Updated: March 5, 2022 Measles ravaging Osun, Enugu, Katsina, five other states –NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed the outbreak of measles in eight states of the federation.

The NCDC via its official website on Friday said that the eight states affected were; Jigawa, Anambra, Katsina, Rivers, Enugu; Delta, Osun and Sokoto, which had 908 suspected cases had been reported so far.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that measles is a very contagious infection caused by a virus, and it is common among children.

The main symptoms of measles are red-brown blotchy rashes and cold-like symptoms.

Measles is spread through coughs and sneezes and is usually contracted before the symptoms fully develop.

The public health agency also stated that there was an ongoing outbreak of measles in Zamfara, which had not been confirmed due to the absence of testing reagents.

It was reported that 58.7 per cent of confirmed cases were those that had not been vaccinated, the agency added that as of 2021, a total of 15,792 suspected cases were reported across 683 local government areas across the country.

“So far this year, a total of 908 suspected cases have been reported in 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“Thirteen LGAs across eight states have recorded an outbreak of measles in 2022. The states are Jigawa, Katsina, Rivers, Enugu, Anambra, Delta, Osun and Sokoto.

“There is an ongoing outbreak of suspected measles cases in Zamfara, but this is awaiting confirmation due to lack of its testing kits in the country.

“Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara and Anambra accounted for 55.2 per cent of the 908 suspected cases reported so far. Up to 58.7 per cent of the confirmed cases have not received a dose of measles vaccine,” it explained.

The NCDC stated that 100 per cent of cases recorded in Jigawa, Sokoto, Enugu and Katsina were not vaccinated.

The agency also said that 54.4 per cent were not vaccinated in Borno; 50 per cent in Akwa Ibom; 66.7 per cent in Delta; 50 per cent in Ekiti; 25 per cent in Lagos; 83.3 per cent in Osun; 8.3 per cent in Oyo; and 50 per cent in Rivers.

“Of the 908 suspected cases reported, 88 were laboratory confirmed, 166 clinically compatible, 148 were discarded and 506 are pending classification,” it added.

FCTA Denies Unvaccinated Residents Entry Into Public Facilities

Staff is being asked to show his vaccine card before entry into the public facility

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced the enforcement of the ‘No Vaccination Card” restriction or “Proof-of-Negative-Test-Result” for entry into public facilities.

The enforcement exercise which commenced on Monday comes more than a month after the Federal Government gave its own directive.

As early as 8:00 a.m., security personnel was seen manning checks at the gate of the FCTA Secretariat at Area 11 to ensure compliance.

Only civil servants with vaccination cards were allowed access into the facility.

while those without their vaccination card were seen hanging around outside the Secretariat as they were barred from entry.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of FCT on Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Attah Ikaro, said the exercise became necessary to ensure that the spread of the infection in the FCT is curtailed.

He said the FCT did not begin enforcement on December 1st, 2021 when the Federal Government began its enforcement because it wanted to give time to the civil servants to get vaccinated.

He said, many, however, refused to comply, hence the need for the commencement.

Some of the civil servants alleged that they were not notified about the enforcement exercise and were taken unawares.

Mr. Ikaro, however, denied the allegation, insisting that adequate notice was given to the civil servants.

FCT has the second-highest figure of COVID-19 cases in the country with over 27,800 confirmed infections and 241 deaths recorded as of January 17, 2022.

Nigeria Accounts For 27% Of Global Malaria Deaths – World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 29 of the 85 countries that were malaria-endemic accounted for about 96% of malaria cases and deaths globally while Nigeria accounted for 27% of deaths.

The organisation disclosed this in its 2020 World Malaria report released on Monday.

“About 96% of malaria deaths globally were in 29 countries. Six countries – Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), Mozambique (4%), Angola (3%), and Burkina Faso (3%) – accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2020.

In the data provided, the WHO noted that while Africa had a total of 602,000 deaths out of the estimated 627,000, Nigeria accounted for 31.9 per cent of the malaria deaths on the planet, which was followed closely by the Democratic Republic of Congo with 13.2 percent.

It also added that Sub-Saharan Africa had the heaviest malaria burden, accounting for about 95% of all malaria cases and 96% of all deaths in 2020. About 80% of deaths in the region are among children under 5 years of age.

Commenting on the report, the Head, Global Malaria Programme, WHO, Dr Pedro Alonso, said there was a potential malaria crisis.

Omicron Variant: Why We Didn’t Stop Ramaphosa From Entering Nigeria – FG

Michael Reuben

The Federal Government on Monday demanded that Britain rescind the ban imposed on Nigerian travellers over Omicron variant of COVID-19, saying that putting the country on the red list is “unjust, unfair, divisive, indefensible and discriminatory.” 

Addressing a press conference in his office in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, wondered why residents who travel to Britain will be allowed into the country to quarantine and test while Nigerians are not allowed the same treatment. 

He said it is wrong to impose such punishment on a population of 200 million people because of a few cases of Omicron variant that did not originate in the country. 

While leaving the decision on whether to respond in kind to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mohammed described the ban on African countries as a knee-jerk reaction which is capable of affecting the efforts to control the virus on the continent. He said rather than ban countries, developed world should look critically into the issue of vaccine equity, noting that “unless everyone is safe no one is safe.” 

The minister added, “As you are aware, Britain has put Nigeria on its red list and banned foreign travels from our country. This is as a result of the discovery of COVID-19 cases, Omicron variant, in Nigeria. Britain now joins other countries, including Canada, that have taken a similar action against Nigeria over Omicron. 

“Let me say straight away that it’s up to the PSC to respond to this action by the British government and others, and I have no doubt that the committee will respond appropriately. 

“However, as the spokesman for the Federal Government, I can say, without mincing words, that the decision by the British government to put Nigeria on the red list just because of less than two dozen cases of Omicron which, by the way did not originate in Nigeria, is unjust, unfair, punitive, indefensible and discriminatory. The decision is also not driven by science. 

On the recent visit of South African delegation led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to Nigeria despite South African having just confirmed the Omicron variant in the country, Mohammed said the visit was not stopped because the Federal Government did not want to act in hysteria and panic. 

He said cancelling the South African delegation would have lent credence to Britain’s action on Nigeria.

FG MDAs Bar Unvaccinated Visitors, Lagos Demand PCR Cards At Parties

Federal and Lagos State governments on Tuesday got tougher with the enforcement of their directives on compulsory  COVID-19 vaccination.

The central government, which on December 1 disallowed unvaccinated civil servants from accessing their offices, on Tuesday barred visitors that were not vaccinated from government buildings in Abuja.

On its part, the Lagos State Government stated that all attendees of social events in the state must present their vaccination cards.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had in October said  civil servants without proof of vaccination and negative coronavirus tests would not be allowed to enter their offices as from December 1, 2021.

On Wednesday last week, security agents started  barring  unvaccinated civil servants from government buildings.

On Tuesday, the Federal  Government went a step further in enforcing its compulsory vaccination order when it stopped contractors, journalists and other regular visitors from entering  various ministries in the Federal Capital Territory.

Responding to a question on whether the restriction of unvaccinated workers ought to be extended to journalists and others, the Head of Technical Secretariat, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mukhtar Muhammad, simply said, “it is not out of order.”

Our reports indicate that over 10 federal ministries are located in the Federal Secretariat complex and the Office of the Civil Service of the Federation.

The ministries located at the secretariat include The Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Special Duties, the Ministry of Aviation, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Also affected were agencies at the Federal Capital Development Authority including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Three of our correspondents were denied access to various ministries for failing to present vaccination cards.

One of our correspondents was informed by an unnamed security guard that the move had become necessary because civil servants could pose as visitors and gain access.

“We were asked not to allow anyone without vaccination cards to gain access. Some people who are civil servants could easily pose as visitors or contractors in order to gain access. So, the instruction is that anyone without vaccination cards should not be allowed in,” he said.

A PUNCH reporter who was going to cover an event at the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, showed the security man his identity card, stating that he is a journalist, and was there to cover an event but he was not allowed to access the building around 11 am on Tuesday.

“The only thing I want to see is your vaccine card, not an ID card,” he said.

He further directed our reporter and others without the COVID-19 vaccination card to a tent opposite the secretariat, where the vaccine was being administered.

It was, however, observed that after 12pm, the security guards left the entrance.

It was observed that both guests and employees of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were asked to show their vaccination cards before being allowed entry into the FMARD’s building.

Employees of the ministry who had been vaccinated gained entry into the ministry’s building located at Area 11 in the Federal Capital Territory.

The development made guests who had yet to be vaccinated to leave the vicinity, to avoid being denied entry at the entrance of the building.

A Professor of Medical Virology, University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba, in an interview with Airviews correspondent stated that barring unvaccinated visitors from government facilities might help to promote rate of vaccination among Nigerians.

According to the expert, allowing unvaccinated visitors to the government facilities might endanger the lives of vaccinated workers.

But human right lawyer, Victor Giwa, said it was wrong of the government to make such a move, adding that medical issues are personal.

He said, “My position is that the issue of the medical status of any individual is personal. Telling anyone to present his or her vaccination card or PCR test is a breach of his own right to private life.”

Attempts to reach the Office of the Head of Service proved abortive as the Spokesperson, Abdulganiyu Aminu, did not pick calls or reply messages.

In Lagos State, Governor  Babajide Sanwo-Olu released new COVID-19 guidelines for social events and gatherings in the festive season.
Social event organisers must  register to obtain safety clearance – Sanwo-Olu
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that all social events in the state must be duly registered to obtain an event safety clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission website.

The governor, who said this on Tuesday in a press statement by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said that every attendee of a social gathering must now present their evidence of vaccination.

He said, “Where possible events should be held in an outdoor space. Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60 per cent of maximum design capacity of the commission.

“Every attendee of a social gathering must present their vaccination cards or digital bar code page, showing at least first dose but preferably double dose full vaccination. In unvaccinated people, a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction within 72 hours will be an exemption.

Every attendee must be tested irrespective of vaccination status – Sanwo-Olu

“Everybody irrespective of vaccination status must be subject to Rapid Diagnostic test (antigen) to be conducted at the event venue within 24 hours prior to the event at the laboratories listed below. (Request for rapid tests at the venue requires an application through the LSSC).

“Under 18 years of age are unvaccinated and the above applies. Guests and service providers with high temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on ground.”

Sanwo-Olu added that all-inbound passengers who refused to adhere to COVID-19 protocols would be prosecuted.

“While it is a stringent requirement that all inbound passengers perform a day two test within 48 hours of arrival into the country; and an additional day seven PCR test for all partially or unvaccinated inbound passengers, we cannot stress enough how important the strict adherence to these protocols are.

“These tests are mandatory to assist the state monitor the inflow of positive passengers, which we have identified as a veritable source of our waves and community spread.

“Based on this, we will commence the prosecution of those who refuse to submit themselves for these mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for a period of one year. This would be carried out in partnership with the Presidential Steering Committee.

NCDC detects three more Omicron cases, total now six

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday announced the discovery of three additional cases of the Omicron variant in the country.

The agency had on Wednesday detected the first three cases of the variant. With Tuesday’s discovery, the total number of the omicron variant cases in Nigeria stands at six.

Last week, Canada after it said it detected three cases with travel history to Nigeria, banned travellers from the country.

Also, on Saturday the United Kingdom placed a travel ban on Nigeria following the discovery of 21 Omicron cases with travel history to Nigeria.

On Tuesday, the NCDC, in a statement signed by its Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa stated that three additional cases of the variant had been discovered.

He said, “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, i.e., the Omicron variant, in Nigeria. In addition to the three cases announced earlier on 1st December 2021, this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six .”

The NCDC also added that it had been notified by the UK of seven cases of the omicron variant which were linked to passengers from Nigeria.

FG Faults British Travel Ban, Alleges Most Infected Travellers From UK

• Between Nov 22 and Nov 28, 67 inbound passengers tested positive – NCDC

• United Kingdom suspends Nigerians’ visa applications as restriction begins

• US demands COVID-19 negative test from travellers, shuns vaccination status

The Federal Government on Sunday ruled out the possibility of restricting foreign travellers from visiting Nigeria despite travel bans on the country by Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

This is just as the government stated that most of the in-bound passengers that tested positive for COVID-19 were from the UK.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said this on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme on Sunday which was monitored by Airviews News correspondent.

Ehanire described as unfortunate the knee-jerk reaction of some countries to the Omicron strain. He noted that even the World Health Organisation had said recently that countries should focus more on collaboration rather than shutting borders.

“At the moment we have no plans restricting anybody coming from another country,” he said.

Airviews reports that the WHO had two weeks ago designated the omicron variant as a variant of concern.The NCDC had last week announced that the country had reported three cases of the variant. Before this, the Canadian government had announced that it found two individuals with the variant who had travel history to Nigeria.

The UK on Saturday night also announced that it found 21 cases of the omicron variant which were linked to Nigeria. It announced that it would, from Monday (today), restrict all flights emanating from Nigeria.

It also suspended all pending visa applications in Nigeria due to the ban on flights from Nigeria due to the Omicron variant.

In a statement on Sunday, the commission said, “To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern, UK Visas and Immigration will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted.

“If you apply for a visit visa in a red list country and you meet the UK Immigration Rules, your application will be paused. You will not receive a decision on your visit visa application whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place. You will not be able to request a refund of your visa fee once you have given your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre. If you already hold a valid visit visa and are intending to travel to England as a visitor from a red list country, you will not be allowed to enter.”

The UK said there are only very limited exemptions to travel and entry requirements for critical workers and medical and compassionate cases.”

But the minister said the Omicron strain could not yet be declared as a deadly strain because no deaths had so far been recorded across the world.

“We are watching what the science community is saying and of course not rushing to judgment and we are also not applauding any lockdowns or any prohibitions or banning of flights

movement of people until we know more.

“We believe that the harm it will do to livelihoods and economies may be more that the perceived value that will be derived from shutting movement between countries. I believe countries should come together to take a common approach and that includes the UK and other countries contemplating a red list,” Ehanire added.

When asked why there was a large number of outbound Nigerian passengers testing positive abroad despite testing negative in Nigeria, Ehanire admitted that indeed, some fake test results were being presented by passengers.

The minister said the government had tightened its mechanism for spotting fake results and vaccination cards.

He, however, argued that the development was not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that most of the inbound passengers that tested positive in Nigeria were actually from the UK.

“Because of the very large volume of travellers from the UK, we also have the most positive COVID-19 virus coming from the UK too,” the minister said.

When asked if anyone had been prosecuted for presenting a fake vaccination certificate or test result, Ehanire explained that the normal procedure was to quarantine such people before handing them over to the police. He admitted that he never followed up to know what happened to such people

Ehanire said the government was exploring the option of setting up vaccination centres at supermarkets and worship centres.

The minister added that the government was looking at vaccinating at least 70 per cent of the population against coronavirus.

He stated that Nigeria had about 100 million doses which would be delivered to the country in phases.

On the possibility of vaccine production, Ehanire said the Federal Government was seriously looking towards that, adding that it would be a collaborative effort with the private sector.

Regarding the possible spike in COVID-19 infections during the Yuletide, Ehanire said the government would continue to encourage non-pharmaceutical interventions like wearing of masks, social distancing and use of hand sanitisers.

When asked if Nigeria was already facing another wave of COVID-19 infections, he responded in the affirmative, adding that the 4th wave had been predicted long ago and this may just be it.

Ehanire stated, “We had the so-called third wave already with the Delta variant. This is what we are looking at as the 4th wave and it was predicted as far back as a month ago that there might be a 4th wave in Nigeria and perhaps the world and it is already accurately manifesting. We hope it doesn’t get to be that and if it becomes the 4th wave, it will not be deadly to our citizens.”

Between Nov 22 and Nov 28,  67 inbound passengers tested positive – NCDC report

Meanwhile, more  inbound passengers are testing positive to COVID-19, an analysis of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s weekly situation report has shown.

The report obtained from the NCDC website on Sunday indicated that positivity rate among inbound travellers had increased by 74.6 per cent.

It was also gathered that 48 out of the 94 test centres for inbound persons of interest had not sent in reports of persons tested for three weeks.According to the NCDC, in its latest situation report, a total of 17 inbound passengers tested positive between November 15 and November 21.

It however added that between November 22 and November 28, a total of 67 passengers tested positive signifying a 74.6 per cent increase.

PHOTOS: Security Operatives Bar Unvaccinated Civil Servants From Federal Secretariat

Security operatives at the gate of the Federal Secretariat bar unvaccinated civil servants.

Some unvaccinated civil servants were turned back by security operatives on Wednesday at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

This is in the enforcement of compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for civil servants in the country.

As early as 7:00 am, security men manned the main entrance to the Federal Secretariat where they demanded either a vaccination card or evidence of negative PCR test before allowing the civil servants to enter the Secretariat.

Some of the unvaccinated civil servants however questioned the Federal Government’s decision saying COVID-19 vaccination should not be made compulsory but a matter of choice.

Others said they are willing to get vaccinated.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 had earlier given a directive mandating all Federal Civil Servants to be vaccinated or present evidence of negative PCR test for COVID-19, effective from December 1, 2021.

See photos below…

Omicron Variant: Canada Adds Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi To Travel Ban List

Canadian health authorities have restricted travel to 10 countries to prevent the spread of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus. Nigeria, Egypt, and Malawi have been added to the list as of today.

The Canadian government announced this afternoon that several more countries have been added to the list of those currently subject to stricter border measures.

The countries added to the list are Nigeria, Egypt, and Malawi. As of today, foreign nationals who have travelled to these countries over the last 14 days will be forbidden from entering Canada. They join a list of seven southern African countries that had restrictive measures imposed on them this past Friday.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents that have been in any of these ten countries over the last 14 days will need to receive a negative PCR test before being allowed to travel to Canada. Upon arriving to Canada, they will face more testing and quarantine measures.

irrespective of their Canadian immigration and vaccination status, will need to undergo testing at the airport in which they land in Canada. They will need to self isolate until a negative test has been confirmed. This is in addition to the PCR tests that they need to get within 72 hours of travel to Canada.

These new measures also apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, even those that are fully vaccinated. Canadian government ministers said during this afternoon’s press conference they will give further consideration to potentially adding these requirement to travellers entering Canada from the U.S. by air and/or land.

25-Year-Old Man Kills His Mother’s Goat In Ebonyi After Taking Mkpuru Mmiri

A 25-year-old man simply identified as “Monday” has killed his mother’s goat in Ebonyi State after taking a hard drug, Mkpurumiri.

Methamphetamine or widely called Mkpuru Mmiri in the south-east is a devastating drug, highly addictive and very accessible. It is also easily administered. It could be ingested, sniffed or inhaled. This substance can be used in the clinical treatment of some Developmental and Somatic Disorders.

According to report gathered, the incident happened in Ishieke community caused uproar as the young man equally burnt his mother’s mattress.

An eyewitness told Airviews news correspondent that it took the effort of able bodied men in the community for him to be tied for days before the effect of the hard drug was subdued.

FG Lays Foundation Stone Of N21bn 14-Bed Presidential Clinic.

He urged the construction company to commence work immediately and also work to complete the project within the time frame.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina said it was a historical day for the health sector.

“We give glory to God for  a day like this, not the words said here today will be remembered but the action because in months, years and many decades to come, this facility will serve a lot of people including sitting Presidents of Nigeria, visiting Presidents and senior members of the State House. Everybody that will come to use this facility will find succour.

It is to the glory of God and for the good of man,” Adesina stated. The project has already been captured in the 2022 budget.

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