COVID-19: Hope for Nigeria as Buhari receives Madagascar cure sample

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The Madagascar solution, prepared for the treatment of COVID-19, made its way to the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday but President Muhammadu Buhari said it would not be administered on any Nigerian until it was scientifically confirmed to be safe for use.

Samples of the solution were presented to him by President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau who was on a visit to Nigeria.

Medical experts remained worried yesterday by the decision of some state governors to reopen worship centres despite the increasing rate of coronavirus infection in the country.

They branded the governors’ action irresponsible.

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State threatened on Saturday to lockdown the state following the discovery of four fresh cases of COVID-19.

Buhari told his guest that his position on all non-conventional medicines, including the one from Madagascar, is that they must all go through standard validation procedures.

“We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification. I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,” the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu quoted him as saying.

On the main reason for his visit, President Embalo said having stabilized his country after the tussles that attended the general elections won by him, he had come to seek counsel from his “father,” President Buhari on his plan for a “government of national unity” and a proposed war against corruption in his country.

He also said that his new government met a country embroiled in a number of issues and problems, the resolution of which would require tremendous assistance from “big brother,” Nigeria.

“Problems of Guinea Bissau are problems of Nigeria. I have come to you as your son. I need your help and assistance to make the people happy. I will not let you down, neither will I put you in any difficult situation,” the visiting leader said.

Reopening religious centres totally irresponsible – Health Experts

The state governors who have  reopened worship centres in their states regardless of the increasing rate of coronavirus infection on Saturday came under more attacks from health experts who described such action as irresponsible.

The health stakeholders said that the lockdown was supposed to be a critical measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as the country is yet to experience the peak of the disease.

The Chairman of the COVID-19 Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee in Abuja, Dr. Ejike Orji said the reopening of the worship centres was not in the best interest of anyone.

“If there is anything that the religious bodies can do if they truly love their flock, it is to keep them from mingling,” Orji told The Nation.

He added: “the pastor that is telling people to congregate in his house is looking for trouble. Anybody talking about gatherings for religious purposes must be a very stupid person because spirituality can be done anywhere.

“Science tells you that the virus can only survive for not more than 72 hours on hard surfaces maximum. So, if you want to end the transmission you are to isolate people who have the sickness and keep them in one place until they are cured of the disease. The disease will burn itself off.”

“Remember a country like Iran. Iran suffered so much because their mosque was the epi-centre of the disease spread. They realized this and shut down their mosque.

“The disease will most likely get to 60 percent to 80 percent of the population in the world before it is over. Therefore, the only thing to do that is sensible is to make sure that any point in time you slow down the rate of transmission.”

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile differed a bit saying: “The state Governors have the right to make their own laws based on their special situation.

Many states have allowed their people to go to markets and banks where they freely flout all the regulations given. So it will be very inimical to say that in churches and mosques people cannot take care of their spiritual interests.

“The peculiarity in each state will determine the actions that they are taking. However it is better to err on the side of caution by ensuring that all the regulations are enforced, which may also include banning large gatherings.”

The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD), Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, said: “From a medical point of view, we’ve continued to advocate that it will be appropriate that social gatherings be suspended for now.

But beyond the medical point of view I am sure that there are other perspectives that are being considered – political perspective being one of the reasons for opening those religious centres.

“As far as we are concerned it will continue to be in the interest of the country if these religious centres remain closed for now until such a time when it will be appropriate for religious activities to resume.

As long as people will continue to mingle among themselves, the disease will continue to spread. We will continue to advise on the need to temporize opening doors at religious centres now.”

Professor of Public Health Parasitology and Director of McCarthy Study Centre of National Open University Nigeria, Mba Okoronkwo, said: “As a matter of fact the decision by some clergymen is dangerous in the face of what is happening.

If the number of new cases continues to rise every day given the lockdown, you can imagine what will happen when a lot of people congregate in various churches and mosques.

“Nobody knows who is infected because there are symptomatic and asymptomatic patients who are moving around in the community. The lockdown has not affected the psyche of our people. You find that even people who know that they are sick and infected by COVID-19 do not allow others to know their status to avoid stigmatization.

“These categories of people will now tell you that going to the house of faith is the only hope they have for healing and for the relief of their stress. In the process, even if some observe the social and physical distancing, a handful of people will disobey.”

Uzodinma threatens total lock down as state records four new COVID-19 cases

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has expressed displeasure over non-compliance by resident with government’s directives on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Briefing newsmen Friday in Owerri, Uzodinma said: “coronavirus is very serious and must be taken seriously. This COVID-19 does not know political parties, religion, language or class.

“It is a dangerous virus that we must unite to fight. By Tuesday, May 19, 2020, I will review the situation. If the violation continues, we will have no option than to lockdown the state completely to save the lives of our people.”

The governor temporarily lifted the ban on burials in the State.

He said he took the decision following complaints by operators of mortuaries that their facilities are filled to the brim.

Consequently, residents were given two weeks from yesterday to bury their loved ones with strict conditions that must be adhered to.

These include: that the family will first write to the Local Government Interim Management Chairman, who, in turn, will give them approval in writing stating the date of the burial; that there will be no ceremony after the burial and that the burial, which must not last more than two hours will not have more than 20 persons in attendance at a time including the priest.

The Governor also emphasized that the organizers must provide hand washing basins, soaps, sanitizers, and that social distancing must be observed.

He warned that the local councils will monitor the burials adding that anybody who violates the rules would be arrested and prosecuted.

FCTA taskforce arrests 27 Kogi, Edo-bound travellers hidden in trucks

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Enforcement Task Team on COVID-19 restriction has arrested 27 persons while allegedly making their way through Abuja to other parts of the country.

The apprehended travellers were hidden in trucks, conveying bags of rice and onions from Zaria in Kaduna State.

The enforcement team had insisted on seeing the content of the trucks.

The culprits  were arraigned at the Zuba Mobile Court, where the presiding Magistrate, Ebiwari Damini convicted the driver, Olalekan  Wasiu and their passengers for violating the ban on interstate travelling imposed to contain spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The driver was fined N5,000 and the truck impounded until after the interstate travel restriction is lifted.

He also ruled that those caught should be guided out of the FCT to where they were coming from.

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