COVID-19 Update: El-Rufai, eight others test positive



• Confirmed cases rise to 90 in Nigeria
• No curfew in Lagos, says Sanwo-Olu
• FG denies payment of N30,000 relief fund
• Ministers donate 50% of salary to combat coronavirus

Governor El-Rufai

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said on Saturday he had tested positive to COVID-19.

He joined eight others who were earlier on Saturday announced  by the  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the latest addition to the list of confirmed cases in the country.

As it is there are now 90 confirmed cases in the country, a rise of nine from the 81 posted on Friday night.

At the last meeting of the Governors” forum, El-Rufai was named the chairman of the committee on how states can cope financially in the wake of Covid-19

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu tested negative.

It was a day the total confirmed cases in the country rose to 89 with  Health Minister Osagie Ehinare, and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, updating  Buhari in Abuja on the latest  status of  the pandemic in Nigeria.

All the 43 ministers in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) have donated  50 per cent of their March salary as their contribution to Federal Government ‘s efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the country.

El-Rufai during a live broadcast said  that he had just received the  result of the sample he submitted earlier in the week and it was confirmed that  he tested positive.

He has subsequently gone into self-isolation.

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He said: “Earlier this week, I submitted a sample for the COVID-19 test and the result came in this evening, and I regret to say that it is positive.

“According to the protocols for managing COVID-19, I am in self-isolation as required by the case management guidelines of the NCDC for someone that is not showing symptoms.

“I wish to appeal to the people of Kaduna State to continue to closely observe the preventive measures already announced.

“It is most important that everybody should do their utmost to stay safe, stay home and stay alive.

“The Deputy Governor is chairing our Covid-19 Taskforce and will continue to issue statements from time to time.”

Confirmed cases now 89, says NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in an update yesterday put the number of confirmed cases in the country at 89,a rise of eight from the number posted on Friday night.

That was before El-Rufai broke the news of his status.

Seven of the new cases are in Lagos and one in Benue.

Lagos currently has 59 confirmed cases, the highest in the country.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday issued a disclaimer on speculations that the state planned to impose a curfew to stem the tide of the infection.

Writing on Twitter, the Governor said: “No curfew in Lagos State. If there is a need for curfew, Government will not hesitate to impose it. For now, everything remains the way they are.”

The governor took delivery of a 110-bed isolation facility on the Lagos Island to take care of confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

The facility was conceived and built in collaboration with the management of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank).

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Managing Director of GT Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje personally handed over the facility to Sanwo-Olu, five days after the bank started its construction at the main bowl of the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Onikan.

He praised the bank’s management for the speed with which the structure was built.

Health Commissioner Akin Abayomi was similarly on Twitter to  shed light on some of the latest cases in the state.

He said: “Lagos confirms 8 new cases of #COVID19 infection on Friday, 27th March, 2020.

“Four of the new cases already on admission at IDH, Yaba include a teenage female with travel history to Holland enroute Northern America via KLM on 18th March, 2020 @NCDCgov and another who had contact with a patient already on admission for #COVID19 treatment.

“Efforts are currently being made by response team @followlasg #COVID19 to isolate and ensure treatment for 2 of the cases.#StaySafe #ForGreaterLagos.”

Benue records first case

The Benue State announced the first confirmed case in the state on Saturday.

Governor Samuel  Ortom  named the patient as Susan Okpe and asked all those who had physical contact with her over the last two weeks to immediately make themselves available for test.

He said Okpe was one of the eight suspected cases from recently returned to the state from the UK.

He said some proactive steps had also been taken to stop the spread of the virus.

These include the closure of all markets in the state from tomorrow although some pharmacies and shops selling essential items will be allowed to operate.

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The governor also announced restrictions on social events such as weddings.

He said such ceremonies should end on the altar.

Burials are restricted to family members only and not more than 30 people.

The Governor asked natives of the state living outside the state should remain where they are.

Ministers donate 50% of March salary

All the 43 Ministers in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) have donated   half of their March 2020 salary to support Federal Government’s initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The donation was co-ordinated by the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki who said the  gesture was to show solidarity and support for Government’s efforts to tackle the disease.

”This global virus outbreak will require nations, continents and smaller communities to pull together to contribute their resources and support one another,” Information  Minister Lai Mohammed quoted Saraki as saying yesterday.

She was confident that the move “will facilitate an early resolution of the problem.”

The Ministers commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role in addressing the pandemic in Nigeria.

Simultaneously, the  Presidency dismissed speculations that government planned to pay each citizen N30000 as relief fund on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina  writing on his Twitter handle said: “Fake news peddlers have concocted a statement, purportedly issued by me, saying FG will pay N30,000 to each Nigerian with BVN, to help them stock up before an impending national lockdown. Not me. The so-called statement is hereby disclaimed.”

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