Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as at end of June 2020 was Africa’s third most impacted country only behind South Africa and Egypt.
As Africa’s biggest economy, the federal government has continued to enforce regulations across the board even though most state governments have moved to relax restrictions.
The national response is led by the Presidential Task Force, PTF, led by SGF Boss Mustapha along with a national coordinator and relevant ministers – chief among them, Health, Foreign Affairs and Education ministries. At the heart of the response is the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC.
July 19: 37,225 cases; international flight update
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika on Tuesday denied reports of October date for resumption of international flights. “International Flight resumption date is not October,” he said in a tweet.
He added that the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, only issued routine 90 day Notices to Airmen (NOTAM). Which notice had been misconstrued to be a resumption date by some media.
“In liaison with Health, Foreign Affairs and PTF COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, UAE etc. May be earlier than October,” his tweet further clarified.
Nigerians have been asking when international flights will resume to and from the country. Staggered restart of local flights resumed on July 8 with full reopening of all airports achieved in middle of the month.
The NCDC also announced five new molecular laboratories which brought the total number of labs to 58 across 30 states. The only states without labs are: Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Taraba, Gombe and Yobe States.
- Confirmed cases = 37,225
- Active cases = 21,091
- Recoveries = 15,333
- Number of deaths = 801
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 20, 2020
There are currently 58 labs in 30 states with the capacity to test for #COVID19 in Nigeria
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) July 21, 2020
July 19: 36,107 cases; Foreign Affairs Minister infected
Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama confirmed today that he had tested positive for the virus, becoming the latest top politician to be infected.
He disclosed via Twitter that his positive result came from his fourth test since the virus entered the country. He said he was going into isolation in a health facility.
“Did my fourth Covid-19 test yesterday at the first sign of a throat irritation and unfortunately this time it came back positive. That is life! Win some lose some. Heading for isolation in a health facility and praying for the best,” his tweet read.
The Minister had been a key part of the PTF attending most of its meetings and giving key updates especially in the area of evacuation of nationals from across the world. He had also been holding engagements with diplomats and other envoys at his office in Abuja.
Local airline Azman Airline also reported that it was evacuating national stranded in Saudi Arabia. The airline said 117 passengers were on board the flight expected to arrive in Abuja in the early hours of Monday.
- Confirmed cases = 36,107
- Active cases = 20,391
- Recoveries = 14,938
- Number of deaths = 778
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 18, 2020
We are pleased to announce that
AzmanAiris currently operating an Evacuation Flight out of Jeddah
— AzmanAir – #LetsFlyAzmanAir (AzmanAir) July 19, 2020
Some of the evacuees are Nigerians in France, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Germany, Holland, UK and Canada. All passengers tested negative before boarding. #StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19 #PTFCOVID19
— Geoffrey Onyeama (GeoffreyOnyeama) July 19, 2020
July 13: 32,558 cases; eight states with over 1,000 cases
Nigeria’s case load reached 32,558 as of close of day July 12, 2020. The NCDC stats indicated that over 550 new cases were recorded. Recoveries hit 13,447 whiles the death toll stood at 740.
Seven states along with the capital Abuja had recorded over 1,000 cases since the index case was recorded. Lagos by a mile is the most impacted state with 12,427 cases. FCT has 2,576 whiles Edo and Oyo’s 1,731 and 1,726 tallies respectively complete the top four slots.
Rivers, Delta, Kano and Ogun states complete the 1000+ list whiles Kaduna is inching towards joining the club. The state currently has 989 cases.
- Confirmed cases = 32,558
- Active cases = 18,371
- Recoveries = 13,447
- Number of deaths = 740
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 10, 2020
July 11: 31,323 cases; govt launches test kit
The federal government has launched a diagnostic kit, which can detect the causal agent of COVID-19. It is known as RNASwift,
The kit was outdoored tt a press conference on Tuesday by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), the agency that developed it.
NABDA director-general Alex Akpa, told journalists the RNASwift test kit is an indigenous diagnostic test kit designed, developed and validated in Nigeria for the identification of the causal agent – SARS-Cov-2 – which causes COVID-19.
He stressed that the kit will not only revolutionalise Africa’s PCR-based COVID-19 testing but also expand the capacity by at least, 50 times. Another advantage it presents was the reduced cost by over 500 percent as compared to the conventional kit in use.
He said the diagnostic kit is “very accurate and sensitive’’ and competes favourably with conventional and commercially available kits for the diagnosis of COVID-19.
The project was undertaken in collaborative effort between NABDA, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). It is not known as yet when it will be deployed to test samples.
On the education front, whiles the federal government has put off the reopening of schools, the canceling of the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC; exams has received a high level condemnation.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has kicked against the move saying that Nigeria stood to lose. “As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.
“At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counterproductive.
“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African countries,” he said in a Twitter thread on Friday.
In giving an alternative to the cancellation, the former veep wrote: “We could mobilise all available public & private infrastructures, including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift.
“Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria to implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.”
- Confirmed cases = 31,323
- Active cases = 17,819
- Recoveries = 12,795
- Number of deaths = 709
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 10, 2020
— Federal Ministry of Health, NIGERIA (@Fmohnigeria) July 11, 2020
July 9: 30,249 cases; China knocks busybody lawyers
Nigeria crossed the 30,000 mark on Tuesday when the NCDC reported that caseload had hit 30,249 in pattern with an increase of above 400 cases daily.
Government also announced that federal schools will not be reopened whiles regional examination for final year students have also been cancelled.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu addressing the media at the PTF briefing in Abuja said the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.
Subsequently, no Nigerian school will participate in the WASSCE earlier scheduled for August 5 to September 5. Adamu stressed that he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers. Ghana has said it will go ahead with the examinations.
The Chinese embassy on Tuesday also took a swipe at a group of lawyers that filed a suit seeking damages against China over the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement by the press secretary of the Embassy of China in Nigeria called the action “frivolous” and “shoddy.” It argued that China put its best food forward at the outset of the pandemic and that it was equally impacted as any other nation.
“COVID-19 has caught the whole world by surprise. China, like other countries is a victim. Confronted by an unknown virus, we have acted responsibly to protect people’s life and health and safeguard global public health.”
It concluded by stressing its victimhood and called on the lawyers to engage in actions that boost ties between the two nations rather than dance to the tune of a certain unnamed country to “hype up the situation.”
- Confirmed cases = 30,249
- Active cases = 17,192
- Recoveries = 12,373
- Number of deaths = 6684
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 8, 2020
Statement by Press Secretary of the Embassy on some Nigerian lawyers’ attempt of filing frivolous lawsuits. pic.twitter.com/decFormTiX
— Chinese Embassy in Nigeria (@china_emb_ng) July 8, 2020
July 8: 29,789 cases; domestic flights restart
Domestic flights started operations in the country after months of suspension. The restart is according to the federal government’s three-tier reopening scheme announced by aviation minister Hadi Sirika a week ago.
The Civil Aviation Authority shared photos of the first flight – operated by Arik Air – with passengers going through formalities and boarding at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in the commercial capital, Lagos.
Queues are formed with strict physical distancing rules from the check in counters through to the boarding area as temperature readings are also taken. All passengers are wearing masks.
The Environment Department of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Tuesday decontaminated the Domestic Terminals of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in preparation for the resumption of domestic flights.
The full reopening will span a week with Abuja and Lagos reopening today. Others will reopen on July 11 (Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri) and the rest on July 15, according to the government.
- Confirmed cases = 29,789
- Active cases = 17,012
- Recoveries = 12,108
- Number of deaths = 669
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 7, 2020
Passengers boarding the first flight (Arik Air) to kick start domestic flight resumption at the MMA GAT 1, Lagos around 8am today
Fly Safe,Stay Safe. pic.twitter.com/eimXSxweBc
— Nigerian CAA (@NigerianCAA) July 8, 2020
July 6: 28,711 cases; Oyo schools reopen, Ebonyi governor infected
Schools across south western Oyo State have resumed as of today despite protests by the federal government insisting that conditions were not right for such a measure.
Local media reports suggest that strict virus prevention measures were being implemented with the return to school. All students, pupils are wearing some form of mask or face shield.
Temperatures are taken before learners are allowed into classrooms and there are handwashing points stationed at vantage points. There is also distancing between seats in the classrooms.
Others states have held off reopening of schools despite a progressive lifting of strict lockdown measures.
Over the weekend, reports emerged that Ebonyi State governor David Umahi had contracted the virus along with some of his aides. He joins the likes of Rotimi Akerodolu of Oyo and Delta State’s Ifeanyi Okowa – who are still receiving treatment after recent infections.
Total confirmed cases = 28,711
Total recoveries = 11,665
Total deaths = 645
Active cases = 16,401
Figures valid as of close of day July 5, 2020
Students for Oyo State West Nigeria ?? don return to school afta two months for house.
See foto of di kain measures wey di schools don arrange to cancel coronavirus spread. pic.twitter.com/WmgaCNpkRK
— BBC Pidgin (@bbcnewspidgin) July 6, 2020
July 2: 26,484 cases, domestic flights start July 8
Domestic flights can begin operations from July 8, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika announced via Twitter on Wednesday. The latest big move as Africa’s most populous country relaxes coronavirus restrictions.
The full reopening will span a week with Abuja and Lagos opening on July 8. Others will reopen on July 11 (Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri) and the rest on July 15, the government said on its official Twitter account.
On the subject of resumption of international flights, Minister Sirika said: “Date for international (flights) to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please.”
- Confirmed cases = 26,484
- Active cases = 15,729
- Recoveries = 10,152
- Number of deaths = 603
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 1, 2020
I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. Date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please ??????
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 1, 2020
July 1: 25,694 cases, Delta governor infected
Today marks the first day of the eased lockdown Phase II. “The primary aim of Phase Two was to sustain the gains of the earlier Phase in terms of pandemic control, while allowing additional sectors of the economy to restart.
“This will help achieve the desired balance between saving lives and ensuring that the wellbeing and livelihood of citizens are protected, the PTF said in a statement detailing the raft of new directives. The key ones being:
- Maintaining the current nationwide curfew (10pm – 4am);
- Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings and sporting activities;
- Re-commencement of domestic aviation services;
- Allowing movement across state boundaries only outside curfew hours;
- Allowing students in graduating classes (Primary 6, JS3 & SS3) to resume in preparation for examinations;
- Federal and State Government offices to maintain current timing of 9am – 2pm as Officers on GL. 14 and above, and essential staff from GL.13 and below are to continue to report for duty; and
- Mandatory use of non-medical facemasks in public spaces with access to government and commercial premises to be denied for persons not wearing facemasks: ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no service.’
Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa today confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19. According to a post on Twitter, he said he had contracted the virus along with his wife.
His disclosure comes barely 24-hours after that of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who said he was asymptomatic and self-isolating.
The list of infected governors thus includes Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who also confirmed being infected early this month. Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyin Makinde of Oyo, have all recovered from the virus.
- Confirmed cases = 25,694
- Active cases = 15,358
- Recoveries = 9,746
- Number of deaths = 590
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 30, 2020
My wife and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are well and continuing with our isolation/medication. We thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our daughter. pic.twitter.com/NzBWB96Q91
— Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (@IAOkowa) July 1, 2020