NO fewer than 2,000 persons have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Wednesday.
He said the country’s diagnostic capacity was being expanded.
Ehanire spoke during the Presidential Task Force briefing in Abuja.
He said 70 per cent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 were males.
“Over 2000 persons have been tested. We are expanding our diagnostic capacity to test across the country. This is expected to improve turnaround time and enhance timely access to testing.
“About 70 per cent of those who have tested positive are males. The age range is between 30 and 60 years. However, we must note that both men and women of all ages can be affected.”
Enahire said nine persons have been discharged and two deaths recorded from COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The dead had severe underlying illnesses aggravated by their COVID-19 infection, he said.
“Between last week and this, two new laboratories have been added to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19.
“These are Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State and Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi State.
“With this addition, we have increased our daily testing capacity from 500 to 1,000. Hopefully, by next week, it is expected that this will be significantly increased.
“From what we know, the incubation period for COVID-19 is generally two-14 days, that is, the time it takes for an infected person to show symptoms.
“Therefore, we are using the window of opportunity presented by the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States to promptly detect, isolate and effectively treat cases.”
The minister said there were no available Rapid Diagnostic Tests have been validated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Unless you have been tested in one of the seven molecular laboratories for COVID-19 in Nigeria, your results are most likely useless.
“In the absence of a vaccine, interventions such as social distancing and self-isolation have become even more important to curbing the spread of the disease.”
Enahire said with nearly 1,000-bed spaces in the FCT, the number of isolation centres and intensive care units (ICUs) across the country were being expanded.
He said they were mainly for those who may have severe complications from the disease due to being immunocompromised, such as those above 70 or those with critical underlying health conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis and HIV.
“Several states have also identified and established isolation centres for the treatment of mild and moderate cases.
“Lagos State has expanded its isolation wards and surge capacity. Yesterday, the Ogun State Governor commissioned isolation centres of over 200 bed capacity in the state.
“I urge states to urgently prioritise identification of these within their states, particularly tertiary hospitals.”
According to the minister, hundreds of ad-hoc staff have been engaged, while Port Health Authority staff previously stationed at the airports have been redeployed to key roads that serve at key entry and exit points.
The minister said the national case definition for COVID-19 has been expanded to include persons with acute respiratory illness in an area with a medium or high prevalence of the disease.
NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the burial of someone who died from COVID-19 is not as risky as that of Lassa fever or Ebola.
“We have released an advisory on burials for COVID-19, but it doesn’t have the same level of infectivity of Lassa or Ebola because it is not transmitted through body fluids, but it is a viral infection and transmitted through the respiratory tract.
“It doesn’t die with the person. The virus survives a while. We still advise on a fairly safe burial but the risks are not as high as Lassa and Ebola,” he said.
School reopening: FG considers morning, afternoon classes
As the nation continues its fight against Covid-19, the Federal Government has disclosed that it is thinking of sectionalising classes for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country ahead of school reopening amid the pandemic.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba on Wednesday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
While faulting reports that schools would reopen in the country on June 8, the Minister said the government could not afford to take any costly risk, especially as it regards the safety of pupils and students in the country.
He said, “Until we are sure these children can go to school, return safely and not bring up with them COVID-19 and infect people who are more susceptible than they are, then we are running a huge risk and God forbid, in our hurry, something happens to our children, I am not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what has been lost.”
Nwajiuba said the ministry is being guided by the advice of experts as well as those of the World Health Organisation, noting that the decision to reopen schools in the country would be carefully arrived at because education is on the concurrent list of the Nigerian Constitution.
He appealed to private owners of schools in the country to co-operate with the government in ensuring the safe reopening of schools in the country.
“We are going to publish a specification on what we expect COVID-19 or post-COVID-19 reopening to look like. We are not talking about coping with COVID-19 but in spite of COVID-19, we expect that we will adapt.
“For a country that has over 115,000 primary schools, you will understand that 35,000 of these who are private must agree to set up the same standard in other to allow children to go in.
“We may have classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon so that we will have the whole of the infrastructure divided provided they can serve us. I am not sure we will have classes at night. But we can do with morning and afternoon for now,” he explained.
Covid-19: Cases in Oyo firm, iSON Xperiences, rise to 151
The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has confirmed two more COVID-19 cases from iSON Xperiences and one case each from Ibadan South West and Egbeda Local Government Areas of the state.
Governor Seyi Makinde, who made the disclosure via his verified Twitter handle, on Tuesday, said the total number of confirmed cases in Oyo State had risen to 244.
The number of cases from iSON Xperiences is 151.
The governor wrote,
“The COVID-19 confirmation tests for four suspected cases came back positive. Two are from iSON Xperiences and one case each from Ibadan South West and Egbeda local government council areas.
“The total number of confirmed cases in Oyo State is 244.
“Please call the Emergency Operations Centre if you have any COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, tiredness, body ache and shortness of breath.”
Expect delays, long hours of checks, re-checks, FAAN warns ahead of airports reopening
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said it has put in place arrangements on passenger facilitation, ahead of the resumption of flights.
The General Manager Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, stated this while speaking at an aviation webinar organised by Women in Aviation (WIA) Nigeria with the theme: “Aviation: The New Norm in the post-COVID-19.”
Yakubu warned passengers to expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks from when they arrive at the airport until they depart.
She said noted escorts of VIPs would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal.
“We are going to expect flight delays, flights will experience delays from checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveller to leave home hours before his flight. Why do I say this?
“Because there is going to be a lot of checks in the front of the terminal we have been told that some may activities and procedures will take place in front of the terminal. So air travellers are expected to leave home very early so that they can get to the airport on time,” Yakubu said.
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