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We Spend $20 for Each COVID-19 Test, Says NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday said it would target testing two million people in the next three months.

The NCDC DG, Dr  Chikwe Ihekweazu, who said this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, also said it cost between $18 and  $20 to test a COVID-19 sample.

According to him, the cost does not include human resources and other expenses.

Ihekweazu said these as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) sent a team of experts to Kano State on Tuesday barely 24 hours after he imposed two-week total lockdown on the state.

There have been concerns about the  COVID-19 cases and the increasing deaths in the state, which the NCDC and the state government are investigating.

But on Tuesday, the NCDC boss said the Federal Government would step up testing in Kano and other states in the country.

He said compared with  South Africa, Nigeria was lagging behind in terms of the number of people tested for COVID-19.

Ihekweazu said that it would be impossible to achieve the two million target without huge financial support. He said that to achieve the two million target, at least 50,000 samples must be tested in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory within the set period.

He said the ban on inter-state movements, which was announced by the President on Monday, would prevent transmission of the virus to areas where cases had not been reported.

Ihekweazu stated,  “There are four states where we have not confirmed a single case. Our goal is to avoid a single case in any of those states and to keep them exactly that way.

The director general had on Monday listed Nasarawa, Yobe, Cross River and  Kogi as states that had not recorded any COVID-19 case.

But on Tuesday morning, the Nasarawa State Government said the state had recorded a case of the virus.

Admitting that Nigeria was lagging behind in terms of  testing, Ihekweazu  said,  “In order to test two million people in three months, we need to test 50,000 samples per state, depending on population size.”

The NCDC DG said that over the next few weeks, he would be engaging aggressively with all state governments, asking them to work with the PTF in order to increase the capacity to test more people.

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We’re Considering Options for Reopening of Schools – LASG

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, has said the state is considering different options in its bid to reopen schools.

Adefisayo, at the annual ministerial press briefing of the state Ministry of Education on Tuesday, said although the Federal Government would decide when schools would open, the state was putting measures in place to protect pupils.

She said, “Recall that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said schools remain closed. I can’t give you a date when schools will resume in Lagos, but we are working with development partners and ministries of education across the country to come up with a series of protocols on how we will be able to manage when we open schools. So, we are working behind the scene; we have a paper on the protocols and we will start to share as the paper is finally approved in a few days’ time.

“There must be protocols that will address schools with large gatherings. There are many things we are thinking of; we are thinking about pupils not coming to school every day so that we will be able to spread the children across the whole school. Pupils don’t have to be in their class to learn; they can learn in a room with tables and chairs.”

Adefisayo added that a total of 3,000 primary and secondary schoolteachers were recently absorbed into the teaching work force to boost the capacity of the existing work force and provide quality education.

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Bauchi Deputy Governor Tests Positive for COVID-19

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Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Baba Tela, has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Bauchi State governor, Muhktar Gidado, stated this in a media statement made available to journalists in Bauchi on Wednesday.

He said the confirmation was sequel to a test carried out on him by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control when he exhibited noticeable symptoms of the disease.

Gidado said the deputy governor, who is also the Chairman of the Bauchi State Task Force on COVID-19 and Lassa Fever, had since gone into self-isolation.

He said, “This is to inform the general public that His Excellency, Sen. Baba Tela, Deputy Governor of Bauchi State who is also the Chairman, State Task Force on COVID-19 was confirmed positive for coronavirus.

“He contracted the disease while discharging his onerous responsibility as Chairman of the Committee.

“Consequently, His Excellency, Baba Tela has gone into self-isolation in Bauchi and health professionals are properly managing his situation.”

The governor’s media aide said the samples of all his primary contacts have been taken by the NCDC for testing and are advised to remain in isolation pending the outcome of their results.

He said the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has solicited prayers for his deputy and other COVID-19 patients speedy recovery.

“The governor also calls on the citizens to adhere strictly to the protocols against the dreaded virus to curtail its spread in the state,” he said.

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COSON Confirms Majek Fashek’s Death, Flies Flag at Half Mast

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All flags at COSON House in Ikeja, the headquarters of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), are now flying at half mast in celebration of the life of Nigeria’s iconic reggae singer and frontline member of COSON, Majek Fashek, who passed on in New York on June 1.

A condolence register has also been opened at the reception of COSON House for all those who want to pay tribute to the memory of this unique Nigerian artiste to do so. Also, videos of the remarkable performances of Majek Fashek are playing on the various video screens at COSON House.

Speaking on the passing of the reggae legend, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “In various ways, we will celebrate the life of this incredibly talented Nigerian. I hope that before the day is over, I will speak with Randy, his son who lives in New York. We have to deal with the time difference between Lagos and New York and we will make the necessary announcements.

“Everyone knows that Majek Fashek was not just my colleague. He was my friend. He stood by my side and supported me from head to toe over many years. We have shared many memorable moments together. His passing on tears at my heart but I am consoled by the fact that there is no need to immortalize Majek Fashek. He has immortalized himself through his unforgettable songs and lyrics. We will celebrate Majek Fashek to inspire the young people in the creative family”

“There is almost nothing that COSON has done that Majek Fashek did not fully participate in. He was 100% dedicated to the COSON cause. Majek was not just a COSON member by name. He was a COSON member in his heart and indeed. All COSON members across Nigeria and all of our staff at COSON House which he visited regularly, will greatly miss this Nigerian of incomparable talent, the great “rain maker”. Since yesterday, it has been raining across the nation. It has to as the great Rainmaker transits. It is said that Rastas never die. I take it that my brother, friend and colleague, the iconic Majek Fashek has not died, He has travelled and one day, we will join and make music together.”

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