11 Dec Nigeria points accusing finger at religious leaders as Covid-19 cases spike Friday, December 11, 2020
Nigeria has confirmed 675 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest since August 23, 2020 when 601 cases were reported, as it accuses religious bodies of breaching control measures.
The country’s highest number of Covid-19 cases registered in a day was 745 infections back in June.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported on December 10, 2020 that the new infections significantly increased from the 474 cases reported on Wednesday, December 9.
The NCDC made this known via its verified website on Thursday with a breakdown showing the new cases were reported in 15 out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory where Abuja sits.
The agency noted that to date, 71,344 cases have been confirmed while 65,474 have been discharged. Some 1,190 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory since the outbreak.
The Federal Government accused religious organisations of sabotaging the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic by holding large gatherings contrary to laid-down Covid-19 protocols.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, stated today: “We have observed, rather sadly, that Nigerians, particularly some faith-based organisations, have continued to hold events of large gatherings capable of spreading the virus.
“The PTF urges all sub-national entities that signed the protocols with these organisations, and have primary responsibility for enforcing the protocols, to step up their roles of enforcement,” Mustapha said.
It said that an increase in social gatherings at this time of the year, especially those organised by religious organisations, was a norm across the world and advised on the need to take precautionary measures.
“We must collectively hold ourselves accountable to stay safe. Until a safe and effective vaccine becomes commercially available, our best chances at preventing Covid-19 lies in adhering to recommended measures such as hand washing, physical distancing and wearing of face masks,” it advised.
It said there has been inadequate testing for Covid-19 in some states, making it difficult to understand the burden of the disease for effective response.
NCDC Director-General Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu listed the states not doing adequate testing as Cross River, Jigawa, Kogi, Osun, Ebonyi, Adamawa and Zamfara.
Meanwhile, the government has directed Covid-19 treatment centres to prepare for reopening and be alert to handle more cases.
The Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the last few days suggests Nigeria was on the verge of a second wave of the pandemic.
”Last week, we recorded 1,843 against 1,235 two weeks before that and 1,126 the week before that,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, has reported that they had prepared to receive 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in early 2021.
He said the expected 20 million doses would first be given to workers in the health sector and vulnerable citizens.
“We are on course to access a safe vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. We will be leveraging on the polio platform to ensure effective delivery of vaccines to our vulnerable population,” he said.
Meanwhile, the top brass of the Nigeria Army has gone into self-isolation following the death of a General at a conference organised for Commanders and Generals.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, General Officers Commanding (GOCs), field commanders and other participants, who attended the Chief of Army Staff conference, are now in isolation.
The action followed the death of the GOC 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Maj-Gen Olubunmi Irefin, who succumbed to complications arising from Covid-19, causing panic in military circles, especially amongst those that attended the conference.
A first statement by the army on Thursday confirmed directing all officers participating in the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 in Abuja to immediately proceed on self-isolation.
Army spokesman, Brig-Gen Sagir Musa, who signed the statement, said the army had also scaled down activities for the wedding of Buratai’s son, Mr Hamisu Tukur Buratai.