COVID-19 third wave: FG places FCT, Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Oyo, two others on red alert


Amid fears of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic following the confirmation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has placed six states and the Federal Capital Territory on red alert.

The six states are Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, and Plateau.

A statement signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on Saturday, however, warned other states of the federation to increase their level of preparedness and continue to enforce all protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

The statement was titled, ‘COVID-19 third wave: PSC puts six states and FCT on red alert, recommends preventive measures for safe Eid celebration.’

Mustapha also cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the likelihood of the wider spread of the coronavirus as the they celebrate Eid-el-Kabir on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The SGF also said the government would sustain the current restrictive measures against travellers from countries including India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.

The statement read, “Following the confirmation of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the rising number of infections and hospitalisations in the country, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has put six states and the Federal Capital Territory on red alert as part of the preventive measures against a third wave of the pandemic. The states are Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, and the FCT.

“The PSC, however, warns that all states of the federation should heighten their state of preparedness and continue to enforce all protocols put in place, given the renowned greater ease of spread of the Delta variant. These steps are critical as we begin to see worrisome early signs of increasing cases in Nigeria.

“The PSC shall continue to minimise the risk of importation of variants of concern into the country by strengthening surveillance at all Points of Entry, enforcing extant quarantine protocols and sustaining the current restrictive measures against travellers arriving from India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.

“The PSC felicitates with the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration. It, however, urges all state governments and religious leaders to be mindful of the potential for wider spread of the virus during large gatherings.”

For Muslims celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir, the PSC recommended the decentralisation of Eid prayer to neighbourhood Friday prayer (outdoor), suspension of Durbar activities, and limitation on all indoor gatherings.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had on July 8 said it had detected a confirmed case with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2 in a traveller to Nigeria, while following the routine travel test required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.

The NCDC website, on Saturday, said, “On July 17, 123 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria. To date, 169,329 cases have been confirmed, 164,672 cases have been discharged and 2,126 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 123 new cases are reported from eight states – Lagos (70), Akwa Ibom (18), Ogun (10), Oyo (8), Rivers (eight), Ekiti (four), FCT (four), Bayelsa (one). A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre, activated at Level 2, continues to coordinate the national response activities.”

The country has recorded a total of 169,329 confirmed cases and 2,126 deaths. According to WHO Africa Regional Office, Africa has recorded 4,503,450 total cases and 106,282 deaths.

The World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, during a virtual press briefing on July 1, said, “The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level.

“More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy.”

Punch

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