FG confirms COVID-19 third wave amid doctor’s strike

• Lagos records six deaths daily
• Govt places Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Plateau, FCT as high-risk states
• Directs Federal, State hospitals to ensure service delivery is not disrupted
• Don’t mix AstraZeneca with Modena vaccine, Sanwo-Olu warns

Lagos State has recorded about 30 deaths since the COVID-19 third wave hit Nigeria last month. This dreadful disclosure came from the state’s pandemic incident commander, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday while briefing reporters on the COVID-19 situation report at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja.

According to him, the state has recorded about six deaths daily in the last week. As a result, he implored residents to sit up and observe all COVID-19 protocols while event centres and religious groups should ensure compliance from all those coming into their facilities.

Providing the update, Sanwo-Olu said: “From the beginning of the outbreak in February 2020 to date, Lagos State has recorded a total of 64,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 56,336 have recovered in the community, 2,755 are currently being managed actively in the community.

“Over the course of managing the pandemic, about 5,029 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos. We have, sadly, recorded 390 fatalities in Lagos, 30 of which have taken place in this current third wave of the pandemic. Essentially, we have recorded on average six deaths per day since last week.

“As of August 1, 2021, the positivity rate in Lagos is 8.9 per cent. This is an eight-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago, and it should rightly alarm all of us. This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities.

“But let me make it clear that this necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with a firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend. We have done it before and we can do it again. We dealt with the first and second waves and did our best to prevent a third wave. Now that it is fully upon us, we must dig deep into what we have learnt from the previous waves, as well as summon the will to do everything necessary to bring down the numbers, on the way to eventually defeating the virus once and for all.”

The Governor noted that experts have warned that the Astrazeneca and Moderna vaccines cannot be mixed, and so, those waiting for their second jab should exercise patience as the second batch of Astrazeneca vaccine is expected this August.x

“As of today, the percentage of Lagos residents that have received two doses of the vaccine stands at one per cent. This is quite low, considering that we are now confronted by a third wave, and we are exploring all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccination so as to reach our herd immunity target of administering vaccines to at least 60 per cent of the population of Lagos.

“Experience from other regions of the world shows that majority of the confirmed cases that have resulted in death were in unvaccinated persons. This is why we are seriously looking to scale up vaccination coverage for our people. On Sunday, Nigeria received four million doses of the Moderna vaccine. It is our expectation that as the epicentre of the epidemic, Lagos will receive a sizeable amount of this allocation. This vaccine cannot be mixed with the AstraZeneca vaccine, so it will only be for people that have not been previously vaccinated.”
AMID the industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) yesterday, the Federal Government, yesterday, announced that all data indicate that Nigeria is now in the third wave resurgence of the SARS-COV-2 infection.

Consequently, the Federal Government has directed Medical Directors at Federal and State hospitals to ensure that service delivery is not disrupted in their centres, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health is already engaging resident doctors with a view to quickly resolving the issues.

Already, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, and the Plateau States, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are causes for concern as the third wave of COVID-19 rages, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has said.

Speaking at its regular briefing yesterday, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the PSC, Boss Mustapha, said all countries in the West African region were beginning to see the third wave with Nigeria recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days.

“​It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Plateau and FCT as this variant has made its way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation. Lagos alone accounts for over 50 per cent of the number of cases.

“This development calls for great caution because the virus is very virulent and raging in so many other countries. We must therefore keep observing the Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPIs) and also ensure that we get vaccinated. Vaccination prevents severe cases and reduces hospitalisation and deaths but does not eliminate contacting it, hence the need to religiously observe the NPIs,” he said.

Speaking on travellers evading travel protocol and quarantine, the SGF said: “The PSC is ready to publish over 500 travellers who violated the travel protocol and those who evaded quarantine this week. Similarly, those who had their passports barred for six months will be lifted in the coming days.”

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, solicited more participation of states in the roles they have to play in sample collection, preparing isolation and treatment centers and providing logistics for movement of commodities and patients and reporting to the various COVID-19 pillars.

He said: “Only 17 states made data or sample submissions in the last cycle, where Lagos and Akwa Ibom States were the epicenters. We are considering strategies to scale up testing and identify positive cases for isolation and treatment. If you feel unwell, please report to the nearest testing centre to get the COVID-19 test. Less than 10 per cent of beds in treatment centres are occupied and oxygen supply is assured, as we continue to build up oxygen capacity.

“Nevertheless, all treatment centres have been put on alert to receive cases, especially in the face of the threat of the third wave, as we continue to train community volunteers and intensive care experts, to support our response.”

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