(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – The outbreak of Covid-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first reported in China and since spread to many countries of the world including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, United States of America and parts of Africa, have thrown nations of the world into jeopardy as desperate measures are being adopted, including national lock downs to check the pandemic.
BBC reports have it that tens of millions of Europeans are living under lockdown, while Germany is to close its borders with France, Switzerland and Austria. In Austria gatherings of more than five people have been banned, while schools and most shops have been ordered to be shut. In the United Kingdom, those who are 70 years and above are to go on self-isolation for an extended period. However, reports have it that voters are going to the polls for local elections in France despite widespread coronavirus restrictions, just as new screening requirements for Americans returning from Europe lead to long queues at airports
From the Vatican, reports say that the traditional Easter week celebrations would be held this year without worshippers due to the coronavirus.
“Because of the current global public health emergency, all the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful.
“Until April 12, the general audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website,” the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household reportedly said in a statement.
Italy, which is said to be hardest hit country in Europe since the outbreak of coronavirus is said to have recorded 1,441 deaths, and more than 21,000 have tested positive.
In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, according to BBC reports has ordered the closure of all non-essential public locations from midnight of Saturday in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and the measure applies to restaurants, cafes, cinemas and discos, as well as non-essential businesses.
Citizens were also advised to reduce their travel, especially between towns, especially after a sharp rise in cases, from 3,661 to 4,499 on Saturday, with 12 more deaths, bringing the toll to 79.
In Spain, government there plans a 15-day national lockdown on Monday to battle the virus, following in the footsteps of Italy. In their own response, the US is extending its European travel ban to include the UK and Republic of Ireland on Monday, according to reports.
Germany has reported 733 more cases – the national total now stands at 3,795, with eight deaths. Berlin, according to reports has banned on all public and private events with more than 50 participants and forced the closure of all bars, cinemas, clubs, gyms, betting halls and brothels.
In Nigeria, the University of Ilorin has instructed its returning international students to go to the University Clinic for medical examination, a measure aimed at checking the spread of the virus in the campus.
The directive, which was made public by Prof. Felicia Olasheinde-Williams, the Director, Centre for International Education, was given in a letter addressed to the international students, adding that the medical test was a pre-condition for the affected students to maintain their studentship with the University.
As nations of the world strategise to check the corona virus pandemic, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, on Friday disclosed that said the Italian index patient was still at the isolation centre, just the Rivers State Executive Council has set up a committee to create awareness for the prevention of coronavirus in the state.
The Commissioner of Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, gave this indication in a chat with told journalists on Thursday, adding that members of the committee are the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim (Chairman), Commissioner for Health, Prof Chike Princewill (Member), Commissioner for Environment, Dr Igbiks Tamuno (Member), Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Barrister Olisa Tasie-Amadi (Member) and Commissioner for Youth Affairs, Ohia Prince (Member).
“This committee is to ensure that citizens of the State in the 23 Local Government areas get adequate information that will stop them from contracting the virus.
“We also use this opportunity to inform members of the public that they need to practice elementary hygiene”, Commissioner for Information and Communication stressed.