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Coronavirus: Abuja lockdown frustrating – residents

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday ordered a total lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State as a proactive measure to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in Nigeria.

The first day into the 14 days total lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, some residents are already counting their frustrations.

Some of them had resorted to playing some indoor games such as ludo.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday ordered a total lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State as a proactive measure to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in Nigeria.

In compliance to the directive, the residents of Abuja who had appeared in a last-minute shopping on Monday stocked their houses with food items stayed back at home yesterday.

A drive around the metropolis by our correspondent revealed a total compliance to the order by the residents.

Some areas such as Banex plaza in Wuse 11 and Berger Junction, Jabi considered as the busiest places were empty.

The same situation also applied to Area 1 and Area 3 junctions in Garki part of the town.

Similarly, major intracity highways like Nnamdi Azikwe and Ahmadu Bello Way in Wuse were empty except for a few vehicles on essential duty.

Markets, shops and departmental shops were all on lockdown.

However, some big pharmacy shops like H-Medix was rendering skeletal medicals services to the public.

Speaking to newsmen, a resident of Efab Estate in Life Camp, Owocho Ugbaha who is civil servant said that it was boring staying at home all day, sleeping and eating.

He said that though it was frustrating, it was necessary to save the lives of Nigerians.

He said: “It is frustrating because we are not used to it. But there is no other option because we are trying to save our lives. We just have to comply.

“I brought one of my mattresses in the sitting room. I am just lying down and I am not going to take it back to the living room until the 14 days elapse.

“I regretted not looking for some money before now to buy some materials from the market to produce palm slippers. I know how to make slippers. That idea just didn’t strike me.”

Similarly, another resident who simply identified himself as Chris said he had resorted playing some indoor games such as ludo.

“What do we do? It is good health first before wealth and luxury.

“We regret the present situation all over the world. But it is a necessary measure to save peoples lives.

“Even before the total lockdown, some of us had started observing the partial one earlier imposed. I sleep, wake up, eat, play some ludo and sleep again. It is not really easy but what do we do? May God help us”, he said.

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Ekiti coronavirus index case recovers, discharged

The United Arab Emirates has launched a drive-through coronavirus testing facility as part of the Gulf state’s efforts to fight the disease, the Abu Dhabi government’s media office announced.

The index case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ekiti State has been discharged from the isolation centre in the state.

The case is a 37-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus after he came in contact with an American tourist.

After weeks of treatment and monitoring at the isolation centre, the man tested negative for coronavirus.

He was discharged on Tuesday by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ekiti State Ministry of Health.

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FirstBank donates N1 billion to fight against virus pandemic

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the donation of N1 billion to the joint effort by the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Monday.

Adeduntan said the donation was to rapidly expand health facilities, especially for testing, isolation and treatment, in the fight against COVID-19.

He said it was also for the provision of Intensive Care Unit facilities pivotal to controlling the spread and importantly treating individuals diagnosed with COVID-19.

The bank chief said the donation was in addition to the bank’s drive to move one million children to e-learning, together with an early partner – Roducate – as recommended by the Ministry of Education, Lagos State

He said the bank had also reiterated its preparedness to provide essential banking services through its alternative channels to customers in line with the 14-day stay home directive for Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

He said: “We promise to continue to look at all areas of intervention where our business infrastructure, reach, digital platforms and other natural strengths lie and can be deployed to further support all efforts for Nigerians; young and old alike.

“To that end, we will continue to communicate ways in which we can do more together.

“We thank our community of friends, customers and other stakeholders who have continued to send us ideas and initiatives and are gladdened at the solidarity we see as Nigerians come together to tackle this under one umbrella.

“Please stay safe and let’s work together to flatten the curve.”

FirstBank is the premier bank in West Africa and Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion bank for over 125 years.

With over 750 business locations and 44,000 Banking Agents spread across 99 per cent of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers.

It has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

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Nigeria records 20 new virus cases, total now 131

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, disclosed this on Monday on Channels Television, Programme “Sunrise Daily”, while, speaking on COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Nigeria has recorded 20 New cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 131.

Announcing this Monday night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said 13 of the cases were from Lagos, four from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, two from Kaduna and one from Oyo State.

It said: “As at 09:00 pm March 30, there are 131 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 2 deaths.”

Of the 131 cases, Lagos currently has 81, FCT 25, Oyo eight, Kaduna and Ogun three each, Enugu, Edo, Bauchi and Osun two each, while Ekiti, Rivers, and Benue have one each.

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Israeli premier to enter quarantine after aide tests positive for coronavirus

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the International Criminal Court of anti-Semitism on Sunday over its chief prosecutor’s plan to pursue a war crimes probe in the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go into quarantine as one of his advisors was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the prime minister’s office said on Monday.

It was not immediately clear if Netanyahu was in close contact with his advisor, Rivka Paluch, during the last two weeks.

However, “to remove any doubts,” his office said, Netanyahu and his close team will stay in quarantine “until the epidemiological investigation is concluded.”

Earlier, the office said Netanyahu and Paluch were not in the same room lately.

Netanyahu was leading efforts to halt the coronavirus spread in Israel while struggling to finalise a new coalition government with his former opponent, leader of the centrist Blue and White party Benny Gantz.

Mr Netanyahu is also facing a criminal trial set to begin on May 24.

He is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases.

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Gani Adams: South-West under attack

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Aare Ona Kakanfo, Gani Adams, has called on the Federal Government to launch a probe into the recent explosion in Eleyowo area of Akure, Ondo state and other recent ones in the Southwest part of the country.

According to the Yoruba leader, the recent three blast which occurred in three States in South-West are beyond ordinary blasts, contrary to the claim of government.

Adams who made the appeal in a statement he issued on Sunday while reacting to the latest blast in Akure, Ondo State Capital, which, according to him, was not an ordinary blast, but a suspected bomb blast, which must be duly investigated.

He said, “it’s unfortunate that such incidences are coming at this trying period of coronavirus across the globe, emphasising that, investigation at his disposal has it that, those behind the bomb blasts are now targeting other South-West States, hence the need for all Governors and indigenes to be at alert.

“We are not convinced that, all these are ordinary blast, but a bomb and therefore it is important and necessary for government to carry out proactive investigation on these incidents which occurred in spate of three weeks in Lagos, Ekiti and Ondo States”, Adams declared.

Adams, while buttressing his claim with the Lagos blast, said from records, a pipeline fire is expected to burn houses, and not uprooting houses from foundation as it occurred in Lagos, adding that, in view of that, it was beyond pipeline burst, but bomb blast.

He also posited that, the Ekiti incident was of same pattern, which should not be attributed to ordinary blast, stressing that the incidences are becoming rampant in South-West, and therefore, the government should not fold its arm, before the situation gets out of hand.

“I was at the Lagos incident, and I am not convince that, it’s not ordinary pipeline fire. From history if there is pipeline incident, fire will only consume building,destroy properties and not pulling down buildings to it’s foundation. Also on the Ondo State incident, we are not convince of the commissioner of police submission.

“South-West Governors should be vigilant. Information at our disposal has it that, other South-West are the next target. Federal government should diligently investigate the incidences,”, Adams declared.

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President Buhari asks governors to nominate doctors, nurses for training on coronavirus

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the federal government will provide relief materials for residents of Lagos and Abuja whom he ordered to stay-at-home as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed state governors to nominate doctors and nurses in their various domains for training on COVID-19.

Buhari gave the directive on Sunday evening during a special broadcast to the nation, even as Nigeria’s confirmed cases of coronavirus infections hit 97.

Reeling out the various measures that the Federal Government was taking in combating the rampaging pandemic, the President said, “I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all state governments to nominate doctors and nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.

“This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.

“As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional,” the retired general said.

He also stressed the need for consistency in approach across the nation, noting, “All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and state agencies will be eliminated.”

Buhari commended the health agencies in the country, saying they were currently working hard to identify cases, as well as people who had been in contact with confirmed cases.

Before the latest directive, Buhari had announced his regime’s plan to reabsorb retired doctors and nurses to help in the fight against the global pandemic.

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Pastor arrested, 16 churches closed down by task force in Abuja

In order to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the enforcement team of the FCT administration, on Sunday, arrested the General Overseer of the Jesus Reign Family Church located at Apo, Abuja, Pastor U U Uden for violating the ban on places on worship.

Chairman, Ministerial task force, Ikharo Atta, who confirmed this to newsmen in Abuja, said the church was located not too far from the popular Cedacrest hospital and was fully in session when the team arrived.

According to him: “Members of the ministerial task team waited for the pastor to conclude the worship before approaching him to explain his wrongs and immediately arrest him.

“He was immediately taken to the FCT police command at Garki and handed over to policemen on duty.

“The team also dispersed worshippers at the Christ Embassy church located at Jahi district of the FCT,” he added.

Attah lamented that despite the presence of the team, the pastor continued the service to the end while the team waited to avoid confrontation.

He said the pastor was, thereafter, arrested and taken to the FCT police command headquarters at Garki, Abuja.

“The team also shutdown the Popular H-Medix pharmacy located close to the popular Amingo supermarket at Wuse 2 district of the FCT following complaints received at the FCT COVID-19 situation room that the pharmacy does not have short-gun thermometer and required items to ensure the safety of customers and staff,” he stated.

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Mattia Binotto: F1 could race into January if necessary

Formula One could shorten grand prix weekends and race into January if that helps salvage a season ravaged by the coronavirus, according to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

Formula One could shorten grand prix weekends and race into January if that helps salvage a season ravaged by the coronavirus, according to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

The opening race in Australia on March 15 was cancelled and the showcase Monaco Grand Prix in May has also been scrapped, the first time since 1954 that it has not featured on the championship calendar.

A further six rounds have been postponed, and more look likely to follow with countries in lockdown, but Formula One bosses have said they hope to get back on track some time in the European summer with a reduced season of 15 to 18 races.

Binotto told Sky Sports Italia that the teams had given the Formula One powers-that-be complete freedom to do what was necessary to have a championship.

“We are in constant dialogue,” he said. “I have felt, along with the other team principals, that these are decisive moments.

“We’ve decided to give complete freedom to (Formula One chairman Chase) Carey and the FIA to put together as soon as possible a timetable for us to get racing again, we are willing on our side.

“We’re assessing various ideas; races closer together, maybe doing two or three races in January, considering also the option of cancelling (Friday) practice.”

Formula One needs a minimum of eight races for a valid championship and the 2020 season is currently due to end in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 29.

The sport normally has a break until launches and pre-season testing in February but, with cars now remaining the same in 2021 with major rule changes deferred a year to save money, there would be little need for that anyway.

“If this allows us to guarantee a more complete 2020 world championship, with the following season not starting until March, there is great availability for that,” said Binotto.

The 2020 championship was originally meant to have a record 22 races, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton hoping to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles and surpass the Ferrari great’s unprecedented 91 wins. Hamilton so far has 84 wins.

The Briton could be kept waiting on both accounts if the sport is unable to put together enough races.

Former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters on Friday that he would be very surprised if the sport managed to put together even a reduced season of 15-18 races.

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Peace Mass Transit announces shutdown

Transport firm, Peace Mass Transit, has announced that it will be shutting down operation in Enugu and Ebonyi states from Sunday.

Transport firm, Peace Mass Transit, has announced that it will be shutting down operation in Enugu and Ebonyi states from Sunday.

The firm said in a statement that it would be stopping other routes on Tuesday.

While appealing to its customers, the firm said it had to take the painful decision because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement read in part, “To give full effects to global efforts to control the spread of the Coronavirus, PMT, would be suspending operations in Enugu and Ebonyi states, in the first instance, on Sunday, March 29,2020

“Operations in all the other states and terminals would be similarly affected on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Resumption of normal operations would be communicated to the public in due course.”

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