London party: Attendees go into isolation as two guests die

The number of people suffering from COVID-19 in the country rose to 51 on Wednesday from 18 on Thursday last week.

The National Centre for Disease Control, on its twitter page on Wednesday morning said, “Two new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: One in Lagos and One in Osun. Both cases are returning travellers to Nigeria in the last 7 days. As of 7am 25th March, there are 46 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria. Two have been discharged with one death.”

At 11:25pm, it said the cases had increased to 51. “Five new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: Two in the Federal Capital Territory, two in Lagos and one in Rivers State. Three are returning travellers into Nigeria and two are close contacts of a confirmed case. As of 11:25pm, 25th March, there are 51 confirmed cases, two discharged, one death,” it stated in its twitter handle.

The centre had on Tuesday said there were 44 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Giving a breakdown of the 44 cases, it said there were eight in Abuja, one in Bauchi State, one in Edo State, one in Ekiti State, 29 in Lagos State and three in Ogun State.

The spread of the COVID-19 and possible contact with infected persons have made prominent Nigerians to go into self-isolation.

Those who have gone into self-isolation include the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki; an industrialist and founder, Eleganza Group of companies, Chief Razaq Okoya; as well as a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba.

The Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Okauru, has also gone into isolation.

Osoba, Okoya, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun and his wife, Bamidele; a veteran musician, Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi; a popular businesswoman, Bola Shagaya and other prominent Nigerians attended the 80th birthday of the Nigerian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, on March 10, 2020.

Osoba, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said it was true that two people, who attended the party, had died, but stated that unnecessary alarm was being raised.

On Tuesday, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and three of his aides became the first set of prominent Nigerians, who tested positive for the virus.

Both of them had two weeks ago returned from Germany, where they might have contracted the disease.

Kyari and the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, had on March 9 in Germany met with Siemens officials over a electricity supply agreement signed with the company.

The news of their diagnosis triggered fear among ministers and governors, who mingled with them at the Federal Executive Council meeting on March 17 and the National Executive Council meeting on March 18.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, top Presidential Villa officials and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who had contact with Kyari went into isolation on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, disclosed that Osinbajo tested negative for coronavirus.

Taking to his twitter handle, @Babafemi ojudu, he tweeted, “Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo tests negative.”

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, confirmed that the Vice-President tested negative.

Fayemi, Obaseki, NGF DG in self-isolation

The NGF Chairman, Fayemi, said that he had gone into self-isolation having been exposed to two people who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

He also said he had been tested for COVID-19 and urged other governors to do the same.

Fayemi urges other govs to take COVID-19 test

Fayemi, on twitter handle @kfayemi said, “I just took a COVID-19 test, having gone into self-isolation since yesterday (Tuesday) evening. I’m asymptomatic and feel well, but I was in meetings with two people who had since tested positive. I have encouraged all my colleagues to take the test.”

Obaseki has also gone into self-isolation and sent his blood sample for COVID-19 test.

His Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, in a statement said Obaseki’s action was because of his contact with the Bauchi State governor and the Chief of Staff to the President.

He said, “The governor has gone into self-isolation after the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, tested positive for coronavirus.

“Osagie state that the governor had met Mohammed at the NGF and the National Economic Council meetings.

Also, the NGF Director-General, Mr Asishana Okauru, said he, his wife and his entire household had gone into self-isolation and would be undergoing coronavirus test.

In a statement in Abuja Okauru said the self-isolation was as a result of his exposure to Mohammed.

He also said all members of NGF secretariat that were exposed to the governor during the last NGF meeting would be observing self-isolation. He encouraged all those who were invited to the NGF meeting for presentations to also do same.

“All members of NGF secretariat that were exposed will be observing self-isolation. We encourage all those who were invited to the NGF meetings for presentations to also do same. By our actions, we hope to encourage others who are exposed and not sure of their status to undergo self-isolation and make themselves available for the test, where applicable,” he stated.

After Justice Oguntade’s birthday party in London Okoya, Osoba go into self-isolation

Chief Demola Seriki, a son-in-law to the founder of Eleganza Group of companies, Chief Razaq Okoya, confirmed this to The PUNCH on Wednesday that the industrialist had gone into self-isolation. Seriki however, said Okoya tested negative for COVID-19.

Seriki, who is a former Minister of State for Defence, said indeed Okoya attended the 80th birthday party of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, on March 10, 2020.

However, speaking to The PUNCH Seriki said, “It is true that Chief Okoya and many others attended the birthday anniversary of Justice Oguntade in London two weeks ago.

“Since the news emerged that two people who attended the party died of coronavirus, Chief Okoya has done a test and he was negative. He is, however, in self-isolation.”

Also Osoba said he arrived in Nigeria on Thursday last week and went into self-isolation as prescribed by the Lagos State Government.

Osoba, who said there was no cause for alarm, stated that at 81 if the virus was in his body it would have manifested because the party took place 15 days ago.

It’s true two people who attended Justice Oguntade birthday party had died –Osoba

Responding to a question, he said, “Yes, I was at the party and it is true that two people had died but a lot of unnecessary alarm is being raised, although, I sympathise with the families of those who died.

It doesn’t follow they contracted COVID-19 at the party –Osoba

“It does not follow that they contracted the virus at the party, they probably might have been carrying it in their bodies and manifested soon after the party.

“But I was there and the party took place 15 days ago and if there is any virus in my body it should have manifested by now. I came back last Thursday almost a week today and as I landed I granted an interview to TVC at the airport, considering the action that the Lagos State Government has been taken, I announced that I will be going into self- isolation immediately.

“I have been in self-isolation since I returned from the UK and I have had no symptom, no cough, no fever nor itches in my throat and I have been keeping to the rules as given by the government of Lagos State that all of us who arrived from abroad should isolate ourselves for 14 days.

I can’t confirm my status –Dele Momodu

Also, Ovation Publisher, Dele Momodu, who attended the birthday party, said he could not confirm his status as doctors refused to administer the test on him since he had shown no symptoms of the disease.

He tweeted, “I have been inundated with phone calls and a deluge of messages regarding an 80th birthday celebration that I attended in London recently.

“It now appears that at least one person who was believed to have had the COVID-19 v attended the party and he has subsequently died as a result of complications arising from the disease and/or other underlying conditions.

“As soon as the news broke, I immediately made arrangements yesterday night to have myself tested for the virus although I have not exhibited any of the symptoms associated with the virus.

“I called a senior Lagos State official and was informed by the relevant authorities that since I had not shown any symptoms in 14 days after the London party,” no test was necessary.

Some others that attended the birthday party include: Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and his wife; wife of a former Governor of Lagos State, Abimbola Fashola; and Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, wife of the immediate past Lagos governor.

A real estate guru, Olu Okeowo; Mrs. Sade Okoya, Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh, and his wife; the All Progressives Congress chieftain, Mrs Kemi Nelson; Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola; a former Lagos Deputy Governor, Sarah Sosan; and Senator Lanre Tejuosho.

The wife of the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Aisha Bichi; Iyalode of Lagos, Bintu Tinubu and former Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and wife.

A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maj.Gen Ike Nwachukwu (retired), and wife; comedian Tee A, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs Hajo Sani; and socialite, Mrs. Nkiru Anumudu; were also at the party.

Okeowo, in a statement on Wednesday said, “If we want to live to be 80, we should stop putting octogenarians in derision. I was at the occasion and I gladly played the organ to celebrate an old friend who has been there for me forever. I am alive and so are my wife and son. And today is day 14 (after the incident).”

I isolated myself –Bola Shagaya

On her part, Shagaya said, “When I came back (from the event), I isolated myself for some days to observe if I would show any symptoms. But after few days without any sign of fever or cough, I came out (of isolation).

Abiodun, wife test negative after London party

Meanwhile, Governor Abiodun and his wife, Bamidele, who attended the birthday party in London few weeks ago, have tested negative.

Abiodun’s wife, who spoke through her press officer, Kemi Oyeleye, said her husband and herself attended the party in London and had subjected themselves to coronavirus test after their arrival.

Oyeleye, who spoke with The PUNCH on the phone said she was directed to tell The PUNCH that there was no cause for alarm.

Oyeleye said, “The party was 15 days ago but the period of manifestation of the virus is 14 days. When she returned, both she and her husband were tested and since then she has had no ailment.

“Even till now none of them has any symptom of the virus and the result of the test has come out negative. She said I should tell you this. And from my observation the way she was talking, she is hale and hearty.”

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