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COVID-19: Third Wave Hint As NEC Allays Fears Of Imminent Lockdown

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As the country prepares for COVID-19’s third wave, the National Economic Council (NEC) confirmed on Thursday that there was no hint of an impending lockdown.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced this to State House media following the virtual NEC meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Sanwo-Olu said the vice president informed him that NEC would call an emergency meeting on the COVID-19 third wave when the necessity came.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had previously cautioned about the spread of COVID-19’s Delta version and the inconsistent application of proven public health interventions, which it claimed was driving up case numbers and deaths.

“We will be reviewing every week, like every two to three days, what the trends are; the chairman of the council has also mentioned to us that if there is a need for an emergency meeting, he will call one.

“But, assurances were given by the NCDC and the Presidential Task Force, working with relevant states like Lagos, to be tracking and monitoring what is happening almost on daily basis.

“So, we do not think that we are there; we do not have any indication that we will get there; so we are preparing ourselves to ensure that as much as possible, we can very quickly flatten the curve,” Sanwo-Olu said.

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The governor added that Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC, had provided a global insight of what had been happening in the past one month, with Nigeria having 168, 552 cases reported as of July 15, and 1,993 active cases.

States had discharged over 140, 000 people, while only 2,124 deaths were recorded so far, the governor quoted the NCDC as saying, in addition to the fact that the positivity rates had gone up, despite the low number of cases in the country.

Sanwo-Olu said Ihekweazu informed NEC that Lagos State had the highest burden of 70 percent to 80 percent of the cases in the country, having recorded increases in the number of cases since 10 weeks ago.

“In the last two weeks, we have seen an increase from a positivity average of about 1.5 percent to positivity average nationally of about 3.5 percent; Lagos has seen a positivity of 5.5 percent in the last two weeks; so Lagos, Rivers, and Kwara from the report have seen increases in positivity rates.

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“It is important for us to know that the Delta variant, which is the new variant, is also in our country and has also been identified in a total of 103 countries globally.

“The Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alfa variant; so, we are watching all the trends and the NCDC and Lagos will be working collaboratively,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Meanwhile, Hajia Umar Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, had confirmed making a presentation to the council on Flood Risk Management Plan, 2021.

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