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COVID-19 Update: Nigeria records four deaths, as confirmed cases jump by 51 to 493

… Lockdown will be lifted only when virus spread curse flattens

By Raphael Izokpu

Nigeria has begun recording an upsurge in the number of new confirmed cases and deaths as a result of the rampaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) as new cases jumped by 51 to 493 while the death rate increased by four deaths to 17.

In addition, the number of the recovered and discharged cases is now 159.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in its Twitter handle that “Fifty-one new cases of #COVID19 have been reported; 32 in Lagos, 6 in Kano, 5 in Kwara, 2 in FCT (Federal Capital Territory), 2 in Oyo, 2 in Katsina, 1 in Ogun 1 in Ekiti. As at 10:10 pm 17th April, there are 493 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria, Discharged: 159, Deaths: 17.”

The breakdown shows that Lagos maintains its reputation as the epicentre of COVID-19 eruption in Nigeria with 283 cases, FCT – 69, Kano – 27, Osun – 20, Edo – 15, Oyo – 15, Ogun – 10, Kwara – 9, Katsina – 9, Bauchi – 6, Kaduna – 6, Akwa Ibom – 6, Delta – 4, Ondo – 3, Ekiti – 3, Enugu – 2, Rivers -2, Niger – 2, Benue – 1 and Anambra- 1.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government says that Nigeria cannot return to normalcy or the lockdown lifted until success is achieved in the battle to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic is achieved.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said that its primary target is to flatten the curve of COVID-19 curve, urging the citizens to help government achieve desired success by obeying instructions and issued protocols.

According to Mustapha, “this is a long-term effort and we should exercise patience as we gradually walk out of danger, reopen our society and her economic life. This virus has no vaccine. Success will mean a return to normalcy and we can only claim victory when cases are no longer increasing; we have no unknown sources for cases; deaths are no longer increasing; more admissions are discharged. The only path to these is your full collaboration and compliance.

“The PTF has continued to present daily situation report to Nigerians and we thank you for your involvement and attention. The objective is to engage with you, eliminate misinformation, rumours, fake news etc. One month down the line, the PTF has worked in close concert with the international community, the private sector and all Nigerians but so much more remain to be accomplished.

“As we have always told you, this is a war with a vicious enemy and our goal is to ultimately flatten the curve. To achieve this ultimate objective therefore, (i.e flatten the curve of infection), the PTF craves the full understanding and cooperation of Nigerians. We therefore continue to appeal to all our citizens to obey the orders to stay at home and respect the advisories on personal hygiene, social distancing, report symptoms to the nearest appropriate medical facility, stay at home and go into isolation for the sake of your loved ones and the society. This appeal can never be over emphasized.”

“The objective of the restriction orders is to save the lives of Nigerians from the pandemic and not to cause pains. The Police and other services have launched investigations into the various reports and the Presidential Task Force shall update you when it is concluded.”

On demands by Nigerians abroad to return home as a result of the outbreak, the federal government scribe said that “so many Nigerians are clamoring to return home. While we are finalizing arrangements for their evacuation, isolation and testing. I am pleased to inform you that the PTF has developed the Protocol on Points of Entry that will address this development going forward. Details will be unveiled subsequently.”

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted the increase in inter-State movement, warning that it threatens to accelerate the spread of the virus. 

He again reiterated the need to fight stigmatization if the war must be won.

Aliyu said: “We must fight the stigmatization of COVID:19. We must not shun people we know if they show symptoms, instead we must help them to contact the authorities and seek testing and treatment. Dignity is a right for everybody.”

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