Coronavirus: FG puts Kano, Osun, Oyo, Edo under watch

BADLY-HIT COVID-19 states, such as Kano, Oyo, Edo and Osun, have been placed under special watch by the Federal Government.The four states have recorded unexpected rise in positive cases of the pandemic.In the latest figure of positive cases confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) last night, Lagos has 59, followed by FCT (29), Kano (14), Borno (six), Katsina (four), Ogun (three) and a case each in Rivers and Bauchi.The 117 cases reported by NCDC take the national tally to 782.The Federal Government said on Tuesday that it would pay particular attention to the four states as it revs up its collaboration with state governments in the battle to halt spread of the virus.The Federal Government did not say what type of special help it would render the states, but President Buhari doled out N10 billion to Lagos State, which is the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, with almost 300 cases.It explained that the special focus on the four states would centre on helping them coordinate their anti-COVID-19 activities and intervention in “non-pharmaceutical” areas.Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha, and National Coordinator Dr. Sani Aliyu, made this known during the daily briefing by PTF in Abuja on Tuesday.Aliyu said: “We do note the concern about increased reporting of cases and we are closely monitoring Kano, Osun, Oyo and Edo states. And with particular concern, Kano State . We have engaged closely with the state government.”Over the weekend, we engaged directly with the State Governor (Abdullahi Ganduje, and virtually over the last two days, I have been talking to people in Kano to find out what is going on.“It is not very clear whether the report that we are getting is actually captured or not, but they have set up a team that will be looking at investigating this further.”The National Coordinator added that the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr.Okezie Ihekweazu, and a Rapid Response Team had visited Kano for an on- the spot-assessment of the development.“We definitely recognise the need for more testing and also the need to reach out to communities to convince them to continue to support and cooperate with us while we work on reducing the impact of the pandemic,” he explained.Aliyu stressed that the task force “will continue to engage state governments on the pandemic responses by providing necessary assistance to ensure adequate sensitisation.”Ganduje at the meeting with Ihekweazu urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency help his administration with fund.He said: “We started few weeks ago with few cases but look at the speed with which it is going. I think we need urgent financial assistance.”The governor , who argued that Kano State needs more support at this point than Lagos state, said, “we know Lagos economy today is much better than the economy of Kano, the acceptance of public enlightenment is higher in Lagos than that of Kano, we all know this fact.”Mustapha, who announced the immediate distribution of medical equipment and consumables to states, said: “There is obvious need to support the states in strengthening coordination across board; more guidance should be provided in the area of non-pharmaceutical interventions; particular attention is to be focused on some states with heavy burden, particularly, Kano; and priority is being placed on Intensive state level support.“I am pleased to inform you that as part of the support to the states, the PTF has approved the distribution plans for medical equipment and consumables available in stock to the states.“The physical distribution shall commence immediately. This will be in addition to the Jack Ma equipment and materials already shared to the states.“While the PTF continues to assess the impact of the lockdown preparatory to the submission of a report to Mr. President, we have observed general compliance with the restrictions.”He praised the “media for the tremendous support we continue to receive” and “our frontline health workers for their professionalism and hard work.”The task force chairman also “reemphasized the need for people to comply with the lockdown policy, particularly in the two states of Lagos and Ogun, as well as the FCT(Federal Capital Territory).Also speaking, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, said, ” part of what we will do is to increase the support for Kano. You recall that Kano and Lagos states have the highest population and naturally you would be worried because what Lagos has is also what Kano has in terms of population density and commercial activities.”Mamora stressed the need for Nigerians to avoid mass gatherings, especially when unprotected.”He added that “the use of face masks or face barriers that covers the mouth and nose has been scientifically proven to reduce spread of respiratory infection.”Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed warned Niherians against patronising a vaccine being hawked in Kano as cure for COVID-19.He said: “ You must ignore the vaccine being hawked in Kano, which is called “COVID-19 Vaccine. It is yellow in colour. It is not certified by anybody. Please, don’t patronise the hawkers.”The minister also sent strong warnings to broadcasting stations against fake news on COVID19.He said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will not hesitate to sanction any station that fails to adhere strictly to the provisions of broadcasting code.

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