Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Monday, said N10bn has been released for the domestic production of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
Ehanire, who disclosed this while speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, said: “The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production.
“While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He urged Nigerians to ignore claims by some people that they had COVID-19 vaccines for sale in the country.
“I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“I advise against fake vaccines, as there is none approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria,” he said.
Ehanire stated that the number of new COVID-19 cases had continued to rise in the country, such that 10,300 confirmed cases were reported from just 50,750 samples tested in one week, translating into 20 per cent positivity rate.
“It means one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive, compared with the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 percent.
“Nigeria’s total number of confirmed cases is 110,387 out of a total of 1,172,234 samples tested, with a cumulative positivity rate of 9.4 per cent. 1,444 cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, with sadly 77 deaths in the past week and total fatality of 1,435.
“It is instructive of the second wave that all cases recorded so far this January is more than 20 per cent of all confirmed cases in Nigeria, more than the whole of December, barely halfway through the month.
“There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge.
“The federal ministry of health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic. These are infection mitigation, therapeutics and vaccines,” he said.
Ehanire reiterated that reducing infection rate for COVID-19 remained the easiest and cheapest objective of the government.
According to him, government’s main effort is to ensure social mobilisation for testing, strengthening surveillance activities for early detection, active contact tracing, isolation and treatment.
He, however, added that implementation of critical non-pharmaceutical measures required the cooperation of the public.
“This includes much more adherence to wearing masks, social distancing, use of sanitiser, etc. than we are seeing today. Of special concern are the so-called “super spreader activities” that involve congregational settings, which must be reduced, restricted or prohibited in the interest of the common good.
“With regards to therapeutics, we must strive to reduce mortality from this disease by ensuring adequate stock of supplies and strengthening our case management capacity.
“In this regard, the ministry of health is working to expand oxygen availability across the country to address shortages, which have been a challenge globally, and also to review the value of various pharmaceuticals and protocols proposed for COVID-19 treatment.
“Clinicians are also urged to work out guidelines for participating in clinical studies,” the minister said.
12 Die of COVID-19 Complications in Nigeria
Twelve people died of complications related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Nigeria, the country’s health agency has said.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 571 new cases of COVID-19 were also recorded, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 153, 187.
The country’s daily COVID-19 infection rate has dropped below 1,000 for the seventh consecutive days.
It also recorded 12 COVID-19 related deaths, raising the total fatality in the country to 1,874.
The agency noted that the new infections were reported in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The Nigeria’s public health agency stated that Lagos state reported 170 cases, Ogun, FCT and Kwara reported 65, 45 and 34 cases respectively, Abia 32 cases, Enugu 32, Kano 25, Oyo 22 and Ondo 21.
Rivers and Kaduna reported 19 cases each, Benue 18, Bayelsa and Kebbi 12 cases each, Nasarawa 11, Akwa Ibom 9, Delta 8, Ekiti 6, Niger 5, Bauchi and Imo 3 cases each.
The NCDC said that 643 infected people recovered, adding that total recuperated and discharge stands at 129,943 now.
The health agency stated that the discharged include 214 community recoveries in Lagos State, 61 in FCT and 11 in Benue.
It said the number of active cases, had continue to dropped drastically.
The current active cases stood at 21,279 down from 21,567 in the past 24 hours in the country.
The country recorded a slight reduction in the number of infections, recoveries and deaths last week.
From Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, 5,849 new cases were reported in the country, the lowest in seven weeks.
The last time the country reported such a low figure was in the Dec. 27, 2020 to Jan. 2 with 5,681 cases.
Ghana Receives COVID-19 Vaccines
The West African nation of Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the humanitarian vaccine distribution mechanism Covax.
The arrival represents the start of a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign encompassing 20 African countries.
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end,’’ World Health Organisation (WHO) Ghana representative Francis Kasolo and UNICEF Ghana representative Anne-Claire Dufay said in a joint statement.
The 600,000 Covax-sponsored vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine coming from the Serum Institute of India, according to the statement.
The Covax initiative aims to deliver almost 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.
“The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,’’ Kasolo and Dufay said.
“As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy,’’ the two representatives added.
Ghana is planning to begin its vaccination campaign on March 2, said information minister designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
Health workers, people older than 60 years, people with underlying health conditions as well as essential workers and teachers will be first to be immunised, according to Nkrumah.
So far, less than two dozen African countries have started COVID-19 vaccination, according to the WHO.
Africa has recorded more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases, 3.5 per cent of all reported cases worldwide, and more than 102,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control.
Turkey Repatriates 3 Turks Infected with Coronavirus from Tanzania
The Turkish government has airlifted three of its citizen from Tanzania after they were infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the East African country.
Turkey’s Ministry of Health said the citizens, identified as Halil A., Eyyüp K. and Oğuzhan A., were taken to Istanbul by an air ambulance where they will be treated.
The had applied to Turkish authorities for treatment in Turkey earlier.
Turkey, which offers free-of-charge air ambulance services for its citizens, occasionally brings COVID-19 patients from pandemic hot spots around the world for treatment.
Tanzania had stopped giving updates on the virus since April after President John Magufuli had declared the country coronavirus-free.
The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the United States; and the local Catholic church had previously called on Tanzania to acknowledge COVID-19 for the good of its citizens, neighbouring countries, and the world, especially after a number of countries reported that visitors arriving from Tanzania tested positive for the virus.
However, on Sunday, Magufuli acknowledge there is “a coronavirus problem” in his country after the virus had claimed the lives of several high-profile figures, including vice president of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar region and the president’s chief secretary.
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