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Ekiti State heightens surveillance for Lassa fever

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Following renewed outbreak of Lassa fever in some states Ekiti State has heightened its surveillance of the disease.

The National Centre for Disease Control stated on Friday that Lassa fever had killed 80 persons as of Thursday.

It listed affected states as Edo (192), Ondo (150), Taraba (21), Ebonyi (17), Bauchi (15), Benue (8), Plateau (8) and Kaduna (7).

Others are Enugu State (5), Nasarawa (3), Kogi (3), Cross River (1), Imo (1), Anambra (1), Delta (1), and Abia (1).

Dr Oyebanji Filani, Ekiti State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, said in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti that the ministry’s intervention was to nip the incidence of the disease in the bud.

Filani said the measure was to also mitigate the outbreak of the disease in any part of the state.

The commissioner said government was also using the opportunity to alert public on the outbreak and spread of Lassa fever in some states.

“Given the risk of this outbreak escalating across the country, especially during this dry season, the Ministry of Health has intensified surveillance activities.

“Surveillance teams have been notified at the local government area level on how to quickly identify and report suspected cases.

“This is in line with earlier developed emergency operations plan to tackle a possible Lassa fever outbreak in Ekiti State,’’ he stated.

The commissioner added that government was also leveraging on the capacity that had been built during COVID-19 response.

He described Lassa fever as an acute viral haemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.

“Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in healthcare settings when there is the absence of or inadequate infection control measures.

“Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria, so a high index of suspicion is required especially for healthcare workers.

“Healthcare workers are hereby directed to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever while consistently observing standard protocols for infection prevention and control.

“Rapid Diagnostic Tests must be applied to all suspected cases of malaria. When the test is negative, other causes of febrile illness including Lassa fever should be considered.

“Government remains committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of Ekiti State people.

“We urge everyone to take personal responsibility to mitigate the spread of this disease in their communities,’’ the Commissioner added.

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Photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in car crash

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Hollywood actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been involved in a car accident, his spokesman has confirmed.

The four-vehicle crash, which occurred on Friday afternoon, January 21 in Los Angeles left one person with injuries, Los Angeles Police said.

Photos from the scene published by TMZ show a large SUV on top of at least two vehicles at an intersection in Brentwood while the ‘Terminator’ actor can be seen standing nearby.

Police said that no arrest has been made and ruled out the involvement of drugs and alcohol.

Officers did not identify those involved but the actor and former California governor’s spokesman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he was driving the SUV when the incident occurred.

A report by police, seen by CBS Los Angeles, said that the SUV driver was “near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Allenford Avenue, when a collision occurred with a red Prius making a u-turn as he continued through a ‘red arrow’ signal to turn left.”

It added that the SUV rolled on top of the Prius and ended up hitting two other vehicles.

One person was taken to hospital by ambulance, but the injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Schwarzenegger’s spokesman said that the actor was uninjured and had spoken with emergency services and the injured person.

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Governors have no business with removal of fuel subsidy, says Fayemi

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Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, stated on Thursday that state governors had no say in whether or not to keep the fuel subsidy.

During a news conference following a meeting of the Governors, Mr Fayemi made the remark.

The group “concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress on how best to address this issue without causing any dissension but with a view to recovering the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people,” according to the Ekiti State Governor.

However, he argued that the decision wasn’t one for the Governors to make.

“For us at the forum, it is a matter that is a going concern. We don’t have a definite issue on it because it is left to the Petroleum Industry Act. It is not for us. NNPC is now a private company and the company should decide what it wants to do with the price of its products. It shouldn’t really be the business of Governors.

“It is not up to sub-nationals to decide on what happens to PMS pricing. It is an entirely exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.

“However, we are critical stakeholders and we are members of the National Economic Council, so we contribute to debates in the Council.”

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Fuel subsidy removal will cause more hardship for Nigerians, says Abdulsalami

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Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.) has warned that the proposed fuel subsidy removal will cause further harm to Nigerians.

Abdulsalami spoke on Thursday at the 19th Daily Trust Summit in Abuja, pointing out that the country is already facing challenges on multiple fronts.

The Buhari administration has made public its plan to stop the payment of fuel subsidy by June 2022.

However, many stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, feel the move is insensitive and wrongly timed as the citizens are already going through untold hardship.

“Unemployment or underemployment remain at record levels,” General Abdulsalami said, adding “and over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty.

“All of these tend to have negative effects on security.

“In fact, Nigeria now faces a food security crisis that is compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the banditry in many States in Northern Nigeria.

“All of these have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country, and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process and distribute food.

“The result is a continued rise in the prices of food items, beyond the reach of many Nigerian families.

“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC.

“We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.”

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