Nigeria

Covid-19: Nigeria studying Russia’s claim of vaccine —FG

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By Chioma Obinna, Omeiza Ajayi & Gabriel Olawale

The federal government said, yesterday, it was currently studying the claims of Russia to a vaccine for Coronavirus.

This is even as Nigeria, in recent weeks, for the first time, recorded no fatality to COVID-19, a development government said should not be misinterpreted to mean that the virus has been defeated.

While it urged caution and restraint on the part of the populace, the Federal government said there were currently over 1, 000 on going vaccine trials globally.

It announced that it was studying developments regarding claims of a new vaccine, Sputnik-V,  by Russia.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this during the Task Force daily briefing in Abuja, yesterday, said 13,844 of the 14,906 Nigerians so far evacuated have undergone COVID-19 tests, while 684 of them tested positive.

Government also decried the resurgence in the number of healthcare workers coming down with the virus, saying it has taken concrete steps to mitigate the trend.

Studying Russian claims

On Russia’s claim of vaccine discovery, Mustapha said:  “Globally, the world continues to pursue the search for a vaccine with over 1000 trials on-going and different claims of levels of success.

“We note particularly, the announcement by the President of Russia on the breakthrough in the development of a vaccine, even as we study the developments.”

A day without fatality

The SGF, who announced that no fatality was recorded on Wednesday, was, however, quick to concede that the battle was far from being won.

He said:   “The PTF wishes to note as we have done before that fewer numbers of confirmed cases have been recorded in the last two weeks. This should never be misconstrued as victory over the virus.

‘’There is still a serious battle to be fought ahead of us as a people and as a country. It is, important, therefore, that we continue to build on our successes and not do anything to detract from them.’’

Fighting the pandemic successfully will take a global effort and Nigeria will not be left out whenever and where ever progress is made. However, the health and safety of Nigerians will always remain our priority in the pursuit of a solution.

“It might interest you to note that of the 14,906 evacuees received during this COVID-19 pandemic, close to 80% are youths for which we are glad that only 684 tested positive to coronavirus of the 13,844 so far tested.

‘’In the coming days, we hope to receive more evacuees from different parts of the world. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this.”

Infection of healthcare workers

The Minister of State, Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, lamented the spike in the infection of healthcare workers, saying the ministry had taken steps to halt the trend.

He said: “We are concerned by the resurgence of infection in healthcare workers. In a bid to sustain the gains we have made in reducing the rate of infection among our health workers, we have embarked on training and retraining of health workers on infection prevention and control.

“In Abia State, we have concluded the training of 594 Healthcare Workers from private and public health facilities on infection prevention and control. We are currently investigating healthcare associated infection in a health facility in Kaduna State.

‘’Lessons learned from this will be used to improve service delivery. I encourage our health workers not to drop their guards as the pandemic is still with us. Use your PPEs appropriately and judiciously. We have ensured that PPEs are available in all our health facilities.”

The minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said when the PTF evaluates all the necessary data before it, it would inform its decision as to when to fully reopen tertiary institutions and others.

He reiterated the appeal of some stakeholders for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to “give a moratorium as to strike actions for the next three years so that the Nigerian university system can rebuild itself before they start further agitations.

“We are working with science and data and when the country is ready to reopen, I do not believe that ASUU will be unreasonable or illogical about resuming.

‘’They have over 10,000 professors out of nearly 65,000 lecturers and I am almost confident that they would know as well as we do that the children need to go back to school as long as we are ready.’’

Vanguard

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