The Lagos state government has warned residents that failure to wear face masks in public could attract up to one year in prison.
The warning comes days after the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 said there were indications that the country had entered a second wave of infections, considering the recent significant increase in the number of positive cases.
“In Nigeria, the indication is that we have entered a second wave of infections, and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months, but also losing the precious lives of our citizens,” Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation who represented Boss Mustapha, chairman of the PTF, said.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of the state, who is still in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, said during the weekend that the state cannot afford another total lockdown amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, advised residents to adhere to health protocols and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to limit the spread of the virus.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, the government said those who breached the COVID-19 regulations risked prosecution under the infectious diseases regulations.
“Did you know? Failure to wear a face mask in public or breach of any COVID-19 regulations, you can be prosecuted under the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Prevention) Regulations or Criminal Law of Lagos State and upon conviction liable to imprisonment up to one (1) year,” the post read.
As of December 21, 2020, Lagos, which is the epicentre of COVID-19, has confirmed 26,767 cases, out of which 24,096 recoveries and 237 deaths have been recorded. (The cable)
The vaccine is named “Sputnik V” for foreign markets — a reference to the world’s first artificial satellite launched by the Soviets on October 4, 1957.
President Vladimir Putin had earlier announced the country’s approval for the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, saying his daughter has been vaccinated.
But the vaccine has been received with cautious optimism across the world.
While some health experts say Russia skipped the third and most crucial stage of testing the drug before declaring it fit for human use, the country insists that it followed due health protocol.
The World Health Organisation, which asked Russia to follow established guidelines and go “through all the stages” necessary to develop a safe vaccine, is yet to approve any vaccine for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
In a study published by Lancet, a medical journal, on Friday, researchers said Sputnik V recorded early success in its trials.
The study noted that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine developed antibodies with “no serious adverse events”.
In the study, the researchers identified two small trials, each involving 38 healthy adults aged between 18 and 60, who were given a two-part immunisation.
Each participant received a dose of the first part of the vaccine and a booster with the second part, which was given after 21 days.
It noted that the participants were monitored for a period of 42 days and it was observed that they all developed antibodies within the first three weeks.
According to the study, the 76 participants will be monitored up to 180 days while a more rigorous third phase clinical trial is underway with the involvement of 40,000 volunteers from different age and risk groups.
It concluded that the data showed that the vaccine is “safe, well-tolerated, and does not cause serious adverse events in healthy adult volunteers.”
But experts have criticised the study over low number of participants used.
Naor Bar-Zeev of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study, said the research was “encouraging but small”.
“Showing safety will be crucial with COVID-19 vaccines, not only for vaccine acceptance but also for trust in vaccination broadly,” he said in a commentary in the Lancet.
“Since vaccines are given to healthy people and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially to everyone after approval following phase 3 trials, safety is paramount.”
The WHO draft on vaccines shows that six of the 26 candidates in clinical trials have got to the third phase of the vaccine trial.
Part of the top candidates include the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer candidates.
Alexey Shebarshin, Russia ambassador to Nigeria, delivered samples of the vaccine to Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, at his office in Abuja on Friday.
There is a race among leading countries to produce a vaccine for COVID-19.
The likeliest time for a vaccine against the disease has been projected to be the third quarter of 2021.
Nigeria has announced 452 fresh cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of the cases in the country to 21,371.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) gave the figure on Tuesday night through its official Twitter handle.
The NCDC said that the new cases were from 14 states.
It said that the country recorded seven deaths on June 23.
The NCDC said that Lagos State had the highest number of the new cases with 209 cases, followed by Delta with 37 cases and Ogun – 36, FCT – 22, Abia – 20, Enugu – 16, Bauchi – 15, Kaduna – 8, Ondo -8, Osun – 7, Imo – 3, Benue – 3 and Borno 1.
The NCDC said that as at June 23, 21,371 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in the country, with 13,285 active, 7,338 treated and discharged, 117, 569 samples collected and 533 deaths recorded.
Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari has extended the gradual easing of the lockdown by two weeks across the nation.
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, announced this on Monday during the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.
According to him: “Based on the recommendations of the PTF, Mr. President has approved the following:
i) The measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);
ii) intensifying efforts to “tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases;
iii) elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;
iv) Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks;
v) Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions; and
vi) Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high risk states.
Nigeria on Sunday recorded a massive spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases with the figures jumping to 338 according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In a tweet posted late Sunday, the NCDC also said deaths from coronavirus now stood at 182 – six more over the figures released on Saturday.
According to the NCDC, Lagos accounted for 177 of the new infections, while Kano State recorded 64 of them to place second.
FCT had 21 to place third.
However, the NCDC also said 1594 patients had recovered and been discharged.
Breakdown of 338 new cases of #COVID19;
*5959 cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria
Following the COVID-19 restriction, three pastors of some new generation churches on Sunday in Abuja denied their ministries and members after operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ministerial Enforcement Team arrested them for violating the ban on congregational worship in the nation’s capital.
After a brief interrogation, the three pastors were indentified from the crowd, even though one of them, Vitalis Udeazi of Dominion Chapel struggled to conceal his identity.
He said none of his members were present at the time the taskforce arrived the mountain top, but this did not go down well with other pastors who protested vehemently that he was one of them.
Luck however ran out on him when some members pointed at him as their pastor.
Speaking to the pastors, Chairman of the taskforce, Ikharo Attah queried that: “why are you all denying these large groups of worshippers? No one among you agreed that anyone came to worship with them even when they turned out in large numbers. One of you even went ahead to deny being a pastor”.
Also another cleric, Pastor Effiong Bassey of the Holiness Revival Ministry Church, Karamajiji was apprehended for holding a church service to mark the 60th birthday of a retired military colonel, P.E Ebong who left the military in 2015.
Addressing the pastor , Attah said: “you cannot hold a worship service in defiance of the directives of the Commander in Chief just to mark the 60th birthday of a retired colonel.
“Even for a serving colonel it is very wrong. You have to come with us and explain it to the magistrate at the mobile court”.
The Clerics were consequently arraigned before a Mobile Court presided over by Magistrate Akonni who found them guilty and fined them N5,000 each in addition to three hours of community service.
The team also shut down the informal sector at the Dutse Alhaji market which was fully in operation on Sunday in contravention of the Administration’s guidelines.
Four traders were arrested and arraigned at the Mobile court.