COVID-19 rising cases: Increase isolation centres, FG appeals to states


The federal government has appealed to state governments to increase the number of isolation centres as the cases of COVID-19 rose to 2,950 on Wednesday.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who made the appeal at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19 in Abuja, said rising cases were as a result of community transmission of the coronavirus.


“The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria has continued to rise not unexpectedly, in view of prevailing circumstances in certain states. As at 11pm on May 5, 148 persons had tested positive, bringing the total to 2,950 confirmed to have COVID-19 in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.


“We are encouraging and supporting states to increase the number of isolation centres nationwide, and we are extremely grateful to corporate organisations and philanthropists who have donated isolation facilities, diagnostic equipment, commodities and sundry supplies relevant to our response efforts to COVID-19 threat.


“We are clearly in community transmission phase, where much now depends on individual and collective behaviour and the urgency of behaviour change communication becomes apparent. Knowledge so far gathered about COVID-19 needs to be converted into practice, because our safety, now more than ever, depends on all of us,” he said.
The minister said there was the urgent need for people to adhere to health advisories by wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, practicing hand washing or sanitizing, and observing standard respiratory hygiene.
He said there was the need for people to avoid crowded places and all manner of non-essential travel as well as reporting to the authorities when they feel unwell or someone close to them has symptoms of infection.


“If not, we expose ourselves and our loved ones to risk and inadvertently increase the period this virus will be with us and make life worse for all of us. For example, large crowds reported at certain events and the movement and repatriation of persons from one state to the other, do contribute to the problem and do not indicate a good understanding of the urgency of the situation.


“Therefore, I again appeal for considerate and responsible social adjustment to the challenges Nigeria faces. While we are striving to increase our testing capacity, we have noted the complaints about turn around time to get the results of tests conducted. We are doing what we can to resolve them.
“We have also continued to train and retrain our health care workers as well as provide them with the necessary personal protective equipment. Community mobilizers have been deployed at the grassroots to continue to sensitize our people through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
“We are encouraging and supporting States to increase the number of isolation centres nationwide, and we are extremely grateful to Corporate Organizations and Philanthropists who have donated Isolation facilities, diagnostic equipment, commodities and sundry supplies relevant to our response efforts to COVID-19 threat. One example is the This day Dome, which has been purposed by donors, to be a 320 bed Isolation Center with a 10 bed ICU, which is to be commissioned next week to significantly ease the supply of bed spaces,” he said.


The minister said progress has been made by government and health authorities in containing spread of the Coronavirus in Kano state.
“With regard to Kano, progress has been made in collaboration efforts with the State EOC to restore routine medical services to hospitals and further drive the ongoing investigations.
“Organised ambulance service is already in operation  bringing relief to citizens who need to access medical services, especially in view of restrictions of movement and also in emergency situations.
 “The Fedeal Ministry of Health is sending supporting teams to Sakoto and Katsina for training and capacity building in case management and Infection prevention and control in the hospital setting. Other States shall follow at short intervals, to assist the State Ministries of Heakth in their response to the COVID-19 threat,” he said.

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