Nigeria's COVID-19 Cases Rise to 30

Nigeria COVID-19 cases rise.
23 March 2020

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria yesterday rose to 30, after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed eight new cases.

The centre said two cases out of the 30 have been discharged and that no death from the disease has been recorded so far in the country.

It said six of the eight new cases were in Lagos State, one in Oyo and one in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Between Wednesday and Sunday, Nigeria witnessed a spike in cases with about 22 incidences recorded in five days.

States that have confirmed cases of Covid-19 are: Lagos, 22, Abuja, 4, Ogun, 2, and Ekiti and Oyo, one case.

NCDC said the multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at level three were coordinating the national response activities against the disease.

On the global scene, over 300,000 confirmed cases have been recorded with 13,000 deaths as at 10pm on Sunday.

No restriction in Niger, Abia, Bauchi, Edo, Yobe

Precautionary measures were not taken in some churches in Niger State despite mass turnout of worshippers for Sunday service.

During a visit to some churches in Minna, Sauka Kahuna, Nkangbe, Kapgungun, Chachanga, Tunga, Bosso, Maikunkele across Minna and also in Bida, our reporter did not see any sign of water or sanitiser for members. Sitting arrangements were also not altered in line with the call for social distancing.

Members of some churches who spoke to our correspondent said that the Niger state government had not banned religious gathering of any kind in the state, a claim which the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane, confirmed.

"As at when we briefed the press on Friday, there were no cases reported in Abuja which was why we didn't ban religious gatherings; but for now, we will put stricter measures," he said.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has assured the citizens of his administration's preparedness to ensure that they are safe.

According to him, "Corona virus is not a death sentence but an ailment that requires community effort to deal with," he said.

Amid the assurances by the governor, Sunday services were held in big churches in Umuahia like the Mater Dei Catholic Cathedral, St. Finbar's Catholic Church, St Stephens Anglican Church, Living Faith Church, among others.

In Edo, the state government has not shut down schools or place ban on worship centres and social gathering.

Churches yesterday observed services with large worshippers while precautionary measures were not put in place in most of the places visited.

Governor Godwin Obaseki had during a meeting with traditional rulers, religious and political leaders said when it becomes necessary to shut down worship centres, the decision would be made in the interest of public safety.

Religious leaders across churches in Damaturu had during the Sunday sermon urged their subjects to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

Musa Buba, one of the pastors who spoke with our correspondent said, "Although there was no ban order on religious gathering in Yobe, people should not be reluctant and think it is not coming," he said.

Bauchi State Government is yet to ban public congregations as sociocultural activities including schools, marriage ceremonies and religious gatherings continue without any restrictions.

Church services were held yesterday across the state with huge attendance especially in Bauchi metropolis and other locations without any form of restrictions.

Academic activities have also continued in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the state including private and religious based schools despite media campaign on preventive measures against the disease.

On Friday, Governor Bala Mohammed and other key government officials wearing preventive mask attended Friday prayers at Ibrahim Bako Juma'at Mosque in Bauchi metropolis.

When contacted over the government's silence on shutting down schools and public congregations, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, said that the government will take a decision about the matter today.

Night clubs held sway in Abakaliki

Churches in Abakiliki, the Ebonyi State capital and environs held their usual Sunday services.

Also, night clubs on Saturday night were opened in some areas, with those who defied the order saying they were optimistic that the virus would not reach the state.

Many churches in Kaduna yesterday held services but our correspondent reports that there were no much precautionary measures such as hand washing facilities or the use of hand sanitizers.

However, few churches insisted that worshippers must comply before entering the church buildings.

Iliyasu Jeremiah, an official at Assemblies of God Church, in Sabo, told our correspondent that though there were no precautionary measures before fellowship, the Church secretary had given a pep talk on preventive measures against Covid-19.

He said: "We we're told to avoid crowded places and wash our hands with soap and water frequently but there was no discussion as to whether church service will be suspended from next week or not."

At the Living Faith Church in Unguwan Pama in Sabo, Juliet Abraham told Daily Trust that: "We have been told to worship at the level of House Fellowship as from next week; and where there are more than 50 people, the House will further be broken into smaller clusters."

Many churches in Jos, the Plateau State capital were yet to comply with the directive of not putting many people together in one place.

Most of the churches monitored only reminded their members about personal precautionary measures/hygiene.

Also, Catholic churches in Owerri and its environs observed the regular masses of 5 am, 6 am 9.30 and 11 am with thousands of people in attendance.

In Akwa Ibom, many worshippers were seen on their way to different churches as early as 6am and prayers were offered against the spread of Covid-19, while parishioners were told to shake hands with fellow members.

One of our correspondents, who went round Makurdi metropolis in Benue State, observed that most churches with large congregation ensured that their followers used hand sanitizers.

The Clergy at FFC, Rev. Paulitodo Samuel, who emphasised the need for precautionary steps against the Covid-19, assured his followers of God's safety as found in the Holy Bible in Psalm 91:1-16.

It was observed that Sunday services were held in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State.

But Mary Wamba said she did not go to church because she was on self -isolation.

IG directs enforcement

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police across the country to ensure that all legitimate orders given in pursuant to the containment efforts are strictly enforced within their areas of jurisdiction.

However, while urging officers to observe personal safety measures, further directed relevant authorities to ensure that cases of unnecessary arrests and detention of suspects were not condoned.

A statement signed by the Force Headquarters spokesman, DCP Frank Mba "reiterates that detention of suspects must be reduced to the barest minimum and that only very serious cases such as terrorism, armed robbery, homicide and other non-bailable offences should warrant detention."

He said the IGP further directed that adequate measures be in place to screen persons to be committed into police custody.

"The IGP enjoins citizens to avoid social visits to police stations and other police offices and minimize official visits, except where absolutely necessary," the statement said.

Also, in compliance with the federal government's directive that all tertiary institutions be shut, the IGP has ordered the immediate closure of the Nigeria Police Academy as well as all police primary and secondary schools nationwide.

Lagos, Kwara issues works-from-home order

Governor Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu yesterday directed all public officers in the unified public service from Grade Levels 1 to 12, which constitutes 70 per cent of the entire public service workforce, to stay at home for 14 days starting from today.

He said the order does not affect medical personnel, fire service operatives, officials of LASEMA and LAWMA, and other first respondents and essential services.

He also encouraged the private sector to take similar steps to ensure that many people stayed at home.

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has also directed that state civil servants should hence forth work from home.

He said aside from officials of ministry of health and essential workers, all civil servants in the state are to work from home until further notice.

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