BREAKING: Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state in Nigeria tests positive for coronavirus

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in Southwest Nigeria has tested positive for coronavirus.

Makinde said he was not sick but has gone into isolation. He urged Nigerians to “stay home” and “stay safe”.

“I just received my COVID-19 confirmation test result. It is POSITIVE. I am asymptomatic and will continue to self-isolate,” he tweeted.

“I have designated Prof Temitope Alonge, former Chief Medical Director of the University College, Ibadan, as the Head of COVID-19 Task Force while I recover fully.

“Please continue to comply with all the directives from the COVID-19 Task Force. Stay home, stay safe,” he added.

Makinde is the third Nigerian governor to test positive for coronavirus. The governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai and the governor of Bauchi had earlier tested positive for the virus.

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A second person has died from COVID-19 in Nigeria, bringing the total death toll in Africa’s most populous country to two, health minister Osagie Ehanire told newsmen on Monday.

“Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment but sadly, another fatality was recorded over the weekend in the person of a patient who had severe underlying illnesses,” health minister Osagie Ehanire said, according to various local media who attended the first joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja on Monday.

A 67-year-old male who had returned to Nigeria following medical treatment in the United Kingdom was the first person to die from the disease.

At least 111 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Nigeria, two have died and three have recovered.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday announced new measures to contain the deadly bug.

Mr. Buhari, 77, said he was locking down most populous state, Lagos, capital Abuja, and Ogun state, for 14 days, to contain the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In a televised address on Sunday, Mr. Buhari, 77, said residents of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun state must stay home for an initial 14 days as all movements have been suspended.

Inter-state movements have also been suspended. The quarantine takes effect from Monday March 30, 2020, at 11 p.m. local time.

President Buhari said movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are also suspended. Special permits, he added, will be issued “on a needs basis”.

“Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States,” Mr. Buhari said.

“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

“The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed,” he said.

He said the “containment period” will be used “to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases”.

“We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States,” the Nigerian leader added.

He said his order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution. 

“Furthermore, commercial establishments  such as; food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies are also exempted.

“Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored,” he added.

Mr. Buhari said workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

“All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority,” the Nigerian leader said.

Although the number of cases in Nigeria remain few, on Friday, the World Health Organization(WHO) sent a dire warning to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, to stop the spread of COVID-19 now that cases are still few or it may be too late, too hard, or almost impossible to deal with a much bigger and wider crisis.https://www.youtube.com/embed/fgqT-j82dpQ?feature=oembed

Speaking from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Nigeria should seize the opportunity now that it has few cases to stop the virus from spreading by conducting enough testing, identifying those who test positive, isolating them and following up with contacts’ tracing.

He said those early measures would prevent the disease from growing from sporadic cases to a community transmission that may become harder to contain.

“The problem comes when community transmission starts, when the number of cases builds,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said, adding that when that happens, it becomes difficult or almost impossible to “quarantine” many people.

Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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