Home / Health / COVID-19: Nigeria has 111 cases; New York 32,308; Buhari hails DG NCDC, Ihekweazu; WHO says it’s not airborne, advises Africa; Tinubu donates N200m 

COVID-19: Nigeria has 111 cases; New York 32,308; Buhari hails DG NCDC, Ihekweazu; WHO says it’s not airborne, advises Africa; Tinubu donates N200m 

By Abujah Racheal/ Oluwafunke Ishola/ Harrison Arubu/ Ismaila Chafe/ Cecilia Ologunagba

Abuja, March 29, 2020
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday night confirmed 14 new cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria, with nine reported in Lagos State and five in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The NCDC, through its verified Twitter account, said that as at 9:30p.m, there were 111 confirmed cases of COVID19 pandemic reported in Nigeria with one death recorded.
It said “currently, Lagos has 68; Abuja- 21, Ogun– Three, Ekiti– one, Oyo– Seven, Osun- Two , Enugu– Two, Edo– Two, Bauchi-Two, while Benue, Kaduna and Rivers have one case respectively.
The cases reported were from travelers who have just returned to the country.
“Other cases were from people who have come in contact with infected people,” NCDC said.
Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO), said “there are 3,956 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 46 countries on the African continent with a total of 248 recoveries and 111 deaths reported.”
Meanwhile, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of NCDC, told NAN in Abuja, that the centre was working hard to expand its testing capacity for COVID19 pandemic in the country.
Ihekweazu said that currently there were six Molecular functional laboratories in the country with the capacity to test for COVID19 and the Lassa fever outbreak.
“We aim to scale up to 13 laboratories in the next three weeks. In progress are : Abakaliki, Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, Port-Harcourt, Jos and Kaduna State,” he said.
Ihekweazu noted that the laboratories would assist other response activities, thereby reducing the numbers of deaths.
The NCDC director-general said that the laboratories would also provide diagnostic support for a number of states in the country.
He noted that it would be critical to reducing turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.
Ihekweazu, however, disclosed that no Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits for the COVID19 pandemic have been validated and approved for sale.

By Harrison Arubu
New York, March 29, 2020
New York on Sunday announced 3,250 new cases and 161 deaths from the coronavirus disease within 24 hours.
Data released by the state Department of Health shows that the number of patients rose by 10.4 per cent from 29,158 on Saturday to 32,308 as of 9.30a.m. on Sunday.
Similarly, the number of deaths jumped from 517 on Saturday to 678 on Sunday, representing a 31.1 per cent increase, according to the information.
A breakdown of the figures by Boroughs (Local Governments) shows that Queens is the hardest-hit with no fewer than 10,373 cases and 219 deaths.
Brooklyn followed with 8,451 infections and 168 fatalities; Bronx third with 6,145 confirmed cases and 153 deaths.
Manhattan followed with 5,438 infections and 94 deaths, while Staten Island is the least affected borough with 1,866 infections and 43 deaths.
New York is the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., which in turn is currently the global hotspot with no fewer than 135,738 cases and 2,391 deaths as of Sunday afternoon.

BY Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, March 29, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu for his efforts to protect and safeguard the lives of Nigerians and residents from the deadly Coronavirus.
The President made the commendation in a broadcast over the Coronavirus pandemic in Abuja on Sunday.
President Buhari particularly noted the patriotic efforts of Ihekweazu when he attended a meeting organised by World Health organisation (WHO) in China amid the ravaging Coronavirus disease in that country.
He said: ”Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach.
”I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.
”Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized.”
President Buhari expressed appreciation to the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as the nation development partners towards addressing the menace of the Coronavirus in the country.
He, therefore, requested that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending.
According to the President, the Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.
By Cecilia Ologunagba

Abuja, March 29, 2020
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the message spreading on social media that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is airborne in incorrect.
The WHO headquarters in Geneva explained this in its official twitter account @WHO.
The agency said the virus that causes COVID-19 was mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.
“These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
“You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within one meter of a person who has COVID-19.
“You can be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.’’
It, however, advised people to protect themselves by practicing physical distancing.
“To protect yourself, keep at least one meter distance from others and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently.
“Regularly clean your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose’’
According to the agency, drinking alcohol does not protect people against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.
“Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems,’’ WHO warned.

By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos, March 29, 2020
The WHO also said that holding breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not mean an individual is free from the COVID-19
In a statement on Sunday WHO said that the best way to confirm if an individual has the virus was through a laboratory test
“You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous,” WHO said.
It added that evidence had shown that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in all areas, including areas with hot and humid weather.
“Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.
“The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands.
“By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose,” it said.
The health agency noted that taking a hot bath does not prevent COVID-19, adding that normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of the bath or shower.
“Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you,” it said
It stresses that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites, saying there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.
“The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
“To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing,” it said.
WHO warned that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body would not kill viruses that have already entered the body, adding that spraying such substances could be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes like eyes and mouth.
It added that both alcohol and chlorine could be useful to disinfect surfaces, noting that the use should be under appropriate recommendations.
By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja, March 29, 2020
The WHO also advised Africans to practice physical distancing as much as possible to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19).
The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville gave the advice on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO.
The agency emphasised that people should practice physical distancing, saying “this means avoiding non-essential travel and crowded public transport if possible.
“Wash your hands before and after using public transport.
“Wash your hands after touching surfaces, handles or money on public transport.
“Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19.’’
Meanwhile, the agency said that no fewer than 46 countries in Africa had reported COVID-19 as at Saturday, March 28.
“There are 3,778 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 46 countries on the African continent with a total of 109 deaths reported.
“South Africa currently has 1,170 cases, making it the country most affected by the virus on the continent.’’

By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, March 29, 2020
In Lagos, the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu donated N200 million to support the current effort of the Federal Government towards curbing the spread of Corona Virus or Covid-19 in the country.
Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, stated on his twitter handle on Sunday, that the donation would go to the Lagos State Government and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to battle the scourge in the country.
He said that if not for the coronavirus disease, his annual birthday celebration, which was often accompanied by a colloquium, would have been held as was done in the last 12 years.
”We could not do so this year but by God’s grace we will do so again.
”The circumstances this year prevent us from gathering together to celebrate my birthday, but I would still like to mark the occasion.
”That is why I have chosen today to announce that I will be making a donation of N200 million to fight this deadly virus.
”In pursuant to this pledge, N100 million will be made available to the government of Lagos State and another N100 million to NCDC to support their efforts in fighting the scourge of COVID-19
”Together, we will overcome this disease,” Tinubu said.

By Abujah Racheal
Abuja, March 29, 2020
In another development, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), has scaled up its capacity to conduct tests for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kaduna and Kano states.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made this known on Sunday on Channels Television, Programme “Politics Today”, while, speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria..
The FMOH also said it will upgrade its laboratories in Oyo, Ebonyi and Borno, to ensure prompt case management of epidemic and pandemic outbreaks in the country.
NAN, reports that Nigeria had earlier set up five Molecular laboratories with this capacity.
These are located in the NCDC’s National Reference laboratory, Abuja, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Redeemers University Nigeria, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos
Ehanire disclosed that the Virology Laboratory of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, has now been added to the five functional Molecular laboratories in the country.
He said that the six molecular laboratories have the capacities to detect the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic outbreak.
He noted that this would ensure prompt case management of COVID-19 pandemic outbreaks in the country.
“We do targeted testing majorly. Targeted testing helps us to be more focused .We want to be as fast as possible in curtailing the spread,” he said.
He disclosed that the government would be collaborating with a private laboratory in Kaduna state to enable the state to also test for the virus.
Ehanire said that samples from cases that meet the case definition would be collected by the State Epidemiology Team, and transported through a defined process from the state to one of the testing laboratories.
“The inclusion of more laboratories will increase the capacity to detect cases in the country,” he noted..
He, however disclosed that a Molecular laboratory in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state would soon be set up and would also have the capacity to test for COVID-19
The minister said that each laboratory would continue to provide diagnostic support for a defined number of states in the country.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that the restriction of movement in Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory, was necessary to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

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