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Deady COVID-19 Indian Variant Now In Edo State-Report



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A professor of virology, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, has revealed that the deadly Indian COVID-19 variant has already entered Nigeria.
Tomori, who revealed this to our correspondent, said Nigeria has recorded five cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant in Osun and Edo states.
“The NCDC has discovered the India strain in Nigeria, but nobody is telling you that. This is the kind of message we should be telling Nigerians, that the Indian strain of COVID-19 is here with us,” he said.

According to him, if Nigerians decide to observe celebrations like Sallah, the country may end up like India.

“Remember what happened in December 2020 when Nigerians decided to celebrate Christmas, travelling from one place to another and then in January we had a surge of cases and people started dying due to COVID-19. We need to learn from India. The people of India let down their guards and we all can see the consequences of their actions,” said Tomori.

The virologist further stated that Nigeria is not carrying out enough tests, hence the reason for the low figures of COVID-19 cases recorded in Nigeria.
“Imagine in a whole state, NCDC only reported one sample in a week. Also, in the 36 states of the federation, only three states are reporting or testing for the last two to three months. So the low figures of cases reported was because we are not testing.

“There is increasing cases of people who want to travel but could not because they are COVID-19 positive. This should tell us that COVID-19 is still very much with us,” he added.

Tomori, however, commended the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 for the re-introduction of the restriction of movement and gathering to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

“This is the first time I am fully supporting the government. We shouldn’t let down our guards. I commend the PSC, they are doing the right thing for the first time and I fully support them,” he said.

The university don noted that the federal government had not stopped Nigerians from going about their businesses, saying, “All it did was to stop mass gatherings to curb the spread of the virus.

“What the government has done has nothing to do with insecurity. The facts are there. A lot of Nigerians believe that there is no COVID-19 in Nigeria. They are fooling themselves. What the government just did was to ensure that we don’t let down our guard.

“The government has done the needful; it is left for Nigerians to observe the precautionary measures put in place, because if the virus keeps spreading, new variants may spring up that the vaccine can’t protect us against, making the vaccination exercise a wasted effort,” he added.

Also, the chairman, management committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, Dr Ejike Orji, describe the PSC’s decision as a step in the right direction.

“You don’t wait until you have an emergency on your hands before reacting,” he said, adding that there are parameters the government would have looked at and felt that the best thing was to have a restriction.

“If you see how the thing goes, it goes up and comes down. When there is a restriction it comes down because there is reduced transmission, and when people become relaxed and careless, it goes up.

“If you watch now, people are not wearing mask; if we are not careful, it may go up again. See what is happening in India; we don’t need to wait till we get to where India is now.”

Dr Orji, however, pointed out that the country had not done enough public education and community engagement on the matter.
“There is nobody you will tell that he will die and he will go and fall inside fire. That is where I think we should invest our money,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is yet to confirm the existence of the Indian variant in the country.

An effort to get a reaction from the NCDC by our correspondent proved abortive as the director-general was not answering his calls and did not respond to the text send to him.

It had, however, cautioned Nigerians to adhere to public health and social distancing measures to prevent the emergence of new variants.
Lagos Chamber Of Commerce, Others count Losses To New Restrictions

The director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said that restriction will disrupt a number of businesses, especially as many of them have not recovered from the previous shock of both the pandemic and other macro-economy problems.

Taking the issue of curfew, Yusuf said this has no bearing with COVID-19 containment measures.

“What do we want to achieve when we say people should not move from midnight to 4am whereas they can move from 4am to 11pm?” he asked.
Yusuf stated that a lot of goods movement take place at night, especially trucks, because the traffic is lighter at night.

“When you shut down the night, what do we want to achieve as this is unnecessary. Of course, all the event centres and restaurants, this will again affect their operations.”

He, however, admitted that the measure was for public good.

“We must understand that this is in our own interest and for our health, but it should be done in a way that it will not be too disruptive to the economic life of the people,” he said.

According to a financial analyst, Dr. Timi Olubiyi, the restriction will affect the economy negatively.

“It may further creative inflationary pressure,” he said, noting that when transportation is hindered, it will have a negative impact on the pricing of goods.
According to him, food trucks move round the clock and restricting their movement would have consequences.

Olubiyi stated that the government has done right, just that there are no palliatives to support those restrictions, saying the government needs to do more in the area of palliatives to support their policies on COVID-19.

He added that people and companies would adhere if they have expectations of palliatives.

Credit Leadership

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