The number of people suffering from COVID-19 in the country rose to 51 on Wednesday from 18 on Thursday last week.
The National Centre for Disease Control, on its Twitter page on Wednesday morning said, “Two new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: One in Lagos and One in Osun. Both cases are returning travellers to Nigeria in the last 7 days. As of 7am 25th March, there are 46 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria. Two have been discharged with one death.”
At 11:25pm, it said the cases had increased to 51. “Five new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: Two in the Federal Capital Territory, two in Lagos and one in Rivers State. Three are returning travellers into Nigeria and two are close contacts of a confirmed case. As of 11:25pm, 25th March, there are 51 confirmed cases, two discharged, one death,” it stated in its Twitter handle.
The centre had on Tuesday said there were 44 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Giving a breakdown of the 44 cases, it said there were eight in Abuja, one in Bauchi State, one in Edo State, one in Ekiti State, 29 in Lagos State and three in Ogun State.
The spread of the COVID-19 and possible contact with infected persons have made prominent Nigerians to go into self-isolation.
Those who have gone into self-isolation include the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki; an industrialist and founder, Eleganza Group of companies, Chief Razaq Okoya; as well as a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba.
The Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Okauru, has also gone into isolation.
Osoba, Okoya, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun and his wife, Bamidele; a veteran musician, Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi; a popular businesswoman, Bola Shagaya and other prominent Nigerians attended the 80th birthday of the Nigerian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, on March 10, 2020.
Osoba, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said it was true that two people, who attended the party, had died, but stated that unnecessary alarm was being raised.
On Tuesday, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and three of his aides became the first set of prominent Nigerians, who tested positive for the virus.
Both of them had two weeks ago returned from Germany, where they might have contracted the disease.
Kyari and the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, had on March 9 in Germany met with Siemens officials over an electricity supply agreement signed with the company.
The news of diagnosis of Kyari and Mohammed triggered fear among ministers and governors, who mingled with them at the Federal Executive Council meeting on March 17 and the National Executive Council meeting on March 18.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, top Presidential Villa officials and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who had contact with Kyari went into isolation on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, disclosed that Osinbajo tested negative for coronavirus.
Taking to his Twitter handle, @Babafemi ojudu, he tweeted, “Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo tests negative.”
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, confirmed that the Vice-President tested negative.
Fayemi, Obaseki, NGF DG in self-isolation
The NGF Chairman, Fayemi, said that he had gone into self-isolation having been exposed to two people who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
He also said he had been tested for COVID-19 and urged other governors to do the same.
Fayemi urges other govs to take COVID-19 test
Fayemi, on Twitter handle @kfayemi said, “I just took a COVID-19 test, having gone into self-isolation since yesterday (Tuesday) evening. I’m asymptomatic and feel well, but I was in meetings with two people who had since tested positive. I have encouraged all my colleagues to take the test.”
Obaseki has also gone into self-isolation and sent his blood sample for COVID-19 test.
His Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, in a statement said Obaseki’s action was because of his contact with the Bauchi State governor and the Chief of Staff to the President.
He said, “The governor has gone into self-isolation after the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, tested positive for coronavirus.
“Osagie state that the governor had met Mohammed at the NGF and the National Economic Council meetings.
Also, the NGF Director-General, Mr Asishana Okauru, said he, his wife and his entire household had gone into self-isolation and would be undergoing coronavirus test.
In a statement in Abuja Okauru said the self-isolation was as a result of his exposure to Mohammed.
He also said all members of NGF secretariat that were exposed to the governor during the last NGF meeting would be observing self-isolation. He encouraged all those who were invited to the NGF meeting for presentations to also do same.
“All members of NGF secretariat that were exposed will be observing self-isolation. We encourage all those who were invited to the NGF meetings for presentations to also do same. By our actions, we hope to encourage others who are exposed and not sure of their status to undergo self-isolation and make themselves available for the test, where applicable,” he stated.
After Justice Oguntade’s birthday party in London Okoya, Osoba go into self-isolation
Chief Demola Seriki, a son-in-law to the founder of Eleganza Group of companies, Chief Razaq Okoya, confirmed this to The PUNCH on Wednesday that the industrialist had gone into self-isolation. Seriki however, said Okoya tested negative for COVID-19.
Seriki, who is a former Minister of State for Defence, said indeed Okoya attended the 80th birthday party of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, on March 10, 2020.
However, speaking to The PUNCH Seriki said, “It is true that Chief Okoya and many others attended the birthday anniversary of Justice Oguntade in London two weeks ago.
“Since the news emerged that two people who attended the party died of coronavirus, Chief Okoya has done a test and he was negative. He is, however, in self-isolation.”
Also Osoba said he arrived in Nigeria on Thursday last week and went into self-isolation as prescribed by the Lagos State Government.
Osoba, who said there was no cause for alarm, stated that at 81 if the virus was in his body it would have manifested because the party took place 15 days ago.
It’s true two people who attended Justice Oguntade birthday party had died –Osoba
Responding to a question, he said, “Yes, I was at the party and it is true that two people had died but a lot of unnecessary alarm is being raised, although, I sympathise with the families of those who died.
It doesn’t follow they contracted COVID-19 at the party –Osoba
“It does not follow that they contracted the virus at the party, they probably might have been carrying it in their bodies and manifested soon after the party.
“But I was there and the party took place 15 days ago and if there is any virus in my body it should have manifested by now. I came back last Thursday almost a week today and as I landed I granted an interview to TVC at the airport, considering the action that the Lagos State Government has been taken, I announced that I will be going into self- isolation immediately.
“I have been in self-isolation since I returned from the UK and I have had no symptom, no cough, no fever nor itches in my throat and I have been keeping to the rules as given by the government of Lagos State that all of us who arrived from abroad should isolate ourselves for 14 days.
I can’t confirm my status –Dele Momodu
Also, Ovation Publisher, Dele Momodu, who attended the birthday party, said he could not confirm his status as doctors refused to administer the test on him since he had shown no symptoms of the disease.
He tweeted, “I have been inundated with phone calls and a deluge of messages regarding an 80th birthday celebration that I attended in London recently.
“It now appears that at least one person who was believed to have had the COVID-19 attended the party and he has subsequently died as a result of complications arising from the disease and/or other underlying conditions.
“As soon as the news broke, I immediately made arrangements yesterday night to have myself tested for the virus although I have not exhibited any of the symptoms associated with the virus.
“I called a senior Lagos State official and was informed by the relevant authorities that since I had not shown any symptoms in 14 days after the London party,” no test was necessary.
Some others that attended the birthday party include: Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and his wife; wife of a former Governor of Lagos State, Abimbola Fashola; and Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, wife of the immediate past Lagos governor.
A real estate guru, Olu Okeowo; Mrs. Sade Okoya, Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh, and his wife; the All Progressives Congress chieftain, Mrs Kemi Nelson; Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola; a former Lagos Deputy Governor, Sarah Sosan; and Senator Lanre Tejuosho.
The wife of the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Aisha Bichi; Iyalode of Lagos, Bintu Tinubu and former Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and wife.
A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maj.Gen Ike Nwachukwu (retired), and wife; comedian Tee A, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs Hajo Sani; and socialite, Mrs. Nkiru Anumudu; were also at the party.
Okeowo, in a statement on Wednesday said, “If we want to live to be 80, we should stop putting octogenarians in derision. I was at the occasion and I gladly played the organ to celebrate an old friend who has been there for me forever. I am alive and so are my wife and son. And today is day 14 (after the incident).”
I isolated myself –Bola Shagaya
On her part, Shagaya said, “When I came back (from the event), I isolated myself for some days to observe if I would show any symptoms. But after few days without any sign of fever or cough, I came out (of isolation).
Abiodun, wife test negative after London party
Meanwhile, Governor Abiodun and his wife, Bamidele, who attended the birthday party in London few weeks ago, have tested negative.
Abiodun’s wife, who spoke through her press officer, Kemi Oyeleye, said her husband and herself attended the party in London and had subjected themselves to coronavirus test after their arrival.
Oyeleye, who spoke with The PUNCH on the phone said she was directed to tell The PUNCH that there was no cause for alarm.
Oyeleye said, “The party was 15 days ago but the period of manifestation of the virus is 14 days. When she returned, both she and her husband were tested and since then she has had no ailment.
“Even till now none of them has any symptom of the virus and the result of the test has come out negative. She said I should tell you this. And from my observation the way she was talking, she is hale and hearty.”
Doctors obtain Abba Kyari’s medical records from British hospital
The PUNCH learnt that doctors attending to Kyari had obtained his medical records from Wellington Hospital, St. John’s Wood, London.
Kyari, it was learnt, had some other ailments which could hamper his rate of recovery from Covid19.
A source at the Ministry of Health said, “From the information at my disposal, chief’s medical records have been sent via email from Wellington Hospital where he goes for his check-up and also gets his treatment.
“He has some other health conditions which will be kept confidential. We are hoping for the best.”
The Wellington Hospital which is located in North London, is the largest independent hospital in the UK. It offers cardiac services, neurosurgery, liver and HBP medicine, rehabilitation, gynaecology, orthopaedics and other services, according to Wikipedia.
Recall that Kyari was in December 2016 flown from Nigeria to London on emergency and was attended to at Wellington Hospital.
Take coronavirus seriously, Bauchi gov warns from isolation
Meanwhile, Bauchi State governor on Wednesday urged Nigerians to take the virus seriously.
The governor stated this while replying a message sent to him by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
An aide to the former Speaker, Turaki Hassan, shared his principal’s message to the Governor and also his response on his Facebook page.
Dogara’s aide quoted him as saying: “My brother, Governor Bala Mohammed, I have tried unsuccessfully to reach you after hearing of the devastating news.
“You, Mallam Abba Kyari and all those affected are in our prayers. May God take control and bring healing like he has done for many. Wishing you all quick recovery.”
In response, Mohammed advised the state residents and Nigerians to take the pandemic seriously and follow medical advice as well as government directives.
No fewer than 27 people in the state have been placed on compulsory self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days to determine their coronavirus status.
This was disclosed by the Disease Control Unit of the Ministry of Health in the state in a circular obtained by The PUNCH.
Osun index case, a UK returnee, says govt
More facts on Wednesday emerged about a man, who tested positive in Osun State. The state government said the index case in the state was a United Kingdom returnee.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, in an interview with The PUNCH said the man reported himself as soon as he arrived in the state, and was immediately subjected to test.
Oyetola, wife test negative, 20 Osun judges in isolation
He confirmed that 20 judges from the state, who had attended an event in the United Arab Emirates, upon their return to the state, had gone into self-isolation.
Isamotu said, “The case was self-reported, because he wanted to be sure he had not contracted the virus. The man said he would not want to go home, to avoid infecting his family with it.”
Also, the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, said because of their travel history, he and his wife had subjected themselves to test and the result had returned negative.
Edo Speaker is first index case
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Mr Frank Okiye, was on Wednesday confirmed as the first index case of coronavirus earlier announced on Monday.
The state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who disclosed this at a press conference in Benin, also confirmed that Obaseki had also gone into isolation.
Shaibu said Okiye who travelled to the United Kingdom, came back and went straight into self-isolation at the Irrua Specialist Hospital, Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State.
“He sent his sample for testing and the test came back positive. He is in a stable condition and his family members have been tested and the tests came back negative”, the Edo deputy governor stated.
Power minister refused to go into self-isolation –Electricity workers
Nigerian electricity workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, threatened to shut down the power sector over alleged refusal of the Minister of Power to go into self-isolation after his return from Germany and Egypt.
The union also warned other employers in the sector that it would withdraw services if they failed to provide adequate precautionary measures to protect staff in the sector against COVID-19.
The General Secretary of the union, Joe Ajaero, who said this added that the minister would be held responsible if any employee of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, especially those at the headquarters in Abuja contracted the coronavirus.
When contacted to speak on claims by the electricity union that Mamman might spread the coronavirus to workers at his ministry, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Communications, Aaron Artimas, said his boss had not been in office.
He said, “He has not made contact with any member of staff and has not seen anybody in the ministry, either his own direct staff or outsiders. He has also not received visitors.”
Nasarawa gov goes into isolation
The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has also gone into isolation. The Director, Strategic Communications and Press Affairs to the governor, Mr. Yakubu Lamai, in a statement said, “This is to inform the general public that His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi A. Sule of Nasarawa State, has taken the precautionary measure to self- isolate and work from home so as to reduce exposure to the COVID -19 . Sule had earlier invited the medical team to conduct comprehensive tests on his person and obtain samples. All results so far show that he is negative.
Sule held meetings at the Presidential Villa last week where he was said to have come in contact with Kyari.
Ganduje bars luxury buses from entering Kano
On its part, the Kano State Government has suspended all luxury buses from entering the commercial city of Kano.
The Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Salisu Tanko Yakasai, stated this in a statement on Wednesday.
The state government explained that it adopted the measure to curb the spread of the disease in view of the high number of passengers of the buses.
Rivers close air, land, sea borders
The Rivers State Government said it would close its air sea and land borders with effect from Thursday.
The State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who made this announcement in a state broadcast on Wednesday, said the move was to further check the spread of coronavirus to the state.
The governor, who had earlier announced the closure of the biggest market in Port Harcourt (Oil Mill Market), added that the move became necessary after security agents, who were acting on a tip-off, prevented an infected person from boarding a flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Bello orders closure of land borders, waterways in Kogi
Also, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has ordered the closure of all entry points into the state.
Bello disclosed this in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, on Wednesday.
Bello also ordered the suspension of all social, cultural and religious activities in the state adding that essential activities must not have a crowd beyond 5 persons.
Commercial motorcycle operators, according to the statement, are to suspend their operations with effect from Thursday.
He also said civil servants at Grade Level 1-13, except those on specified essential services (medical personnel, revenue officers, law enforcement) should remain at home.
He added, “Tricycle (keke) operators may carry only one (1) passenger at a time and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“Regular 4-wheeled taxis may carry only three (3) passengers at a time (1 in front and 2 behind) and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.”
Buses may carry only two (2) passengers per row of seats, subject to a maximum of 10 passengers per trip for any type of bus. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“All public areas, pubs and restaurants are limited to five customers at a time, seated apart in line with the social distancing guidelines. Operators and customers are advised to utilise delivery and takeaway options more during this period.”
“All transport companies, transport unions and terminal operators must keep a travel manifest for inbound and outbound passengers, especially verified phone numbers.”
The Lagos State Government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, said the state was not on lockdown.
According the commissioner, the impression created by such reports is erroneous; Lagos is not on lockdown despite the stringent measures introduced by the government.
Oyo to shut borders, orders sick workers to stay at home
The Oyo State Government said it might impose travel restrictions at its entry points as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority, Dr. Akin Fagbemi, gave the indication during an interview at the COVID-19 Situation Room in Ibadan.
Fagbemi said the state government would only allow essential travels into the state as travellers would be subjected to health checks.
Villa on partial lockdown –Presidency
The Presidency on Wednesday said Aso Rock Villa was on partial lockdown, a fallout of the raging coronavirus pandemic.
It explained that the entire country itself was on partial lockdown as part of measures introduced by the federal and state governments to contain the spread of the virus.
The Presidency also said it was the same reason that the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting was suspended till further notice.
A presidential media aide, Femi Adesina, told reporters in Abuja that things would continue to remain on a low key at the Villa for a while, but clarified that the place was not completely shut down.