• Deploys Gene-Xpert machines in Kogi, Cross River
• Worship centers remain closed in Lagos, Kaduna
• 812 health professionals infected with COVID-19
• Nigeria resumes participation in WHO clinical trials
• The virus infects 241 more, totaling 10,819 with 314 deaths, 3,239 downloaded
Segun James, Martins Ifijeh in Lagos, Olawale Ajimotokan and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
After lifting restrictions on places of worship, the federal government issued a security warning, which, among others, restricted children from Islamiyya churches and schools in mosques as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 during regular religious services .
The federal government also asked governors to take charge of the application of the protocols to contain the spread of the virus.
In the states of Lagos and Kaduna, therefore, governments said that places of worship would remain closed.
The number of viruses rose to 10,819 in the country yesterday, infecting another 241 people.
The death toll has increased from 299 to 314 in the past 24 hours, even though 3,239 people have left.
In announcing last night, the Nigeria Disease Control Center (NCDC) said that Lagos State has registered 142 new cases, Oyo 15, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 13, Kano 12, Edo 11, Delta 10, Kaduna and Rivers nine, Borno eight, Jigawa four, Gombe and Plateau three each, while Osun and Bauchi recorded one each.
In Kaduna, the Governor's Special Adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye, said religious activities would remain confined, adding that the state government had initiated commitments to business, community and religious leaders to discuss and agree on protocols for safe reintegration. opening of businesses, markets and resumption of congregational worship.
The decision in the case of Lagos State would be taken by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who would take into account the growing cases of the pandemic in the state.
The statement to churches and mosques, developed in conjunction with the leadership of the religious community and state governments, was released yesterday by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Control COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, during the task. media briefing in Abuja.
He, however, insisted that it is safer for the public to worship at home, because religious places are particularly recognized for having the greatest potential to spread the virus among the faithful.
He said places of worship that fail to comply with the measures should not be allowed to operate by governors.
Aliyu said the statement was issued if members of the public wanted to fulfill their spiritual needs and it is impossible to do so at home.
Some of the recommended guidelines, observed by the PTF, are minimum standards that mosques and churches must meet include the provision of running water, soaps and alcohol disinfectants at entry and exit points and in all places of high contact, including bathrooms. He added that the faithful should wash their hands and undergo temperature checks before entering.
The use of face masks is now mandatory in mosques and churches, while all close contacts, including handshaking, hugging, kissing, handling materials and sharing items of worship, including prayer mats, musical organs and microphone, are strongly discouraged.
The capacity of the installation must be limited to allow the application of physical distance rules. Local authorities should also be advised in terms of hotspot areas that may require further restriction. Volunteers must be restricted to a certain number and none of the volunteers must have an underlying condition or be over 55 years of age, ”said Aliyu.
PTF also recommended limiting the congregation's time to places of worship, opening only for regular church and mosque services.
Under this proposal, churches should open from 5 pm and close at 8 pm. automatically excluding night watches.
Each church service would last a maximum of one hour, with an interval of 30 minutes between services, to allow time for disinfection.
Mosques can open 15 minutes before Adhan (call to prayer) and close 10 minutes after praying for fajr, subr and asr. Prayers should be shortened to reduce contacts between congregants.
The reason for that, as I said yesterday, is that there are a number of factors that help you get COVID-19 when you meet someone with it. And one of the factors is the duration of that person. The longer you stay with that person, the less protected they are in terms of a face mask – or yourself. The closer you are to the person, the more likely you are to get COVID-19, ”he said.
He added that for Friday prayers in Jummat, mosques must open 20 minutes before prayers and close 20 minutes after prayers. The length of Friday prayers, including sermons, should not exceed one hour, he said.
Likewise, Aliyu also noted that Islamiyya schools, Sunday schools and children's activities, as well as night vigils, should remain suspended, adding that, for mosques, only five daily prayers and Friday service Jummat are allowed.
According to him, mass meetings that make physical distance impossible are not allowed, while it is recommended that prayer sessions be staggered to accommodate people.
Aliyu also said that church believers should be encouraged to sign up for their preferred service hours, while virtual worship options should be made available.
He also added that, if possible, places of worship should plan separate entry and exit points.
In addition, there should be no social gathering before and after services.
He also strongly opposed the operation of commercial establishments inside churches and mosques, saying they should remain closed while people with underlying conditions, such as HIV, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and people over 55, are advised to stay at home. and consider remote participation. or contactless service.
”When we looked at the death rate of people who died of COVID-19 in Nigeria, more than half of the people who died were over 50. Second, the case death rate if you are over 50 is 17 percent; if you are over 60; it's 18% – it's almost one in five chances of dying if you take COVID-19 and fall into that group.
There must be improvement in environmental hygiene and clear decontamination processes. For example, places of worship should ideally be free of rugs to allow easy and regular disinfection of floors and furniture. Windows should be left open during service and, preferably, use non-closed outdoor services as much as possible, ”he explained.
He reminded the faithful not to attend in person if they had common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, or if they had had close contact with an infected person in the past 14 days.
Governments to apply protocols
Also speaking at the briefing, task force chairman Boss Mustapha said the task force will continue to monitor progress and maintain the option of reviewing open protocols should these needs arise.
He said that while the federal government has issued so many protocols in relation to places of business and places of worship, the responsibility for enforcement lies ultimately with state governors and security agencies.
Mustapha noted that governors have a responsibility to oversee their territory, adding that the federal government wants to see an application that applies to confining the governors' responsibility and jurisdiction.
Governors have a responsibility to oversee their territory. Most of the issues that we want the application to be applied to are things that meet the limits of your responsibility and jurisdiction to ensure enforcement in those areas.
I can guarantee that I saw some governors in action. I am quite satisfied with the level of application they have demonstrated. They may not all be in the same category; some were decisive in dealing with this pandemic, others probably because of the numbers that were not so decisive in the open, as you will see with some governors who are working hard to ensure that they limit rates as much as possible – the transmission fee for the their territory.
“And now that the virus has given way to parts of the country, every governor will have to appropriate that level of taking home everything that has to do with our response to this pandemic. It is time for governors to stand out for their people and ensure the implementation of the guidelines, ”said Mustapha.
Nigeria resumes participation in WHO solidarity trials
Meanwhile, Nigeria, according to the PTF, has resumed its participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) drug trials for curing the virus, which was suspended last month based on advice from the global health agency.
Nigeria suspended its participation in clinical trials known as the WHO Solidarity Trials last month, following advice from the world body.
Speaking during the media briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the return to rehearsals was informed by the perception that Nigeria has something to add to the body of knowledge to be generated from the rehearsals.
“After consulting with the leading Nigerian scientists from the Ministerial Advisory Committee of Experts, I am advised that Nigeria has something to add to the body of knowledge surrounding these trials. I therefore approved the continuation of the trial, as recommended, under strong precautionary conditions to be incorporated into it, ”he said.
Ehanire said the ministry's leadership was also informed yesterday by the Ministerial Advisory Panel of Experts.
He said the panel led by the main virologist, Professor Oyewale Tomori, provided a series of very useful recommendations that would be discussed and shared with the heads of agencies and departments of the Ministry.
Ehanire said his ministry is working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to finalize plans on involving existing volunteers and community workers to conduct awareness from home to home at the community level, especially in high-cost areas of the community. local government of Nigeria.
He explained that about 20 areas of local government account for almost 60% of Nigeria's positive cases.
The minister said the burden of COVID-19 was not evenly distributed across the country, as Kano and Lagos are currently carrying the highest burden.
He said that a team from the Federal Ministry of Health led by the Executive Director of NPHCDA and composed of doctors from the Departments of Family Health, Hospital Services and Public Health and NCDC was sent to Lagos on an assessment visit, during which an analysis of the situation would be realized. conducted.
He said the team would also visit the contiguous Ogun State on the same mission.
“Visits are continuing similar useful initiatives in the past to Kano, Katsina Sokoto, Jigawa, Gombe and Borno, to share experiences and ideas, align strategies and support each other.
"We continue to advocate for states to strengthen their response activities and initiate a program to strengthen the capacity of all federal health institutions in Nigeria to address the challenges of COVID-19 in their states through additional training, supplies and equipment. "he said. .
Regarding the findings of the Madagascar herbal regiment, the minister said that a timetable was not set for agencies to send their report.
Ehanire dismissed fears about the plan to use public school facilities as isolation centers, assuring Nigerians that the government would ensure that only schools on vacation are used and are promptly decontaminated after use.
FG deploys GeneXpert machines in Kogi, Cross River
Ehanire also said that, following recent reports on the situation at the Federal Medical Center in Lokoja, Kogi State and University Hospital at the University of Calabar, on the GeneXpert machines in the state of Cross River, they would be deployed in both states as soon as the test kits were deployed. validated by the laboratory. Science Council of Medical Laboratories, so that citizens of the states no longer have an opportunity to be tested.
“Our observation is that the states are at different levels of readiness and it is important to redefine the strategy to serve all citizens at their points of need. Since then, COVID-19 has become a global phenomenon that affects almost every part of the world.
“I ask all state authorities in Nigeria to accept the reality and also work with each other and with the federal government and participate in the strategy of keeping people safe. This includes decentralization that requires the preparation of a minimum of 300 isolation beds, so that the national health system is not without COVID-19 beds, ”he said.
The minister added that FCT is no longer under pressure of bed space, having been well supported with assets to meet all levels of care, security and needs.
He said there would be no reason for a positive COVID-19 person to be out of a designated isolation and treatment center, especially with THISDAY Dome Isolation Center ready to handle these cases.
Ehanire noted that the dome treatment / isolation facility today would be led in the introductory phase by the medical director of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, one of Nigeria's most experienced viral illness hospitals.
The director general of the Nigeria Disease Control Center (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in his presentation, said that despite the increase in the number of positive cases for COVID-19, the country was yet to reach the peak of pandemic.
He frowned at the hints that the effort to contain COVID-19 was fraudulent, adding that the wrong figures that were supposedly sold by some media equipment are very unfortunate.
The NCDC chief said that Nigeria currently has the third highest number of positive cases in Africa, behind South Africa and Egypt.
However, the NCDC's position contradicts the WHO claim that Nigeria recorded the second highest number of cases in Africa.
WHO reported that COVID-19 cases in Africa had increased to more than 150,000 on 2 June.
The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, updated the official version of Twitter, @WHOAFRO.
According to the report, South Africa has 34,357 cases and 705 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 10,578 confirmed cases and 299 deaths, while Algeria has 9,513 confirmed cases and 661 deaths.
He said Ghana had 8,070 reported cases and 36 deaths, while Cameroon recorded 6,397 confirmed cases and 191 deaths.
However, Ihekweazu reported that 60% of COVID-19 cases in the country are found in 20 areas of local government.
“Another important number is that 60% of our cases are in 20 areas of the local government. Now, this will further define our commitments, ”he said.
Ihekweazu also explained that the NCDC has distributed more than 40,000 personal protective equipment across the country.
The head of the NCDC, who said the country had tested more than 65,000 samples, added that further testing was needed to completely reduce the degree of threat of the virus.
He said that about 812 health professionals are currently infected with COVID-19, while eight of them who work with the NCDC are receiving treatment at the Idu treatment center in Abuja.
Churches and mosques remain closed in Lagos, says government
Meanwhile, the Lagos state government has ruled out the immediate reopening of churches and mosques in the state.
Lagos State Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said yesterday that Lagos, being the epicenter of the pandemic, would not reopen the centers of worship until there is a "clear coast for the state to do so".
He said this in the sideline of the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing in celebration of his first year in office as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Elegushi said the state is still studying the possibility of reopening the centers of worship, despite federal government guidelines.
According to him, “even before the federal government's announcement, we have had meetings with religious leaders; we even had one with a security commission, analyzing the possibility of reopening religious houses.
“We also had one with the leaders of both religions and I want to say categorically that, at that meeting, the possibility of reopening religious houses was totally ruled out.
“They claimed that they cannot take on such a responsibility to ensure that only 20 or 50 people are praying behind them.
"As an imam said, he doesn't know what's going on in the back immediately, he is leading a prayer. He said that if more than 20 or 50 people get behind him, he will not take responsibility for their presence.
”So, at the meeting, we totally dismissed the issue of reopening religious houses until we had a clean coastline to do so.
The federal government mentioned, but never ruled out, the state in getting this pronouncement.
“Therefore, all states will have to consider the possibility of doing so in their respective states.
“We all know that Lagos is still getting more numbers. So, definitely, this will speak to our decision. "
India approves use of remdesivir in patients
In a related development, India's tallest drug controller, the Central Standard Control Control Organization (CDCSO) approved the emergency use of Remdesivir in patients with COVID-19, saying it reduces the replication of the virus in the body.
Announcing this yesterday, the agency said it had given permission to Gilead Sciences, makers of the drug, for marketing authorization.
He said: “Remdesivir will be available as an injection and will only be sold at retail through a doctor's prescription for hospital use. The drug has been shown to reduce the replication of COVID-19 in the body system.
"The decision was made after consultation with a committee of experts that granted remdesivir only to be administered in emergencies to laboratory confirmed patients with COVID-19 in India."
Lagos discharges 33 more patients
Meanwhile, the Lagos state government has discharged 33 additional COVID-19 patients from their isolation centers, bringing the number of people successfully treated to 908 in the state to 908.
Announcing this yesterday, the COVID-19 incident commander in Lagos state, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said seven of the patients are female, while 26 are male, including three Indians.
He said: “21 of the patients were discharged from the Onikan Isolation Center, nine from the Eti-Osa Isolation Center (Landmark), two from the Lekki Isolation Center, while one was from the Gbagada Isolation Centers.
"As a result, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged from our isolation facilities is now 908."