staff to go on self-isolation immediately.

This had fueled speculations that the director died from complications of COVID-19, but the commission later dismissed the reports on the cause of Etang’s death.

Odili, however, said the family of the deceased has now authorised NDDC management to announce that the late Executive Director tested positive for Coronavirus.

“Our Executive Director, Ibanga Etang, who passed away in the early hours of May 28, tested positive for COVID-19 as confirmed by his family.

“The Rivers State Ministry of Health has written to NDDC, confirming the cause of death to be COVID-19.

“The ministry has directed the commission to order all management staff to go into self-isolation for a period of 14 days with effect from June 2,” he said.

Odili said the health ministry also sought the cooperation of organisations doing business with NDDC to trace their staff and contractors who had close contact with the deceased.

The NDDC spokesman said the family of Etang and NDDC management were pleading to members of the public against politicising the death of the Executive Director.

“We wish to be left alone to mourn him with dignity while we pray for the peaceful repose of the soul of Etang,” he appealed. 
In a related development, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has told State Governments to factor the guidelines on the prevention of the disease into their responses in tackling the virus.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) gave the directive at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja.
June 2 marks the commencement of phase two of the easing of the lockdown as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mustapha said that as the PTF focused on community engagement and risk communication, State Governments were now expected to be responsible for shaping and driving COVID-19 prevention processes.

He noted, however, that every individual had a stake and a role to play.

“We must take responsibility. We must be accountable to self and community on our actions. We must adhere to the guidelines issued.

“Shortly after the briefing of 1st June, 2020, the social media was trending with the photograph of two children wearing discarded PPE (although it is not certain if the photograph was taken in Nigeria).

“Significantly, that photograph represents a dangerous development. It underscores the need for more risk communication, community engagement and diligence in the disposal of used PPE on the part of our frontline workers and administrators.

“It also underscores the need to broaden the theme and messages in our communication strategy.  Above all, the photograph has left us to imagine what the impact will be if schools are to be re-opened and they attend school after being exposed so dangerously.

“Those three children represent a clear danger to themselves, family and the immediate community,” Mustapha stated.

He called on health authorities to make sure that waste disposal was done in such a way that would not create opportunities for increasing the chances of spreading the virus.

The SGF urged citizens to religiously implement applicable guidelines at specific phases of the battle, saying that the PTF would continue to monitor progress being made to eradicate the disease.

“I, therefore, urge all sub-national entities with which we have been collaborating to expeditiously factor the guidelines into their decisions and resultant protocols that will be agreed to.

“I further urge them to strengthen their enforcement and monitoring mechanisms so as to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

“The PTF is conscious of the fact that there is a high possibility of members of the public seeing the easing as a signal that COVID-19 is gone. On the contrary, COVID-19 is still virulent, dangerous and infectious.

“Our lives have changed for good and will never revert to what we used to know.

“That is why we have urged all employers, employees and leaders of sectors allowed to re-open to diligently comply with non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed in the guidelines and the protocols agreed by State Governments.

“We must all overcome this challenge together. You must take responsibility,” Mustapha said.

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