Zamfara fumes as PTF lists five COVID-19 high-risk states

Published February 2, 2021

• Lagos leads as task force identifies 22 high- burden LGAs

Olalekan Adetayo , Friday Olokor , Adelani Adepegba , Leke Baiyewu and Maiharaji Altine

The Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 has warned Nigerians against going to five states in the northern part of Nigeria , especially Kogi , as it has been unable to confirm the level of spread of the pandemic in the states.
Besides Kogi , other states mentioned by the task force were Yobe , Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi .
The PTF also named 22 local government areas spread across 13 states which he said constituted over 95 per cent of infection rates in the country and had been classified as high- burdened .
The National Coordinator of the PTF , Dr Sani Aliyu, made this known at the media briefing by the task force on Monday .
But in its reactions , Zamfara State Government kicked against the PTF ’s statement , saying the state was COVID – 19 free .
Aliyu, who was represented by the National Incident Manager, PTF , Dr Muktar Mohammed, said the task force had analysed the epidemic in the country and identified 22 high-burdened LGAs located within 13 states.
Mohammed listed the states and local governments to include Nkanu-West , Enugu; Abuja Municipal Area Council and Gwagwalada, FCT ; Gombe , Gombe ; Chikun , Kaduna-North and Kaduna South , Kaduna; Nassarawa , Kano ; Katsina , Katsina; Ilorin – South , Ilorin -West , Kwara ; Eti- Osa, Ikeja , Kosofe , Lagos Mainland ; Keffi and Lafia , Nasarawa; Ibadan – North Oyo ; Jos – North , Jos -South , Plateau ; Port -Harcourt , Rivers ; and Wamako , Sokoto.
He said, “ These local government areas which are mostly in the cities or the state capitals contribute over 95 per cent of the epidemic, particularly new cases in the country .
“ The states include Nasarawa, which has both Lafia and Keffi ; Plateau , Jos -North and Jos -South ; Rivers , which is Port Harcourt ; Katsina; Sokoto; Kaduna, both Kaduna-North , Kaduna-South and Chikun LGAs ; about five local government areas in Lagos ; FCT , AMAC and Gwagwalada ; Enugu ; Gombe ; Kano ; Kwara , Ilorin -South and Ilorin -North .
“ These LGAs , as I mentioned , contribute over 95 per cent of the new cases that have been recorded in the last six weeks .”
Speaking on the high-risk states, Aliyu said, “ In addition to this , we have states where data are not coming forth . If you don ’t test , your data will not be analysed. If your data is not analysed, we won ’t know the level of the epidemic in your state.
“ Notable among the states that have not been reporting adequately are Yobe , Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi ; and of course, Kogi State that has not been reporting at all .
“ States that are not testing are probably at much higher risk than the states that currently we are as high-burdened states. A state that is not testing at all is at absolute high risk for Nigerians to go there because there is no testing facility .”
The PTF also said the second batch of travellers to be placed on six -month travel ban would be announced this week .
Nigeria expects 16 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccine this month
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency , Faissasl Shuaib, disclosed that Nigeria is expecting 16 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccine this month.
This, he said, would replace the 100 ,000 Pfizer vaccine earlier been expected.
Shuaib said, “ The African Union Commission through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team portfolio has approved approximately 41 m doses of a combination of Pfizer /BioNTech , AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson COVID -19 vaccines in March/ April 2021 .
“ Furthermore , the COVAX facility has informed us that they will be supplying Nigeria with approximately 16 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccine this month.
“ This will replace the earlier communicated 100 , 000 doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which was grossly inadequate. ”
75 health workers contract COVID – 19
The Director – General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu , said 75 health workers contracted the coronavirus last week , while the nation recorded 27 deaths from the disease in a single day .
Ihekweazu urged the health workers to maintain “ a high index of suspicion at all times. ”
Ihekweazu stated, “ Last week , we recorded 27 deaths in a single day . Every death recorded is a tragic occurrence and our health workers are working extremely hard to prevent these .
“ In the last one week , 75 health care workers were infected but we can reduce this risk . For healthcare workers , please maintain a high index of suspicion at all times. We need you alive and well ,” the DG noted.
Ihekweazu revealed that the United Kingdom variant of the virus has been discovered in five samples from Osun State and one from Kwara State .
He noted, “ In total , we have detected the B . 1 .1 . 7 variant in seven cases within Nigeria . This could imply community transmission of this variant of concern .”
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that 43 ,732 new cases were identified in January, accounting for more than a third of all cases since the first confirmed case in Nigeria in February 2020 .
He added that 297 deaths were recorded in January with a case fatality rate of 0. 7 per cent against a cumulative case fatality rate of 1. 2 per cent .
Nigeria allocated over 41 million doses by the AU ’ s task team
The minister added , “ Nigeria has been allocated over 41 million doses by the AU ’ s African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team AVATT and we can expect 15 of about 42 million doses from COVAX.
“ Altogether , it will give us coverage for over 50 percent of our target for 2021 , if we can access all doses promised .”
Only two firms have submitted vaccine dossiers to NAFDAC
The minister disclosed that only two companies have so far submitted the dossiers of their vaccines to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control as required .
He said , “ NAFDAC is the approving agency for all vaccines that will be used in Nigeria and this approval is required and must be sought before importation .
“ Till date, only two companies have submitted the dossiers of their vaccines to NAFDAC , where the evaluation is ongoing .
“ Vaccines without NAFDAC certification are illegal and may be dangerous , in the light of fake vaccines said to be already in circulation in parts of Europe . ”
The Chairman of PTF , Boss Mustapha , said the task force has received reports of new testing regime and charges being imposed by some airlines.
Describing the development as inimical to the interest of Nigerians , he promised that it would be addressed through the appropriate channels .
Our samples are returning negative – Zamfara
However, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Health, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed Kanoma debunked the claim by the NCDC that the state had stopped testing people for coronavirus , saying that, “ We are still sending blood samples to Abuja for the test ” .
Speaking to The PUNCH , the commissioner said “ We send blood samples of the suspected coronavirus cases to Abuja because of lack of testing centres in the state .
He maintained that the results were always found negative , adding that “ since the outbreak of the pandemic , Zamfara State recorded only 112 cases . ”
He challenged anybody who was thinking that the state was hiding the coronavirus cases to come to the state and do the testing to see if he could trace anybody with the desease .
Security agencies ’ ll enforce jail term against COVID -19 violators – PTF
Also, Mustapha called on the states to set up appropriate structures and systems for COVID -19 regulation enforcement .
He also said all the nation ’s security agencies had been briefed to ensure the enforcement of the “ Coronavirus Disease ( COVID – 19 ) Health Protection Regulations 2021 ” signed into law by the President .
He said, “ The PTF strongly appeals to all sub -national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities . They are therefore required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement .
“ The PTF will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of this public health emergency because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states.
“ The PTF also wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments ( including jail terms and fines ) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the regulations . All law enforcement agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits . ”

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