Coronavirus: Ogun, Abia, Taraba, Imo, Bayelsa shut borders over spread

Coronavirus: Ogun, Abia, Taraba, Imo, Bayelsa shut borders over spread

The Ogun, Taraba, Abia, Imo and Bayelsa state governments have shut their borders as the COVID-19 continue to ravage states across the country
The Ogun State government announced the closure of the borders with the neighbouring states and the international border with the Republic of Benin.

The government, which said this on Saturday, explained that the closure would take effect at 12 midnight on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

The government in a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, said the closure would be in force for two weeks in the first instance.”

Abia State Government also announced that there would be a total lockdown of the state from April 1, 2020.

According to the state government, the lockdown will include inter-state movements.

It added that “this will last for an initial period of four weeks, subject to weekly reviews.”

The state Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, in a statement on Saturday, urged everybody to stay indoors.

Also, Taraba State Governor, Mr Darius Ishaku, on Saturday banned travels in and out of the state with effect from Sunday, March 29, 2020.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa, the governor said the decision to close the state’s land borders was part of efforts to prevent coronavirus spread.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has ordered a complete lockdown of the state with effect from Saturday as part of the government’s further measures to prevent the dreaded coronavirus from entering the state.

In a state-wide broadcast to the people on Saturday, Uzodimma ordered the closure of all markets indefinitely and prohibited all forms of marriages.

Bayelsa State Government has announced more measures to check the coronavirus pandemic, imposing a travel restriction from 7pm to 7am with effect from Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory enforcement team on Saturday disrupted a wedding reception at Police Quarters at Wuse Zone 6 in Abuja.

It was learnt that the enforcement team, acting on a tip-off, stormed the venue and “dispersed” the hosts and guests numbering about 300 for violating the ban on public gathering.

The bride and groom were just about arriving when the team got to the scene which was located at a residential neighbourhood.

The FCT Administration had announced the development via its Twitter handle.

“The FCT Enforcement Team which includes security & law enforcement agents has shut down a wedding ceremony happening at Wuse Zone 6.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents on the development, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Strategic Communications to the FCT Minister, Abubakar Sani, explained that no arrest was made.

In Cross River State, the Government has threatened to shut down any church that flouts the order not to open for service on Sunday if its congregation is more than five persons.

According to a statement by Fr Bob Etta, the Senior Special Adviser on Religious Matters to Governor Ben Ayade, a task force will be going round the state to monitor compliance.

While two Muslim clerics were on Saturday arrested for violating the curfew imposed by the Kaduna State Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 popularly called coronavirus in the state.

The two clerics were caught while conducting Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said this while addressing journalists on Saturday.

But hope rose in Rivers State as the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has promised that the state government will consider palliatives in the next phase of intervention against the coronavirus pandemic.

Wike made this promise on Saturday in Port Harcourt when he led members of the state Task Force on Enforcement of the Ban on Public and Religious Gatherings to monitor compliance with the directive of the state government on the closure of markets in the state.

COVID-19 is not God’s judgment, but a call to live differently, pope says

COVID-19 is not God’s judgment, but a call to live differently, pope says

VATICAN CITY — The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is not God’s judgment on humanity, but God’s call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on, Pope Francis said.

Addressing God, the pope said that “it is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

Pope Francis offered his meditation on the meaning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for humanity March 27 before raising a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and giving an extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

Popes usually give their blessing “urbi et orbi” only immediately after their election and on Christmas and Easter.

Pope Francis opened the service — in a rain-drenched, empty St. Peter’s Square — praying that the “almighty and merciful God” would see how people are suffering and give them comfort. He asked to care for the sick and dying, for medical workers exhausted by caring for the sick and for political leaders who bear the burden of making decisions to protect their people.

The service included the reading of the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus calming the stormy sea.

“Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives,” the pope said. “Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them.”

Like the disciples on the stormy Sea of Galilee, he said, “we will experience that, with him on board, there will be no shipwreck, because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things.”

Pope Francis leads a prayer service in an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 27, 2020. At the conclusion of the service the pope held the Eucharist as he gave an extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world). The service was livestreamed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS/Reuters/Guglielmo Mangiapane)

The Gospel passage began, “When evening had come,” and the pope said that with the pandemic and its sickness and death, and with the lockdowns and closures of schools and workplaces, it has felt like “for weeks now it has been evening.”

“Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by,” the pope said. “We feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures; their glances give them away.

“We find ourselves afraid and lost,” he said. “Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm.”

However, the pandemic storm has made most people realize that “we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented,” the pope said. And it has shown how each person has a contribution to make, at least in comforting each other.

“On this boat are all of us,” he said.

The pandemic, the pope said, has exposed “our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.”

Pope Francis holds the monstrance as he gives his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 27, 2020. The blessing was livestreamed because of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS/Reuters/Yara Nardi)

In the midst of the storm, Francis said, God is calling people to faith, which is not just believing God exists, but turning to him and trusting him.

As Lent and the pandemic go on, he said, God continues to call people to “convert” and “return to me with all your heart.”

It is a time to decide to live differently, live better, love more and care for others, he said, and every community is filled with people who can be role models — individuals, “who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.”

Francis said the Holy Spirit can use the pandemic to “redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people — often forgotten people — who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines,” but are serving others and making life possible during the pandemic.

The pope listed “doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.”

“How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility,” he said. And “how many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer.”

“How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all,” he said. “Prayer and quiet service: These are our victorious weapons.”

In the boat, when the disciples plead with Jesus to do something, Jesus responds, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

“Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us,” the pope said. “In this world that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything.

“Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things and be lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet,” Pope Francis said.

“We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick,” he said. “Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: ‘Wake up, Lord!'”

The Lord is calling on people to “put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be foundering,” the pope said.

“The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith,” he said. “We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love.”

Pope Francis told people watching around the world that he would “entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, health of the people, and star of the stormy sea.”

“May God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace,” he said. “Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.”

Introducing the formal blessing, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, announced that it would include a plenary indulgence “in the form established by the church” to everyone watching on television or internet or listening by radio.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven. Catholics following the pope’s blessing could receive the indulgence if they had “a spirit detached from sin,” promised to go to confession and receive the Eucharist as soon as possible and said a prayer for the pope’s intentions.

Vatican worker who lives in same residence as Pope Francis tests positive for coronavirus

Vatican worker who lives in same residence as Pope Francis tests positive for coronavirus

A Vatican worker who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis has been hospitalised after reportedly testing positive for coronavirus.

The clergyman, who has not been named, has lived in the Holy See’s Saint Martha’s guest house for years.

Pope Francis, 83, also uses the building as his residence, to take his meals and for private meetings. He has remained largely secluded since coming down with a cold at the end of last month.

Italy has remained at the epicentre of Europe’s virus outbreak and has recorded more deaths than China due to the disease.

The guest house is being disinfected by Vatican authorities.

The Pontiff, who is said to be in good health, live-streamed a mass at the Santa Marta church this morning.

As well as using the Saint Martha guest house, the pope also visits the Vatican Library to record messages for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

The La Stampa and Il Messagro newspapers said the unnamed person has been hospitalised in Rome and steps have been taken to disinfect the building.

La Stampa additionally reported that Pope Francis has been ‘eating alone in his room for some time’ as a precaution.

‘He spends much of his time in his apartment, and when he moves inside the residence, he keeps the necessary safe distances,’ La Stampa wrote.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told AFP he could neither confirm nor deny the reports.

The official Vatican News website said the number of people infected in the city state has risen to four.

This includes one person who first tested positive on March 6.

‘The new cases include an employee of the merchandise office and two employees of the Vatican Museums,’ the official news site said.

The Argentine-born pontiff has enjoyed a life of good health despite losing part of a lung as a young man and suffered from sciatica – a nerve condition that causes pain in his hip.

The pope gave a video address on Tuesday where he urged Christians not to ‘complain about everything’ or indulge in ‘evil’ self-pity.

Francis said that sloth – marked by carelessness, apathy and self-pity – is a ‘poison, a fog that envelops the soul and doesn’t let it live’, before offering prayers for health workers and priests who have died helping those suffering from coronavirus.

Hours later the pope also ran a mass Lord’s Prayer through an online broadcast to help comfort people amid the outbreak.

The pope has been holding his general audiences and Sunday blessings over the internet and television from the official papal library instead of before crowds numbering tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Source: Daily Mail

Governor Ugwuanyi addresses Ndi Enugu on COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Ugwuanyi addresses Ndi Enugu on COVID-19 pandemic

*Shuts down all educational institutions in the state

*Directs all public officers/civil servants to work from their homes except health workers, Forest Guards, Neighbourhood Watch personnel, Water Corporation staff, Waste Management operatives, staff of Enugu State Emergency Management Agency, Fire Fighters and all those involved in other essential services.

*Suspends all cultural and social gatherings including marriage ceremonies, burial ceremonies, masquerade festivals, drinking bars, night clubs and all group sporting and recreational activities.

*Says that social distancing protocol as advised by Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) should be observed during public religious worship as well as in restaurants and eateries.

*Directs all Local Government Council Chairmen to mobilise their Environmental and Community Health Workers to sustain the ongoing public enlightenment on protocol for prevention of Coronavirus disease transmission in our markets and parks.

*States that all public transport operators in the state are to observe the following rules on passenger conveyance in each instance: (a) Keke – not more than two passengers (b) Commuter buses – not more that two passengers per seat (c) City Cab – not more than three passengers.

*Advises all public places to observe high level of hygiene by use of sanitizers and frequent hand washing as earlier advised by Enugu State Ministry of Health.

* Directs the law enforcement agencies in the state to enforce strict compliance with the above mentioned safety measures.

While noting that “this is a trying time in our world, nation and state”, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the state government in the past weeks has taken proactive safety measures to contain the Coronavirus disease pandemic, through the realease of N330 million for strengthening the Coronavirus disease pandemic; strengthening of the State Emergency Operations Centre led by the State Ministry of Health; establishment of a Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team comprising representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies including local and international partners such as Nigeria Center for Disease Control, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Full text of the address below…

SPECIAL ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF ENUGU STATE ON MEASURES TAKEN BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS DISEASE (COVID 19) PANDEMIC

My good people of Enugu State, good afternoon.

This is a trying time in our World, Nation and State. In the wake of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic, a lot has happened.

Nations in the world have taken stern steps to contain this ravaging public health challenge. Our Nation, Nigeria, is not an exception.

We salute the leadership and courage of Mr. President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and the National Presidential Task Force on Corona Virus Disease in dealing with this global emergency in Nigeria.

In Enugu State, consistent with our commitment to provision of healthcare and preservation of the sanctity of human life, we have in the past weeks taken proactive safety measures to contain the Corona Virus Disease pandemic.

These measures include the following:

Strengthening the State Emergency Operations Centre led by the State Ministry of Health.
The establishment of a Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team comprising representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies including local and international partners such as Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO) , United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

The release of N330,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Thirty Million Naira) only, for strengthening the Corona Virus Disease Preparedness and Response. Out of this sum, N150,000,000.00(one hundred and fifty million naira) only, is dedicated to purchase of additional Ambulances and Incident vehicles; Personal Protective Equipment; upgrade of State Infectious Diseases Isolation Centre; training of Health Workers; advocacy and public enlightenment. The sum of N80,000,000.00 (Eighty Million Naira) only, is for restocking of the State Drug Revolving Scheme while the remaining N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) only, is provisioned for unforeseen public health challenges.

In view of the escalating threat of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic, I, in consultation with the State Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team, Security Agencies and other relevant stakeholders now order the following additional safety measures with immediate effect:

Closure of all educational institutions in the State.
All Public Officers/Civil Servants to work from home till further notice except the following:
Health Workers;
Forest Guards;
Neighborhood Watch Personnel;
Water Corporation staff;
Waste management operatives;
Staff of Enugu State Emergency Management Agency;
Fire fighters; and
All those involved in other essential services.
Suspension of all cultural and social gatherings including the following:
Marriage ceremonies;
Burial ceremonies;
Masquerade festivals;
Drinking bars;
Night Clubs; and
all group Sporting and Recreational activities.

The Social distancing protocol as advised by Nigerian Center for Disease Control should be observed during public religious worship as well as in Restaurants and Eateries.

All local Government Council Chairmen are hereby directed to mobilise their Environmental and Community Health Workers to sustain the ongoing public enlightenment on protocol for prevention of Corona Virus Disease transmission in our markets and Parks.

All public transport operators in the state are to observe the following rules on passenger conveyance in each instance:
Keke – not more than two (2) passengers.
Commuter Buses – not more than two (2) passengers per seat
City Cab – not more than 3 passengers.

7. All public places to observe high level of hygiene by use of sanitizers and frequent hand washing as earlier advised by Enugu State Ministry of Health.

8. The law enforcement Agencies in the State have been directed to enforce strict compliance with the above stated measures.

Residents are advised to make provisions for basic needs while we await further advice from the State Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team. Government will continue to update our people as the need arises.

I commend the efforts of our Health Care Providers for their commitment and dedication to duty as well as resilience in this challenging time.

Ndi Enugu, while I regret the inconveniences that the above measures will inevitably occasion for our people, I enjoin everyone to make these necessary sacrifices to protect ourselves and the future of our world. It is my conviction that the abiding Grace of the most merciful God will see us through this time.
Enugu State is in the Hands of God, and in all we do, we give God due Glory, Honour and Adoration.

Thank you and God bless.

Rt. Hon. IfeanyiUgwuanyi
Governor, Enugu State
24/03/2020

Nigeria reports 10 new coronavirus cases in Lagos, Abuja

Nigeria reports 10 new coronavirus cases in Lagos, Abuja

Nigeria now has 10 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the nation’s health minister confirmed on Saturday.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 22.

“Nigeria has recorded 10 new cases of #COVID19 in Lagos and FCT,” the Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said in a tweet. “That is a total of 22 cases in Nigeria.”

According to the minister, Lagos has 16 cases, while the FCT has three cases.

Ogun state and Ekiti also have two and one cases respectively.

“Two have been discharged,” the Minister said. “All cases are clinically stable and receiving adequate care.”

All ten new cases are Nigerian nationals and nine of them have a travel history to Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, the Minister said.

The 10th case is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

The three cases in Abuja are being treated at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, while the seven new cases in Lagos are being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba.

“All ten new cases have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving treatment,” Dr Ehanire said.

The Minister said contact tracing is ongoing to identify all persons who have been in contact with the confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health has also heightened screening of all air, land and sea points of entry into Nigeria, Dr Ehanire said.

The Minister reiterated, to the public, the importance of social distancing and other necessary precautions, such as frequent hand-washing.