Nigeria has confirmed another COVID-19 case in Lagos State. The new case is a 30-year-old Nigerian lady who returned from the United Kingdom on 13 March and it is independent of the index case – an Italian who transited through Turkey from Rome. According to the Ministry of Health, the infected person is now at Mainland General Hospital receiving care. The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, said that the new case came in via British Airways. He added that the passengers on the same flight with the UK-returnee should stay at home and self-isolate themselves for 14 days as contact tracing of all passengers and all those who may have come in contact with this latest case has commenced. Nigeria is still refusing to close its borders even as 30 African countries; more than half the continent, are now treating nearly 400 patients with coronavirus, according to Reuters, after Tanzania, Liberia, Benin, and Somalia said they registered their first cases. Many of the African countries, including some without reported cases, have ordered tougher control measures, including bans on public gatherings, halting flights and closing schools and universities.
Doctors in Abuja have gone on an “indefinite strike” over delayed pay and unsafe working conditions. The announcement came just after Nigeria confirmed the third case of COVID-19. The president of the Abuja branch of the doctor’s association, Roland Aigbovo, said it was a “difficult decision”, but that members had not been paid for two months despite repeated “warnings and ultimatums”. The problems stem from a new payroll system introduced by the authorities in Abuja. Other health workers at government-run hospitals in the city were also affected by the pay dispute and would be joining the strike in 48 hours if their demands were not met, Aigbovo said. The doctors’ association said there has been salary irregularities and shortfalls since their migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System by the Federal Capital Territory Association.
Annual inflation in Nigeria rose for the sixth straight month to a near two-year high, the statistics office said on Tuesday, as the impact of the country’s closed borders continued to be felt. Inflation stood at 12.20% in February, compared with 12.13% in the previous month. It is the highest inflation rate since April 2018, when it stood at 12.48%. A separate food price index showed inflation at 14.90% in February, compared with 14.85% in January. “This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, fish, meat, vegetables, and oils and fats,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in its report. Nigeria closed parts of its borders in August to fight the smuggling of rice and other goods. Economists say the move has driven inflation as local food producers have struggled to meet the demand for food in the country of around 200 million people, Africa’s most populous. The central bank monetary policy committee will meet next week to set its benchmark interest rate. It had said it expected to keep monetary policy tight in 2020 to combat inflation and support the currency amidst slow growth of around 2%. But Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer, has been hit hard by low oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on China, with which it has close trade ties.
Bauchi governor, Bala Mohammed, has said that a district head in the state has been killed by Lassa fever. The governor made the announcement during an advocacy visit to the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu. The governor did not, however, give further details of the identity of the district head as he described plans by the CDC to establish a centre in Bauchi. According to the spokesman, the governor said he was currently working on accessing alternative funding from relevant bodies through the support of multilateral bodies and global organisations working in the state.