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A presidential aide has dismissed reports that the federal government would be paying Nigerians N30,000 as relief fund to help them stock up food in their homes.
There were reports on Friday, attributed to the special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, saying that the federal government would be giving stipends to Nigerians with bank verification number (BVN) to buy food items during the stay at home order by the government.
Since the first outbreak recorded in Africa's most populous nation, the Nigerian government - at federal and state level - has embarked on a series of measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
In a tweet on Saturday, Mr Adesina urged Nigerians to disregard the information.
"Fake news peddlers have concocted a statement, purportedly issued by me, saying FG will pay N30,000 to each Nigerian with BVN, to help them stock up before an impending national lockdown. Not me. The so-called statement is hereby disclaimed.what do you think
Public health officials worldwide are watching closely. “China is addressing an issue every country and location in the world will eventually face: how to normalize and restore societal activities, while at the same time minimizing disease-related dangers from the outbreak,” says epidemiologist Keiji Fukuda of the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
New infections now mostly come from outside: More than 500 cases have been confirmed in incoming air passengers since 18 March. At midnight on Friday, China banned virtually all foreigners from entering the country and required all returning Chinese to be quarantined for 2 weeks, whether coming by air or over land. But there is still danger within the country, as well. The smattering of locally transmitted cases shows severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isn’t entirely gone. And the very low case numbers may be deceptive. In its tally, China’s National Health Commission does not include people who test positive for the virus but have no symptoms, and local authorities are reportedly suppressing information on new infections to meet the target of zero local cases.
Still, “I believe that there are few local cases,” says HKU epidemiologist Ben Cowling. But with most of the population still susceptible to infection, fresh outbreaks remain a constant danger. “How to balance getting back to work and a normal state versus maintaining the current status [of few new cases] is certainly critical,” says Ding Sheng, director of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute and dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Tsinghua University.
Officials are relaxing restrictions very slowly and methodically, Ding says. Many restaurants at first reopened with shortened hours and for a limited number of customers; now, doors are open to all. Primary and secondary schools in several provinces have reopened, but only in communities free of the disease, and schools must check students’ temperatures and watch for symptoms. Universities, where students from around the country mix, remain closed, with classes taught online. Events that draw crowds are still banned or discouraged. Live music venues and gyms in many cities remain closed. There are temperature checks at subway entrances and factory gates.
A number of local governments had allowed cinemas to reopen, but last week the national government decided it was too early and closed all theaters for the time being. And habits developed during the epidemic persist. Face masks are ubiquitous. People keep their distance in public and at work. Millions continue to work from home.
To guard against flare-ups, investigators trace and quarantine close contacts of every newly confirmed COVID-19 case, including those who may be asymptomatic, Wu Zunyou, an epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), told the communist party newspaper China Daily earlier this week. In another precaution, everyone visiting fever clinics in Beijing and other major cities is now tested for the virus. And many provinces check the health status of migrant workers and others crossing their borders. “Any new transmission will be identified quickly and controlled swiftly,” Ding says.
Friday’s travel ban—which the government implemented even though it strenuously objected when the United States banned visitors from China in January—addresses the other main risk: reintroduction of the virus from the rest of the world. Flights into China have also been severely curtailed. Chinese citizens who arrive undergo strict screening en route and upon arrival and go into quarantine for 2 weeks.
A European academic who returned to China 1 week before the ban took effect described the process to Science. His temperature was taken twice during the flight and he filled out a form detailing his recent whereabouts, the health status of family members and colleagues, and his use of medications. Another temperature check followed at the Beijing airport, after which the scholar—who asked not to be identified—was escorted to his own apartment for a 14-day quarantine. A community official pasted a quarantine notice across the door jamb, which was removed and replaced for grocery deliveries. Authorities ordered him to a “quarantine hotel” 3 days later, after a fellow passenger on the plane turned positive for COVID-19. The academic remains “very understanding,” and says he was treated well. (He says he also got a lot of work done on COVID-19–related economic studies.)