By Abujah Racheal
Six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been listed as cases for concern as the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic rages in Nigeria.
Expressing the concern in Abuja on Monday, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) listed the states as Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano and Plateau.
Addressing a news conference on behalf of the PSC on COVID-19, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PSC, Mr Boss Mustapha, said that all countries in the West African region were beginning to witness the third wave.
According to him, Nigeria is recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days.
Mustapha said that the country’s test Positivity Ratio had increased to about six per cent, describing the development as worrisome and that the country was not out of the woods yet.
“It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Plateau and FCT.
“This variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation.
“Lagos alone accounts for over 50 per cent of the number of cases, the development calls for great caution because the virus is very virulent and raging in so many other countries.
“We must therefore keep observing the Non Pharmaceutical Intervention, (NPIs) and also ensure that we get vaccinated.
“Vaccination prevents severe cases and reduces hospitalisation and deaths, but does not eliminate contracting it, hence the need to religiously observe the NPIs,” he said.
Speaking on those evading travel protocol and quarantine, the SGF said, “the PSC is ready to publish over 500 travellers who violated the travel protocol and those who evaded quarantine this week.
“Similarly, those who had their passports barred for six months will be lifted in the coming days. The CG Immigration will be directed to lift the suspension and to also activate the new sanctions.
“Travellers that did not go for their Day-7 test will have restriction placed on their international passports for six months, while those who evaded quarantine will similarly have restrictions on their international passports for one year.
“I also want to announce that the National International Travel Portal is being reviewed to better enhance a hitch free experience for travellers.
“This review will be completed in the next two weeks. The Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is ready for reopening. A date will be announced in due course after few logistics issues are cleared.
“The PSC has also reviewed the travel protocols for diplomatic travellers.”
The SGF, therefore, called for more testing, noting that, “there is the need to test more and detect early enough so that people who have contacted this virus can be treated early.
“I am pleased to announce that we currently have 143 molecular laboratories in the country (54 private and 89 public) where we can go and test. Please make yourself available for testing and please, test regularly.”
Meanwhile, the United States of America officially donated the 4, 000, 080, doses of Moderna vaccine to Nigeria.
Speaking on the donation, the SGF said, “today, we are privileged to have a representative of the United States of America who are graciously donating over four million doses of Moderna vaccines to Nigeria.
“We thank the Government and people of the USA for this gift and we promise that it will be utilized judiciously.”
The PSC chairman also said that every state of the federation now had at least one U701 Ultra Cold Chain equipment to store ultra-cold vaccines and this would help in storing the vaccines.
The News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 4,000,080 Moderna doses, which arrived on two planes on Sunday, at about 2:15 a.m of Aug 1, were received by UNICEF officials on behalf of Nigeria at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The delivery was the second batch of vaccines to arrive in Nigeria after four million doses were delivered in March under the COVAX vaccine sharing Facility.
COVAX was set up to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.
Nigeria has since exhausted the four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to kick off its nationwide inoculation programme.
The Moderna vaccine received on Sunday, is mRNA type of vaccine manufactured and developed by Moderna, NIAID. Two shots of the vaccine are administered through intramuscular injection, 28 days apart.
The Moderna vaccine has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organisation, WHO, and approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, as safe and effective based on data from large-scale clinical trials.