The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, directed the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for post-arrival COVID-19 test were sanctioned within the ambit of the law. Buhari also extended the mandate of the PTF led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, till the end of March 2021. Buhari announced the extension at a meeting he had with members of the task force during which they presented their end-of-the-year report to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The President attributed the extension to the second wave of the virus. The President said, “I have authorized the following measures for implementation: the extension of
The scientist behind the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine expresses confidence that his candidate will work against the new variant of coronavirus detected in the UK. Chief Executive of BioNTech, Prof. Ugur Sahin, said further studies were being conducted to assess whether the vaccine induces full protection against the new variant, The Independent reports. Should the vaccine need to be adapted, the company could do so in about six weeks, Prof Sahin said, though regulators might have to approve the changes before the shots can be rolled out. He admitted that: “We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant,” but because the proteins that coat the outside of the virus are 99 percent the same as the prevailing strain, BioNTech has ‘
It is not yet certain whether the new coronavirus variant discovered in Britain is more contagious, but the United States is conducting studies to learn more, a top official said Monday. Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor to the Operation Warp Speed vaccine programme, added he expected that laboratory experiments would show the new strain would respond to existing vaccines and treatments. While several countries have shut their borders to Britain, Slaoui said it was possible the variant has long been prevalent in the United Kingdom – but that scientists had not begun looking for it until now, creating the impression of a surge when they did. “There is no hard evidence that this virus is actually more transmissible, (but) there is clear evidence that there is more of it in the po
Scientists at the Redeemer’s University, Nigeria, say they have found the United Kingdom’s ‘lineage B.1.1.7,’ a mutant variant of the COVID-19 global pandemic, in Nigeria. They reported that the ‘lineage B.1.1.7’ mutant variant of the coronavirus had been existing in Osun State since August 3, 2020 when they obtained the first sample. They also reported the collection of another sample from the state in October, and it also showed the presence of this new variant. The ‘lineage B.1.1.7’ variant of COVID-19 has recently become a source of concern in the United Kingdom, leading to another round of lockdown. The RUN study, first published last September 6 in The Conversation, a copyright-free news channel, stated that genome sequencing helped researchers to
Experts from Oxford to Princeton have signed an open letter to global governments arguing vitamin D could ward off coronavirus infections, disease and even deaths. The letter, sent to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock on Monday, called for healthy adults to up their daily vitamin D intake to at least 2,000 international units, or 50 micrograms, amid the pandemic. The letter’s signatories argued that vitamin D is “exceptionally safe” even at high doses, with most claiming to take at least 4,000 IUs [100 mcg] a day, Yahoo Style reports. According to the signatories who hail from 24 countries, “global patterns and risk factors for the COVID-19 pandemic and vitamin D deficiency match precisely.” “Finland is the only country with an effective
The European Union's medicines regulator has recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in the bloc's 27 states. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the drug for the EU's nearly 448 million inhabitants after it went into circulation in the UK and the US. Hours after the EMA's decision, the European Commission gave its own formal approval for the use of the jab. Distribution could begin in some EU states as early as Sunday. More than 311,000 lives have been lost to the pandemic across the bloc. Fears of a new surge in cases among people gathering for the Christmas and New Year holidays have prompted partial lockdowns in countries like Germany and the Netherlands. The threat of a new, more infectious Covid-19 variant spreading from the UK has al
Pfizer and Moderna are testing their coronavirus vaccines to see if they work against the new mutated version of the virus that's recently been found in the United Kingdom and other countries, according to company statements. "Based on the data to date, we expect that the Moderna vaccine-induced immunity would be protective against the variants recently described in the UK; we will be performing additional tests in the coming weeks to confirm this expectation," according to the Moderna statement. Pfizer said it is now "generating data" on how well blood samples from people immunized with its vaccine "may be able to neutralize the new strain from the UK." The novel coronavirus has mutated before, and both companies say they've found that their vaccines worked against other vari...
THE Senate on Monday doubted the ability of the Federal Ministry of Health to effectively store and distribute the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrived in the country. The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and his colleagues expressed the reservation when its leadership met with the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed. The ministers were in the Senate to brief the leadership of the upper chamber about the Federal Government plans to procure COVID-19 vaccines worth N400bn to save the lives of Nigerians. The President of the Senate expressed lack of confidence in the preparedness of the Federal Government to manage the COVID-19 vaccination in the country. Lawan said the National Assembly was re...
State governments on Sunday renewed COVID-19 protocol enforcement as the country battled increasing cases of coronavirus. Officials of states including Lagos, Anambra, Ogun and Kaduna on Sunday told The PUNCH that as from Monday (today), they would step up enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, social distancing in vehicles and hand washing. Recall that following the persistent increase in COVID-19 cases in the country in April, the Federal Government introduced phase one lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory from April 27 to May 4. The country also went through phase two from May 5 to June 29 and phase three from June 30 to July 27. During the period, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and stat
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has registered 1,145 new COVID-19 cases in the country. The NCDC made this known via its verified Twitter handle @NCDCgov. It said that as of December 17, 2020, 1,145 new confirmed cases and one death were recorded in the country. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the figure was the highest ever infection recorded in one day since recordkeeping of COVID-19 commenced in Nigeria. The latest figure surpassed the 930 cases recorded across the country on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, giving further indication that the country is experiencing a second wave of the virus. The public health agency said one person had died of COVID-19-related causes in the last 24 hours. The NCDC said the new infections brought the country’s totals t
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 says there were indications that the country had entered a second wave of infections. Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who gave the indication, lamented the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months, but also losing precious lives of citizens. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PTF’s concerns were being expressed ahead of next week’s submission of its end of term report to the President on December 22, 2020. Speaking at the national briefing on Thursday, the PTF chairman, who was represented by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said: “The events and statistics of the last two weeks, within and outside Nigeria, have been very mixed.
A team of 10 international scientists will travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan next month to investigate the origins of Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Beijing has been reluctant to agree to an independent inquiry and it has taken many months of negotiations for the WHO to be allowed access to the city. The virus is thought to have come from a market in the city selling animals. But the search for the source has led to tensions, notably with the US. President Donald Trump's administration has accused China of trying to conceal the initial outbreak. What is the aim of the investigation? A biologist on the team travelling to Wuhan told the Associated Press news agency that the WHO was not seeking to apportion blame, but rather to p
The House of Representatives is considering empowering the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to regulate the production and sale of packaged water in the country. Water packaged in sachet is popularly called ‘pure water’. A bill to amend the NAFDAC Act, which passed second reading at the plenary on Wednesday, is to allow the agency to “capture other forms of packaged water, other than in bottles”. The legislation is a product of three bills consolidated by the House. The joint bill is sponsored by Chairmen of the House Committee on Health Services, Yusuf Sununu; Committee on Health Services, Pascal Obi; and Danchung Bagos. The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act
A health care worker in Alaska had a serious allergic reaction after getting Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Tuesday, symptoms that emerged within minutes and required an overnight hospital stay. The middle-aged worker had no history of allergies but had an anaphylactic reaction that began 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska, a hospital official said. She experienced a rash over her face and torso, shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. Dr. Lindy Jones, the hospital’s emergency department medical director, said the worker was first given a shot of epinephrine, a standard treatment for severe allergic reactions. Her symptoms subsided but then reemerged, and she was treated with steroids and an epinephrine drip. When docto
The World Health Organisation said Tuesday it is in discussions with Pfizer and Moderna about possibly including their high-tech coronavirus vaccines among early vaccinations for poor countries at affordable prices. The WHO-backed Covax facility, created to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world as they become available, is aiming to provide some two billion doses by the end of next year. It has already secured hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine candidates being developed by AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi-GSK. WHO senior advisor Bruce Aylward said the organisation was looking at a range of other vaccines, as well as the current frontrunners. He said WHO was “in conversations” with Pfizer and Moderna about whether their products could be part of