Hassan Bello

The first phase of  COVID-19 sensitization by the Nigerian Shippers Council for the maritime community was rounded off last Friday 15th May.

The 3-day programme which started on Wednesday the 13th of May, 2020,  kicked off at the Headquarters of the Council with the Executive Secretary (ES/CEO), Mr. Hassan Bello, joined by the Council’s Directors of Regulatory Services and Consumer Affairs, Ms. Ifeoma Ezedinma and Chief Cajetan Agu respectively,  presenting hand gloves, sanitizers and masks to the leaders of seven trucking associations.

Addressing the participants, the Executive Secretary stated that NSC considered it part of its responsibility to ensure the safety of truckers as they are silent facilitators of Nigeria’s economy. He commended them for their cooperation in acceding to NSC’s request to reduce their fees during the period of the lockdown.

He reminded them that they are primarily responsible for their own well-being,  urging them to do everything to stay safe as their families and the nation need them.

Responding on behalf of the trucking associations, Comrade Stephen Okafor, Coordinator of Committee of Maritime Truck Unions & Associations, (COMTUA) commended the NSC boss, describing him as a partner in progress. He assured him of their cooperation in resetting Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 economy.

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The sensitization programme then moved to the terminals and shipping companies where the NCDC hygienist, Moji Ayorinde under the direction of Dr. Everistus Aniaku who is the head of emergency operations and National Response Team on COVID-19 in Lagos State, gave talks on how to protect oneself from contracting COVID-19. She demonstrated the correct method to wear a mask, hand washing, hand sanitization and physical distancing among others.

The attentive audiences at the various locations engaged the NCDC team with questions as well as seeking clarifications. Over 100 stakeholders attended this first phase of the programme. Participants were made up of freight forwarders and staff of the shipping companies and terminals.

Participants are expected to brief their members of the lessons as the dictates of physical distancing could not allow for all stakeholders within the different terminals and shipping companies to attend the sessions. Participants received masks and sanitizers courtesy of Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

In another development, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Sunday night, recorded 338 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 5959.

The NCDC also said that six new patients have been confirmed dead to the virus in the country, bringing the total number of deaths to 182.

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According to the health agency, the 338 new cases were confirmed in 18 states.

The 338 new cases were reported from: Lagos(177), Kano(64), FCT(21), Rivers(16), Plateau(14), Oyo(11), Katsina(9), Jigawa(4), Kaduna(4), Abia(3), Bauchi(3), Borno(3),Gombe(2), Akwa Ibom(2), Delta(2), Ondo(1), Kebbi(1), Sokoto(1).

The NCDC stated that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The health agency said that till date, 5959 cases have been confirmed, 4183 Active Cases, 1594 cases have been discharged and 182 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The health agency announced the inclusion of the 26th laboratories to the national COVID-19 Laboratory Network.

It said that the 26th Laboratory is the Accunalysis Diagnostic Centre, Anambra State.

The health agency said that in progress were Katsina, Kwara and Gombe states into its National COVID19 Laboratory Network.

According to it, for states that do not have a laboratory, samples are transported to the nearest state with a laboratory for testing of COVID-19.

However, the NCDC is working hard to ensure that there is a laboratory for the testing of COVID-19 in each state.

NCDC said that this will enhance access to testing and shorten the time for confirmation of result. Currently, the turnaround time is between 48-96 hours.

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Testing conducted through a laboratory within the NCDC network is offered free of charge.

“Where do people go to get tested? If you are showing known symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you are a close contact of a confirmed case, call your state helpline.

“The state officials will advise on the nearest testing centre or advise if a trained health worker will come to you to collect your sample,” it stated.

NCDC said that it also has created a directory of all state helplines which can be accessed via https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/contact

The health agency said that one of the most important things Nigerians needed to remember while awaiting their test result is that the need to protect their loved ones.

“While awaiting your results, it is important to self-isolate from friends and family. Practice frequent hand washing; wear a face mask to limit the spread of infection to your loved ones and others; and ensure the home environment is properly and frequently cleaned with disinfectant.

“If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, you must continue to adhere to preventive measures as recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC,” it advised

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