— Covid-19 variant now in Nigeria– PTF
— More than 4,200 Americans die of Covid- in a day.

By Ononye VC
Worried by the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe and it’s looming effect in Nigeria, Catholic Bishops under the umbrella of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province are taking proactive measures to ward off the deadly pandemic and save the lives of it’s numerous priests and faithful.
In a joint statement issued on January 15,2021,signed by the Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Rev Valerian M Okeke and Most Rev Callistus V.C Onaga,Bishop of Enugu Diocese for and on behalf of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Provincial Bishops,the Bishops said they were painfully aware that the menace of Coronavirus was yet to lessen it’s devastation in many countries of the world including Nigeria and therefore “take this opportune moment to urge all priests, religious and lay faithful of our Province to be extra vigilant and cautious during this very deadly second wave of the pandemic as non is immune to this virus”.
The Bishops therefore released new stringent directives on the Holy Eucharist,use of face mask,number of masses and duration of masses.
Other directives are on Sign of Peace during masses,Holy Communion,washing of hands and confessions.
There are also directives on catechism classes and guidelines for distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Details of the new directives can be read on one of our inside pages.
Meanwhile,Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said Nigeria recorded four cases of COVID-19, B117 variant strain, first reported in the UK.
The PTF chairman made the disclosure at national briefing on Monday in Abuja.
Mustapha said; “over the last few weeks, the PTF had been closely following the rising number of infections reported daily in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions.
“Similarly, our scientists have been sequencing the variants of the virus.
“There have been reports of cases with the B117 variant strain first reported in the UK, found in Nigeria. Three of these were in travelers out of Nigeria and one in a resident,”.
He also stated that the daily statistics for Nigeria as at January 24, 2020 showed that cases were 121,566; total tests so far were 1,270,523; active cases were 22,834, amounting to 19.4 per cent; discharged patients were 97,228 and deaths stood at 1,504.
“Also, over seven days ending Jan. 23, the statistics showed that tests conducted were 58,974 while cases recorded were 11,179, with a positivity of 19.0 per cent.
“62 deaths were recorded, with case fatality ratio of 0.6 per cent; active cases stood at 23,568 at 19.4 per cent.
“All these numbers represent increases from the previous seven days and we are looking at taking further public health containment measures in local government areas that are considered high burden,” he explained.
On the activities of the PTF in managing COVID-19, the PTF chairman said:  “The management of cases is gradually improving with the availability of medical oxygen. Government is also fast tracking the rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new ones as approved by the President.
“The PTF has advanced in the deployment of resources for the national testing week and continues to review the bottlenecks affecting the turnaround time for testing.
“The PTF is improving on the International Travel Portal to minimise the challenges passengers keep encountering,” he said.
Speaking on the phase three eased lockdown, Mustapha said the PTF “is reviewing the guidelines on the implementation of phase three of the eased lockdown which is due to expire today (on Monday).
“In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating, all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, Jan. 26,” he said.
On vaccines, he said the expected 100,000 doses would arrive the country in early February.
According to him, the effort to access and deploy vaccines are progressing and as already announced by COVAX, the initial 100,000 doses Nigeria is expecting will now arrive in the early weeks of February.
“We wish to assure all Nigerians that the vaccines will be safe and effective when eventually it is deployed. We enjoin everyone to join in the campaign to eliminate vaccine hesitancy.
“I have to however, advise all Nigerians that the only source of vaccines that is safe and effective in Nigeria is through the channels of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Please do not patronise any one hawking or marketing vaccines,” he added.
In far away America, more than 4,200 Americans died of COVID-19 as President Biden kicked off ‘100M shots in 100 days’ plan and exactly one year since the first case was recorded in the country
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded its second deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with 4,229 deaths
It is second only to January 12 with 4,327 and marks the third time the daily death toll has surpassed 4,000
The grim milestone comes on the same day Joe Biden was inaugurated was the 46th President
Biden signed a federal order mandating masks on federal property and has pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days after just 17.2 million were given in one month
Wednesday also marked one year to the day since the first case of the virus was recorded in Washington state with more than 24.4 million people since testing positive
Health experts said widespread vaccination could help curb the surge of cases, but rollout has been slow
A recent CDC projection shows that the national daily death toll could rise to between 465,000 and 508,000 fatalities by February 13.
Here in Anambra State,doctors and other medics are battling to ensure the disease does not spread.
Renowned medical consultant and proprietor of MOOM Hospital Ltd,Nnobi,High Chief Dr Michael Omenugha said he had a hectic time convincing rural dwellers that the pandemic was real.
According to him,most of the ailments apart from accident cases were treated with suspicion and in some cases referred for proper examination at designated Covid-19 test centres for appropriate handling and treatment.

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