*Lagos issues stay-at-home order on Civil Servants
*IGP orders social distance enforcement
By Emma Okereh and Hassan Zaggi
Even as the federal government locked down all the international airports in the country and announced new measures to contain the outbreak of Corona Virus pandemic, confirmed cases nationwide have reached 30 as at yesterday.
This is as global figures of affected cases have continued to rise with several African countries closing their borders and announcing stern measures, in addition to palliatives to cushion the negative effect of the pandemic.
The three new cases uncovered in Nigeria are in Lagos, according to Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Sunday evening.
“Three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Lagos. The two cases are returning travelers and one of them is a contact of a confirmed case.
“As at 05:28 pm on the 22nd of March, there are 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Two have been discharged with no deaths,” NCDC tweeted.
All the states in the country have stepped up the setting up of Emergency Quarantine and Treatment Centers, including issuing directory on social distance, and issues affecting religion, weddings, social activities, conferences and workshops as well as academics.
With the federal government announcing closure of all academic activities in the country, virtually all the educational institutions, both public and private, have announced dates for the closure of academic activities, which will all come to an end before the end of the current week.
The Lagos State Ministry of Health earlier gave an update on the new cases, saying that one of the three new patients is a 51-year-old Briton who arrived Nigeria on March 8th via British Airways, BA-75 flight.
The second patient, according to the state, is a Nigerian who returned on March 14 through a connecting flight; KL-0582 London-Amsterdam / KL-0587 Amsterdam–Lagos.
The third patient, it said, is a 65-year-old United States citizen who arrived in Lagos about six weeks ago, but has just tested positive to the virus.
Several measures have been put in place by the federal and state governments to stall the spread of the virus, including the washing of hands frequently with soap and water, and or use alchohol-based hand sanitizers.
The Lagos State Government also announced on Sunday that civil servants from Grade Levels 01 to GL-12 should stay at home for 14 days starting from today.
Of Nigeria’s 30 confirmed cases, two have been discharged, while no death has been reported from the disease.
A breakdown of the reported cases shows that Lagos still tops the chart with 22 cases; Abuja – 4, Ogun – 2, Ekiti – 1 and Oyo – 1.
Government agencies including the federal and state Ministries of Information, and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) have produced audio and video jingles through which they educate the public on what to do in case of emergency and as preventive measures. As at time of reporting, the virus has spread to all continents except Antarctica. At least a case of coronavirus has been reported in 188 countries, including Nigeria.
*Over 300,000 people affected globally
Reports have shown that as at yesterday, a total of 311,982 people have been infected, with 13,071 deaths reported and 95, 874 people reportedly recovered from the virus globally.
In China where the disease was first detected in Wuhan, in December, 2019, the cases have been slowing down and activities are gradually picking up.
As at Sunday, 81,054 infected cases have been reported in the country with 3,261 deaths.
Unlike in China, Europe has become the new epicentre of the virus globally, with about five countries in the continent accounting for more than one-third of the total number of confirmed cases and over half the total deaths globally.
Italy, the worst hit, has 53,578 infected cases with 4,825 deaths. Spain reported 28, 572 cases with 1,381 deaths, Germany, 22,364 cases with 84 deaths and France 14,459 cases and 562 deaths.
Cases in the U.S. have continued to soar, rising to more than 25,000 over the weekend.
As at Sunday morning, 26,900 cases had been reported with 348 deaths. The US now has the fourth highest numbers of cases.
Across the African continent, although with the least recorded cases, Egypt still tops the chart with 294 cases and 10 deaths. It is closely followed by South Africa with 240 cases, but no death yet. Algeria has the highest recorded deaths with 139 cases confirmed.
Other African countries like Rwanda, Cameron, Ghana Morocco, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Senegal Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo have some reported cases.
*IGP orders social distance enforcement
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) nationwide to ensure that all social restriction orders in pursuant to the containment efforts of the Covid-19 are strictly enforced within their areas of jurisdiction.
He gave the directive in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Frank Mba, in Abuja, Sunday.
The IGP however appealed to citizens to voluntarily adhere to the social restriction orders without necessarily being forced to do so.
He further warned against unnecessary arrests and detention of suspects.
The IGP also instructed that “arrests 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 cautioned against unnecessary social visits to police stations and other police offices and directed that official visits be minimised, except when absolutely necessary.
“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,” Mba said.
Meanwhile, the Force Medical Services was directed to step up sensitization programmes across commands, formations and barracks in the country.