Connect with us


COVID-19: Lagos, Kwara, Bauchi to convert Hajj camps, schools to isolation centres



The rising number of COVID-19 cases, Lagos and Kwara state governments have announced plans to convert their Hajj and pilgrims’ camps to isolation centres to ease the burden on hospital facilities and the limited number of bed spaces.

 There had been a spike in the number of cases in the country in recent times.

 On Saturday, there were 661 new cases, pushing the total cases to 19,808. There were 19 new deaths, pushing the total deaths to 506, while 19,808 patients have so far been discharged.

Meanwhile, the Bauchi State Government has also said it had prepared two schools for conversion into isolation centres.

The Lagos State Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, disclosed the possible conversion of Hajj camps and other public places into isolation centres in an interview with one of punch correspondents, noting that four communities with the highest cases were already under consideration.

The Bauchi State Government, on its part, said it had set apart two schools as isolation centres to accommodate more COVID-19 patients.

The state Commissioner for Education, Dr Aliyu Tilde, confirmed this to one of punch correspondents, saying the move was to plan ahead should current facilities be overstretched.

Meanwhile, Oyo State Government said it planned to partner hotels for bed spaces for prospective COVID-19 patients, while Osun, Katsina and Kano states claimed they had sufficient hospital bed spaces in case of rising COVID-19 cases.

The three states said they had not been contacted by the Presidential Task Force on the possible use of schools as isolation centres and had no such plan.

On May 28, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated that the Federal Government would require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared as quarantine and isolation centres in the event of overwhelming COVID-19 cases and the pressure on hospital beds.

The minister, during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, added that the government anticipated the shortage of hospital bed spaces due to rising COVID-19 cases and therefore opted for the use of school dormitories as an alternative.

“We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.

“In event of overflow, we can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 which is quarantine, and level 2 which is the isolation of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms, to free hospital beds to be dedicated to level 3 which are moderate to severe cases and level 4 which is the high dependency and Intensive care unit,” he said.

This move is also partly based on the assertion of the Federal Ministry of Education in the third week of May that the government could not risk the reopening of schools until all measures had been put in place.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, had said, “We are not taking that risk yet. We are going to prepare as much as possible within the guidance that we are offered, working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation before we reopen schools.”

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Ogboye, said the state was considering Hajj camps and possibly schools, as well as liaising with four endemic communities.

He said, “We are using a strategy that involves three types of isolation centres. If someone is asymptomatic and very mildly asymptomatic, they will be treated at home. They will be isolated at home and we will visit them and give them the drugs that they will be taking. We will be visiting them to check their temperature on a daily basis. That is if their house meets the requirements for self-isolation at home.

“Some people’s houses are too small; they don’t have private toilets and so they cannot meet the criteria for self-isolation at home. Those are the ones that we intend to isolate at the community-based or community-supported centres. We have had a meeting with the PTF about the possible support from the Federal Government to establish these community centres.

“We are going to start with about four of them. We are going to focus on the highest burdened local governments. So, we are in the process of identifying four of them now. It may not necessarily be schools, it may be community centres; it may be Hajj camps and areas that can accommodate quite a large number of people. We have not started implementing but it is a discussion we are having with the Federal Government and we are in agreement about how to move forward.

“The third level is the isolation centres that we have. These are for moderate to severe COVID-19 complications.”

Meanwhile, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Education, Tilde, said the state government had set aside the Government Girls College, Bauchi, and the Government Secondary School, Azare, as isolation centres.

He said, “When the Commissioner for Health and his team met with me, we suggested to them some of the schools that we have here in Bauchi and in Azare, Katagum Local Government Area. The schools are Government Girls College, Bauchi. In Azare, we have Government College, Azare, or Government Secondary School, Azare.”

In Kwara State, the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Fatimah Ahmed, said had no plan yet to use public school dormitories as isolation centres but it had prepared 600 bed spaces in its state pilgrims’ camp in Ilorin, the state capital.

She said, “We have no such plan to use our public school dormitories as isolation centres for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and the Federal Government has not made such request from the state government. So, we don’t have such a plan.”

The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor and spokesperson for the COVID-19 Technical Committee in the state, Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, said the state had 3,000 bed spaces at its isolation centres at Sobi Specialist Hospital, Ilorin and General Hospital, Offa.

“Though there is an increasing number of COVID-19 patients in the state, we have enough bed spaces in our isolation centres and we also have about 600 bed spaces in the state pilgrims’ camp in Ilorin which we have not even used,” he said.

In Kano State, the state Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiru, said the government did not earmark any school for isolation centre but it had inaugurated two more testing centres as part of efforts to intensify COVID-19 testing in the state.

Kiru said in a release that the two testing centres were inaugurated by the state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Independence Road, Bompai, Kano, on Thursday.

In Oyo, the state government said rather than convert schools to isolation centres, it planned to partner hotels to be converted into isolation centres.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said, “We are not converting schools into isolation centres in Oyo State. What we are doing is to partner hotels and other well-meaning persons to raise capacity.

“Some medical centres are also in the cards to serve as isolation centres. Officially, the state has isolation/observatory centres in Ogbomoso, Awe, and Igbo-Ora with treatment centres at the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan; Agbami Chest Hospital, Jericho, Ibadan; and Saki.”

Meanwhile, in Osun, the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Education, Mr Jamiu Olawumi, said the state had enough bed spaces to cope with its coronavirus cases.

In Katsina, the government said there was no indication it would allocate schools or dormitories to serve as isolation centers for COVID-19 patients, saying it had begun moves to construct additional isolation centers to the existing four.


Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is more than 90 percent effective in the first analysis, company reports



Pfizer and partner BioNTech said Monday that their vaccine against Covid-19 was strongly effective, exceeding expectations with results that are likely to be met with cautious excitement — and relief — in the face of the global pandemic.

The vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States to generate late-stage data. The companies said an early analysis of the results showed that individuals who received two injections of the vaccine three weeks apart experienced more than 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than those who received a placebo. For months, researchers have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective. 

The Phase 3 study is ongoing and additional data could affect results.

Read more via

Continue Reading


EPL confirms eight positive COVID-19 tests



The Premier League in England said on Monday that eight people had returned positive results in its latest round of COVID-19 tests conducted on players and staff last week.

The league said the individuals who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus would now self-isolate for 10 days.

“The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 18, 1,575 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were eight new positive tests,” the Premier League said in a statement.

A total of 42 people have tested positive for the virus in seven rounds of testing since the new campaign began on Sept. 12.

There have been more than 750,000 COVID-19 infections and over 43,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Reuters tally.


Continue Reading


[#EndSARS Protests] Nigeria should prepare for increase in COVID-19 cases — FG warns



Federal Government has warned that with the on-going #ENDSARS protests across the country, cases of COVID-19 will definitely increase in the coming weeks.

Issuing the warning in Abuja, the Chairman, Presidential Taskforce, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said despite the appreciable success recorded so far in the fight against COVID-19, the ongoing protests might spark up a second wave of the virus.

He said:  “I can say it authoritatively that with the ongoing protests across the country, in the next two weeks the cases of COVID-19 would have increased. Each and everyone that attended the protests and did not put up any form of protection are likely going to spread the virus. When people contract the virus during the protest gathering, they will go back home and spread it.

“This is one of the reasons we must be extremely careful when we congregate because when you gather together in such an atmosphere where people don’t wear face masks or maintain social distance you are creating potential opportunities for carriers to spread the virus.

“So far we have done pretty well as a country but this protest is like a setback and we must avoid a situation where we will have resurgence. Countries that thought they have overcome are dealing with second wave. We are extremely lucky as a nation and we should be careful of any situation that can warrant second wave.”

Corroborating his views as reported by Vanguard, National Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, said FCT and Lagos State have successfully tested one percent of their populations, while states such as Rivers, Plateau, Gombe were half way in achieving the one percent target.

“We urge other states to work hard in achieving this target of 1 percent testing because testing rate is still low in the country.  Through our various member MDAs, ‘’We have trained at least 17,000 health works in infection prevention and control, laboratory operation and case management.

“In partnership with Federal Ministry of Heath we have added over 7,000 beds in more than 130 treatment centres, 250 intensive care unit beds through support from donors and the private sector,’’ he said.

On his part, the Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Mamora, said the ministry has distributed ventilator and oxygen to all federal and state hospitals.

He disclosed that one of the challenges federal hospitals were facing was irregular power supply which often leads to breakdown of equipment and disruption of services, “We receive the management of power holding to discuss way of having regular power supply to our teaching hospital and medical centres, this partnership will reduce overhead cost of the hospital,’’ he said.

He said their experience with the management of the pandemic revealed that many of the victims died could have been saved if they had access to services on time, adding that, during their intervention in Kano, ambulances were deployed to evacuate people in critical condition to the hospital.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Prof Innocent Ujah, disclosed yesterday that no fewer than 1,031 doctors in Nigeria have been exposed to coronavirus in the country, while 16 mortality cases were recorded as of October 8, 2020. According to him, this puts the mortality rate at 4.98 percent.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos to announce the NMA 2020 Physicians’ Week, with the theme ‘’Strategy for health system recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria” and sub-theme: “Dental caries: The four-pronged fork.” Ujah said of the 1,031 cases, 321 were confirmed, while 16 doctors were lost in the battle against the virus.

Ujah, who expressed sadness over the deaths of  members, described their death as the prize they had to pay in obedience to the Hippocratic Oath of their profession. Stating that COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inadequacies of health systems around the world,  the NMA president said many health systems across the world were overwhelmed by the pandemic due to inadequate emergency preparedness and response, largely due to inadequate human resources, infrastructural deficit and medical consumables, including personal protective equipment and other protective equipment.

He pointed out that most countries, such as Nigeria, were suffering due to gross under-funding of the health sector. He said:   “No disease has ever before laid bare the state of the country’s health sector like COVID-19. COVID-19 has revealed acute shortages of critical and lifesaving equipment such as ventilators and intensive care beds in our hospitals.”

Ujah added that the dire shortages of medical capacity has further put a spotlight on the poor state of health in Nigeria and distance to travel to ensure that health care was affordable and accessible to all citizens for Universal Health Coverage, UHC, to be achieved.

Continue Reading