COVID-19: Infection Rates hit Highest Daily Toll with 317 Cases

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Nigeria recorded a total of 317 new cases of the third wave of the coronavirus on Friday, the highest in several months, sparking panic that the dangerous infection is truly spreading in the country.

One person was confirmed dead by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in an update on Friday night.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday that the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 will become the dominant strain globally in the coming months as it is rapidly outcompeting other variants.

The highly transmissible variant has already spread to 124 countries

The new cases on Friday were recorded in 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The update came a few days after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, placed six states – Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau -and the FCT on red alert  on the Delta variant of the virus.

The latest cases were recorded in 10 states and the FCT.

Lagos reported the highest figure of  172 cases, followed by  Akwa Ibom State with 62 cases and Oyo with 33 cases. Rivers State had 32, Ekiti and the FCT had five each, Ogun had three, Sokoto two while Bayelsa, Gombe and Kano had one each.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Adebola Ekanola, said  about 10 persons could have died from COVID-19 complications within the university community if  necessary precautions had  not been taken in respect of the Delta variant.

Ekanola spoke during a virtual meeting of deans and heads of the department of the institution organised by the University of Ibadan COVID-19 Emergency Response Team.

He said there had been a lot of laxity on personal protective measures because many assumed that they were safe from the virus.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor stated that although the university had been lucky not to have been badly affected by COVID-19, he maintained that students and staff of the institution needed to take charge and be responsive to ensuring no COVID-19 case is again recorded in the university.

He said: “The risk of the pandemic is higher than when the academic session started and so, individuals’ health should be prioritized above other pursuits of life.”

Ekanola stressed that a task force to emphasize and encourage high compliance of students and staff of the university to wear face masks, ensure hand washing and social distancing will begin to work in the institution.

Speaking, the Head, Department of Virology, Prof. Georgina Odaibo, said that tests conducted  at the University’s Department of Virology indicated that positivity rate had gone up from about 1.5 per cent in April to 2.8 per cent in May, 12 per cent by June, ending at 16 per cent in July.

She said infection could spread to the university if protective measures were not in place.

It was learnt that the Director, University of Ibadan Health Services, Dr Aderonke Ajayi, said that ensuring a healthy environment is a collective responsibility, adding that compliance with COVID-19 protective protocol is only currently being adhered to in the religious centres within university.

The Coordinator, UI COVID-19 Emergency Response Committee, Prof. Victoria Adetunji, in her own contribution, said the enlightenment programme became imperative due to the detection of Delta variant of the virus in Nigeria, increase in daily cases since July and increasing positivity rate of infection.

In a statement by the institution’s Registrar, Mrs Olubunmi Faluyi, the university said it had not recorded any case of COVID-19 at its health facility in the last three months. The statement called on members of the university community to take seriously all the precautions rolled out by the government, stressing that each person should own their action for full prevention.

The July 19 statement entitled: ‘Delta Variant: Compliance with COVID-19 Protocols,’ reads: “Management has noted the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the recently discovered Delta variant and the placement of some states (including Oyo State) on red alert by the Federal Government.

“The fact that the University of Ibadan Health Services has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19 or an increase in flu-related/flu-like symptoms (for this season/time of the year) in the last three months suggests that if we are proactive in observing all health safety protocols, we can effectively prevent and spare the UI community from the third wave/new variant of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hence, it is important that we fully implement all recommended precautions at all levels because it has been observed that though the level of knowledge of necessary precautions is high, the level of implementation/compliance is low.

“All hands must be on deck, especially in the halls of residence, in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Each person must take direct responsibility for his/her health safety.

“The following should be strictly adhered to in halls of residence: No unauthorised visitors, no unscreened travellers/visitors, no squatters, right use of facemasks by everyone, wash hands, always observe physical/social distancing. Violators of health safety protocols must be promptly reported to appropriate authorities.

“Members of Students Executive Council, Hall Management and all leaders should show good examples everywhere with active health surveillance mechanisms in place.

“Please endeavour  to eat well to boost your immunity and  shun rumours. Please call 08095394000, 08078288800 for emergencies.”

Plateau ready for any eventuality- Dr. Ndam

The Delta variant is yet to be recorded in Plateau State but the government says it is leaving no stone unturned to protect residents from getting infected.

Health Commissioner Nimkong Ndam told The Nation in Jos that although the federal government listed Plateau as one of the states on red alert over the Delta variant, no case has yet been recorded in the state.

“We have not registered any case of COVID-19. The last one we diagnosed was on the 5th of this month and since then we have not registered any case,” Ndam said.

He added: “the third wave is not here yet, we’re just anticipating.

“The government said let’s just keep our isolation centers in position, we should prepare in case anything would come. The last confirmed case that we treated and discharged was on the 5th of July.”

Asked how prepared the state was for a possible outbreak of the variant, he said: “Our isolation centers are still functional and people are still around.

“We didn’t close them because our staff members are fully on ground in case of any eventuality. The only one we closed is the one in Shendam because for a long time we have not admitted any one there. So we temporarily closed it but all other ones are still intact.”

Enugu govt inaugurates 11-man COVID-19 project committee

The Enugu State Government on Friday inaugurated an 11-man state project steering committee for the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP) to enhance COPREP activities.

The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, who inaugurated the committee, charged the members to leave indelible marks on the sands of time.

It is headed by Health Commissioner Emmanuel Obi.

It is charged with the responsibility of overseeing project implementation in the state, reviewing and approving the state’s Incident Action Plan (IAP), for onward transmission to the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU), among others.

NCDC meets state teams

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has been having bi-weekly engagement meetings with state teams on strategies to deal with the third wave of the coronavirus.

Other response interventions according to the agency are: Ongoing sequencing of positive samples among travellers to Nigeria, at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Gaduwa; Distribution of IPC supplies donated by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to support primary health care facilities across the country, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Ag-RDT testing for athletes for the Japan Olympics in Lagos State, Bayelsa State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) camps; Ongoing prepositioning of PPE and commodities at the sub-national level for labs, treatment centres, sample collection centres and other relevant facilities as preparedness for surge in cases; and conducting workshop on integration of COVID-19 messaging with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Tuberculosis and Malaria (HTM) infection with support from Global Fund.

Nigeria expects more Covid-19 vaccines from abroad

Government officials have said that by the end of September, Nigeria should have received 41,282,770 vaccines through the COVAX facility and the African Union Commission.

Of this volume 3,924,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca are expected by the end of this month  or early August 2021 from the COVAX facility; 3,930,910 doses of Pfizer-Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccine expected in August from the COVAX facility donated by the United States Government; and 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer-Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccine expected in the third quarter from the COVAX facility.

Besides, 29,850,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (Jassen) COVID-19 vaccine are expected by the end of September, which will arrive in batches from the African Union Commission.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has confirmed that 3,938,945 eligible persons across the 36 States and FCT, have already been vaccinated against Covid-19.

This figure represents 98 percent utilization of the 4,024,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine  received from COVAX facility in March 2021.

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