Niger COVID-19 cases rise, students, workers to remain at home

By Ummi Ismaeel,

The Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has directed students and workers to remain at home till further notice with the sudden increase in the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the state lately.

This is coming on the heels of 64 almajiris, who hitherto tested positive for the virus, have fully recovered and are being reunited with their families, the state Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Muhammad Maku-sidi, said.

Governor Bello in a chat with newsmen after a meeting with the state Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 led by its Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, expressed fears that easing the lockdown worsened the spread of the virus situation as many residents no longer adhere or observe precautionary measures to check the spread.

Also worried by the daily increase in the number of persons testing positive to Coronavirus, especially within Minna, the state capital (Chanchaga), having the highest number, the governor said that schools would not be opened while some categories of workers were to remain at home.

His words: “Government has noticed with dismay that people no longer follow laid down protocols to check the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, we will be reinvigorating the curfew earlier imposed in between 10pm and 4am. Students are also to remain at home till further notice”.

Security agencies have also been directed to ensure strict enforcement of compulsory wearing of face masks in public places, the governor said as he directed that defaulters of COVID-19 precautionary measures by the state government should be prosecuted in mobile courts.

Governor Bello directed that, henceforth, all deaths must now be reported for proper medical inquiries before burials are done to check dangers posed by those who died as a result of COVID-19 complications unidentified, adding also that, ‘all social gatherings remained banned for now’.

“Niger State as at today recorded nine deaths out of 166 COVID-19 cases while 113 others have been successfully recovered and discharged”, Governor Bello said as he explained the reasons behind the delay in the distribution of food items donated to the state as COVID-19 palliatives.

Bello said, “The distribution of CACOVID palliatives will commence as soon as the supply of items are completed. We will contact CACOVID Secretariat to see if they could give us permission to share the available items while waiting for the supply of the remaining balance.

“The truth is that we cannot touch anything from the storehouse where we kept all the food items without their permission. We only provided storage for the items as instructed and we do not have the right to do otherwise”.

Meanwhile, Niger State Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Muhammad Maku-sidi, told journalists yesterday that 64 almajiris who had tested positive to coronavirus have now tested negative and reunited with their parents.

Giving an update on the spread of the virus, the commissioner said, “As we said earlier, we have so far gotten 166 positive COVID-19 cases including almajiris. 1, 075 almajiris were tested out of which 64 returned positive. The good news however is that they have all recovered and reunited with their families”.

Those of them who are not indigenes of Niger State had been repatriated to their various stages of origin, the commissioner said, adding that 1, 778 people have so far been tested in the state out of which 166 are COVID-19 positive.

According to the commissioner, “As at today, we do not have any patient in any of our isolation centres because we have discharged most of them while few others have been transferred out for more medical attention”.

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