Tag: COVID-19

Tag: COVID-19

FG waives import duties for medical supplies, orders Customs to expedite clearing

The waiver is expected to strengthen the health system in the country, and support the efforts of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control in combatting the pandemic.

To address the shortage of medical supplies during the fight against COVID-19, the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved a waiver of import duties on all medical equipment and supplies into the country.

The details: The waiver is expected to strengthen the health system in the country, and support the efforts of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control in combatting the pandemic.

This was announced by Tolu Ogunlesi, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital/New Media. He tweeted earlier today:

BREAKING | Minister of @FinMinNigeria: President @MBuhari has approved a blanket waiver of import duties for medical equipment and supplies, as part of @NigeriaGov’s efforts to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the #COVID19 pandemic.
12:29 PM · May 5, 2020

To effect this immediately, President Muhammadu Buhari has also ordered the Nigerian Customs Service to fastrack the clearing of all medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals.

“In addition to the Import Waiver, President Buhari has directed the Nigerian Customs to implement expedited clearing of all imported healthcare equipment and medical and pharmaceutical supplies” the tweet read.

This waiver now joins the lists of other fiscal stimulus policies that the government has introduced to checkmate the economic implications of the pandemic. However, there was no mention of how long these waivers would last.(READ MORE: What FG told IMF on flexible, unified exchange rate)

FG Waives import duties for medical supplies, Orders Customs to expedite clearing
The backstory: It should be recalled that the Minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, had earlier mentioned that the government would not reduce taxes for any company importing essential medical supplies. Instead, the government would waive their import duties and support them to freight their cargoes, in view of the broken supply chain across the globe.

Source: Nairametrics.com

The Chronicles Of Covid-19 In Nigeria

May 5: Cases hit 2,802, Buhari waives medical import tax
By close of day, May 4; case count had reached 2,802 according to the NCDC. The discharged was at 417 with 93 deaths. The figure represented 245 new cases.

A breakdown of which was as follows: Lagos 37-Katsina 32-Jigawa 23-Kano 19-FCT 18-Borno 10-Edo 9-Bauchi 6-Adamawa 5-Oyo 5-Ogun 1-Ekiti 1-Osun 1-Benue 1-Niger 1-Zamfara.

Local media reports that President Buhari has also waived import duty on all medical supplies. The blanket waiver on equipment and supplies is part of government’s “efforts to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pndemic.”

Before now, importers had only been granted tax reliefs as announced by the Finance Minister who weeks back said government was liaising with stakeholders in the area.

This is the latest on a list of fiscal policies by the federal government to cushion the industry from the economic impact of the pandemic.

May 4: Relaxation of lockdown starts, Kano deaths explained
The easing of a federal lockdown on Lagos, capital Abuja and Ogun states. The government says the reopening of the economy will span over a six-week period.

The next two weeks will determine whether or not the process will be continued or reversed in Africa’s most populous nation and its biggest economy.

Some key guidelines issued with respect to public places include: Mandatory wearing of face masks, adherence to temperature checks, strict handwashing and use of sanitizers, observance of physical distancing and ban on public gathering.

Passenger flights remain prohibited as are interstate travel, governors last month agreed on the latter. Neighbourhood markets are to open thrice a week between 8 am and 3 pm.

Banks and financial institutions, category of government offices and corporate sector will also operate between 8 am and 2 pm. Schools, places of worship, clubs, bars and gardens are to remain closed.

Meanwhile mysterious deaths in Kano state have been linked to COVID-19 according to the Presidential task Force coordinating the pandemic response. Sani Gwarzo, national coordinator of the task force confirmed the link in an interview with journalists in Kano.

“We have five cogent reasons to say that the mass death recorded in Kano is associated with coronavirus.”

He listed a number of them as the age of the deceased persons, concentration of the people in one place and “test we have constructed which have element of COVID-19,” Sani Gwarzo, national coordinator of the Task Force told journalists in Kano.

He added that the final report would be ready in the next one week or few days, “it is necessary for people of Kano to wake up from their slumber that this is a serious issue.

“We need to know what is happening we are successful in identifying what the problems are and secondly we are happy on the level of cooperation the private sector and other stake holders. Many people have come out to support the state we cannot expand our investigation until we are certain,” he stressed.

With 170 new cases as of close of day May 3, Nigeria’s tally has reached 2,558 with 400 discharged and 87 deaths. Lagos has 1,107 cases with Kano’s 342 and Abuja’s 278 completing the top three. The closest to 100 mark is Gombe in fourth spot with 96 cases.

May 3: Ganduje relaxes Buhari’s lockdown, 2,388 cases so far
Kano State governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has announced the relaxing of a federal lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

As of April 27, when Buhari imposed imposed the total lockdown on the state, the principal reasons were to better understand a spate of “strange deaths” and containment of the rise in COVID-19 cases.

But on Saturday, Ganduje announced that there would be free movement in the state between 10am and 4pm on Mondays and Thursdays. He said all the major markets in the state would remain closed, except Ya’nkaba and Ya’nlemo markets where vegetables and fruits are sold.

It is not known whether the decision was in consultation with Abuja but the announcement has drawn the ire of social media users who are accusing the governor of being reckless and endangering the lives of people in the state and beyond.

Kano recorded one of its lowest figures by close of day May 2 with two cases out of the 220 recorded. The state remains second most impacted with 313 cases behind Lagos’ 10,68 and 266 in FCT.

The May 2 tallies stood at 2,388 confirmed cases, 385 discharged and 85 deaths. Kogi State remains the sole uninfected across the federation. Meanwhiles, plans are afoot for a strict implementation of a partial lockdown as announced by Buhari days ago.

“I have decided to put in place gradual easing of lockdown measures,” Buhari id in a much-anticipated television address. “We will implement a curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” President Buhari said.

“Inter-state borders will remain closed except for basic necessities (…). We will impose the wearing of masks in public places, as well as social distancing measures,” he added.

These new measures were not to apply to Kano, due to the “mysterious deaths” that are still being autopsied, and rise in cases.

Briefs of major daily developments and our COVID-19 blog on Nigeria has more information

May 3: Ganduje relaxes Buhari’s lockdown, 2,388 cases so far
May 2: Nigeria topples Ghana to become most impacted in West Africa
May 1: How Nigeria recorded about 1000 cases in a week
May 2: Nigeria tops tallies in West Africa, 5th on continent
Nigeria with tally of 2170 is the new leader in West Africa overtaking Ghana whose cases count stands at 2074. Nigeria also the second most impacted in sub-Saharan Africa and fifth overall on the continent.

As of close of day May 1, the NCDC reported 238 new cases, one of the highest daily tallies. The bul of the cases coming from Kano State. Kano’s 92 along with Abuja’s 36 and 30 from Lagos completed the top three infected states over a 24-hour period.

The number discharged rose by 32 now at 351 with 10 more deaths bringing the tally to 68. Lagos passed the 1000 infection mark whiles Kano’s stood at 311. Abuja, Gombe and Borno completed the top 5 with 214, 92 and 69 cases respectively.

Africa’s most impacted nations include:

South Africa = 5,951
Egypt = 5,895
Morocco = 4,569
Algeria = 4,154
Nigeria = 2,170

May 1: How Nigeria recorded about 1000 cases in a week
Nigeria as of April 23 was nearing the 1,000 confirmed cases point. Africa’s most populous nation’s tally at the time stood at 981. Roll on the next seven days and the country has seen almost a 1,000 new cases.

As of April 30, 2020; the NCDC record showed 1,932 cases with 58 deaths and 319 discharged patients. The current tally indicates a 951 increase since April 23. A breakdown of the increases over the period is as follows:

April 24 = 1,095
April 25 = 1,182
April 26 = 1,273
April 27 = 1,337
April 28 = 1,532
April 29 = 1,728
April 30 = 1,932
Kogi State being the only unaffected state so far. Kano State has meanwhile risen to second with 219 cases behind Lagos’ 976 cases. Nigeria is currently second most impacted in West Africa only second to Ghana, where over 2,000 cases have been recorded.

President Muhammadu Buhari announced Monday evening a gradual easing of confinement measures from 4 May, but will impose a night curfew and the wearing of masks.

April 23: Cases near 1,000; Buhari gets ECOWAS task
Total confirmed cases inched close to the 1,000 mark with 108 new cases reported by close of day April 23. Total confirmed cases now stand at 981.

78 of the new cases were recorded in Lagos, 14 in FCT, 5 in Ogun, 4 in Gombe, 3 Borno whiles Akwa Ibom, Kwara and Plateau recorded two, one, one respectively. Plateau becomes the latest state to be infected. Discharged tally stands at 197 with deaths at 31.

Kano state has had a two day no-case situation after a recent surge took it to number three on the national tally. Head of the presidential Task Force on Thursday disclosed that the NCDC had been instructed to coordinate necessary support for the state.

ECOWAS leaders on Thursday held a teleconference to discuss the impact of the virus on the region. Also present in the meeting was the ECOWAS commission chair and United Nations representative for West Africa and the Sahel.

April 23: Cases hit 873, governors ban inter-state travel
With 91 new cases of COVID-19 as of 11:25 pm 22nd April, Nigeria’s case count hit 873 confirmed cases. A break down of the new cases were as follows: 74 in Lagos, 5 in Katsina, 4 in Ogun. Two each in Delta and Edo states and one each in Kwara, Oyo, FCT and Adamawa. discharged persons were 197 with deaths at 28.

Governors have settled on a ban on inter-state movement for a period of two weeks as part of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. They arrived at the decision after a virtual meeting of their umbrella body, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) which held on Wednesday.

Ekiti Syaye governor and NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, said the action had been necessitated by the increasing evidence of community transmission of the virus.

April 22: El-Rufai tests negative, crisis as Kano testing halted
Kaduna State governor Nasir el Rufai was declared free from COVID-19 after two consecutive negative tests. “I am delighted to report today, that after nearly four weeks of observing a strict medical regime, I have now received the all-clear after two consecutive negative test results,” the Kaduna governor Twitter handle disclosed.

Affairs of the state government had been in the hands of his deputy over the period he was undergoing treatment. He appeared for a video meeting recently after rumours started spreading that he had been transferred to Lagos due to complications.

In neighboring Kano State which has in five days become the third most impacted state by way of infection, a report that the testing center had been closed due to lack of testing materials raised eyebrows in the country along with a series of mysterious deaths the government is probing.

April 22: Cases near 800, Buhari wants prisons decongested
117 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by close of day April 21 according to NCDC tallies. Of the figure, 59 in Lagos, 29 in FCT and 14 in Kano.

6 in Borno, 4 in Katsina, 3 in Ogun and one each in Rivers and Bauchi States. “As at 11:25 pm 21st April there are 782 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria,” NCDC said in a tweet. Discharged tally stood at 197 with 25 deaths.

President Buhari has meanwhile written to the chief justice asking that certain categories of cases be expedited to allow for decongestion of prisons in the light of the danger congestion presents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 21: Cases at 665, Kano climbing, Abba Kyari funeral gaffe apology
As at 11:10 pm 20th April there are 665 confirmed cases were reported with a total of thirty-eight new cases. The tally of which were as follows: 23 in Kano, 5 in Gombe, 3 in Kaduna, 2 each in Borno
and Abia and a case each in FCT, Sokoto and Ekiti. Discharged: 188, Deaths: 22.

Kano state thus becomes the new “poster boy” of the virus with a tally that stands at 59 behind FCT’s 89 and Lagos’ 376. The state is currently under lockdown as a measure to curtail spread of the virus, one death has so far been registered.

A media aide to the state governor bemoaned on Twitter how a section of the population continued to flout stay at home regulations. His post in Hausa indicated that the violators included the rich and poor alike.

April 20: Cases at 627, Borno records case, Adeboye’s prophecy
As at 11:50 pm 19th April there are 627 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria, the NCDC reported. The figure included eighty-six new cases from the previous figure of 541. The tally of discharged people stood at 170 with deaths at 21.

The new cases included 70 in Lagos, 7 in FCT, 3 in Katsina, 3 in Akwa Ibom, 1 in Jigawa, 1 in Bauchi and 1 in Borno. Jigawa and Borno becoming the latest states to record cases.

Meanwhile, a renowned preacher general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, says Nigeria will recover from COVID-19 before the rest of the world.

Enoch Adeboye, in a broadcast to church members on Sunday, said Nigeria has begun its journey to normalcy. “I believe that I have good news for us. I believe that the journey to normalcy has started,” Adeboye said.

April 18: Abba Kyari succumbs to COVID-19
A top aide to Nigerian president has died from COVID-19, the president’s spokesperson confirmed in the early hours of Saturday.

“The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,” a statement from spokesman Garba Shehu read in part.

Source: Africanews.com

Blood pressure medicines do not heighten susceptibility to COVID-19 infection

Commonly used blood pressure medicines do not heighten susceptibility to COVID-19 infection or increase the risk of becoming seriously ill with the disease, three major studies said Friday, positive news for the millions of people who take them.

The research primarily concerned angiotensin-converting–enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers, which are also given to diabetes patients to help protect their kidneys.

ACE inhibitors include the likes of ramipril, lisinopril and other drugs ending in -pril; while ARBs include valsartan and losartan, and generally end in -sartan.

There had been concern arising from animal studies that these medicines might increase the body’s levels of a protein called ACE2, which the coronavirus latches on to when it invades human cells, thus increasing people’s vulnerability to the disease.

Confusing matters further, there were also contradictory animal studies that showed having more ACE2 proteins might lessen an inflammatory reaction in lungs to COVID-19, a beneficial effect.

The three new studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Each involved reviewing the records of thousands of people either on or not on the medicines and seeing if they got infected and how the disease progressed.

They then used statistical methods to control for other factors like underlying health conditions that might make people more susceptible to infection and to serious COVID-19.

“We saw no difference in the likelihood of a positive test with ACE inhibitors and with angiotensin receptor blockers,” Harmony Reynolds of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, who led one of the studies that involved about 12,600 people, told AFP.

The studies were “observational,” meaning the researchers observed the effect of a risk factor.

This type of investigation is always considered weaker than “experimental” where an intervention is introduced along with a control, which leaves less to chance.

The authors of an accompanying editorial in the NEJM acknowledged this inherent limitation, but added: “We find it reassuring that three studies in different populations and with different designs arrive at the consistent message.”

Reynolds said the findings were relieving because she had been getting questions from worried patients who had read press reports and were asking if they should stop their medicines.

“I’m very happy to be able to tell patients that they should continue their blood pressure medications,” she said.

This is especially important given that lockdown life itself appears to be causing high blood pressure, “maybe from stress or less exercise or eating differently,” she added.

Mandeep Mehra, the medical director at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center who led another of the studies, said another fundamental question had been answered.

Early on in the pandemic, when it became clear that people with cardiovascular conditions were more likely to get severe COVID-19, scientists wondered: Was it heart disease that was the risk factor, or the medicine used to control it?

The new research settles the debate firmly in favor of the former, he said.

“It tells you beyond a shadow of a doubt that COVID-19 somehow interacts with the cardiovascular system in a pretty negative way,” said Mehra.

– Potential benefit? –

Mehra’s study, which looked at almost 9,000 patients across 11 countries, also tied the use of blood pressure medicines to a lower risk of death from COVID-19 — a finding not shared by the other two studies.

“The same drugs that appear to have life-saving benefits in patients with cardiovascular illness also appear to show us a signal of benefit in patients who are in the throes of COVID-19,” he said.

He added it was unclear why this was the case — whether it was because the medicines were helping the heart which in turn made it more resilient to the effects of the virus, or whether they were doing something else.

“What we can tell you is that, if you’re on a statin or an ACE inhibitor, by golly, please continue it,” added Mehra.

Nearly half of adults in the United States, or 108 million people, have hypertension, according to official figures.


COVID-19: Lagos directs reopening of govt offices, establishments.

Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has announced the reopening of the State Secretariat, Alausa as well as other government establishments.

Muri-Okunola in a state on Friday said the offices would be reopened from Monday.

He said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu approved the reopening as part of the gradual easing of the existing lockdown in Lagos State.

The HoS said the approval was contained in a circular with the Reference Number CIR/HOS/’20/Vol.1/046.

The re-opening of the Secretariat, Muri-Okunola said, “would be subject not only to the conditions earlier specified prior to the announcement of the lockdown, vide Circulars Ref. Nos.: CIR/ HOS/ ’20/Vol.1 / 031, 037 and 039 of 3rd, 20th and 22nd March, 2020 respectively, on measures to contain the pandemic, but also on some new protocols as well”.

Listing some of the new protocols, the circular stated that “officers on Grade Levels 12 and below must continue working from home, unless otherwise directed by their Accounting Officers, with the exception of Frontline Responders and other essential Health Workers, irrespective of Grade, as well as Enforcement Agencies”.

The HoS urged “Accounting Officers to carry out a Needs Assessment of critical Staff, identify essential Officers and draw up a Flexible Work Roster for Officers on Grade Levels 13 and above, in compliance with the Physical Distancing Principle as stated by the World Health Organisation”.

While advising officers in need of medical assistance to do so via consultation through telephone or online in order to minimise and eliminate visits to the Staff Clinic and Hospitals, the HoS implored “all sick persons to stay away from the office”.

He maintained that all public servants must abide by the 8 p.m to 6 a.m curfew pronounced by Mr. Governor, pointing out that “the Secretariat and other Government Establishments would remain shut to members of the public and non-staff who are advised to conduct their affairs through other channels such as telephone, emails and online platforms.

Source: The Punch