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812 Healthcare workers infected with coronavirus disease

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75 percent of the patients contracted Covid-19 through unknown sources, 23 percent of patients through contact with people who returned from abroad

65,000 samples tested so far by Nigeria

Fg to deploy Gene Xpert machines to Federal Medical Center Lokoja, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital

About 812 Healthcare workers have been infected with the coronavirus disease.

Meanwhile, over 65,000 samples have been tested in the country.

Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu who disclosed this at the daily Press conference by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja, revealed that 75 percent of the patients contracted the coronavirus disease through unknown sources while 23 percent of patients are contacts of people who returned to the country from abroad and only 2 percent of the infected persons were people that returned from abroad.

He observed 299 deaths so far recorded in the country represent a case ratio of 3 percent adding that Nigeria has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the continent after South Africa and Egypt.

He said, “The easing of the restrictions doesn’t mean easing of the response. Crossing 10,000 number of infected persons is a significant event, these are people, each number represents an individual with a family. We have activated over 30 labs, 60 percent of the cases in the country are in 20 Local Government Areas and have distributed over 40,000 pieces of PPEs. Keep pushing to test more in order to establish where we are in the outbreak so as to strengthen national response”.

Ihekweazu said that the NCDC will continue to do its best to gain access to Kogi State as the pandemic is apolitical.

Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed that the Federal Medical Center Lokoja and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital will be prioritized for the deployment of Gene Xpert machines as soon as the test kits are validated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council, so that citizens in Kogi and Cross River State, among others, will no longer have a shortage of opportunity to be tested.

Ehanire said that government’s observation is that states are at varying levels of readiness and it is important to re-strategize to meet all citizens at their points of need.

The minister noted that government has conducted an analysis of Health Care Worker Infections and identified critical areas for targeted intervention, to include continuous updates and retraining adding that more than 13,000 health workers have been trained, which will result in a reduced rate of infection, especially in the line of duty.

Ehanire disclosed that a team from the ministry led by the ED of NPHCDA and comprising doctors from Departments of Family Health, Hospital Services and Public Health and NCDC, is in Lagos on an appraisal visit, during which a situation analysis will be conducted.

According to him, the team will also visit the contiguous Ogun State on the same mission. The visits are in continuation of similar useful initiatives in the past to Kano, Katsina Sokoto, Jigawa, Gombe, and Borno, to share experience and ideas, align strategy and support each other.

He observed that the Federal Ministry of Health is working with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, to finalize plans on the engagement of existing community volunteers and agents to conduct house to house sensitization on COVID-19 at the community level, especially in high burden Local Government areas of Nigeria, since about 20 LGAs contribute nearly 60% of our COVID-19 positive cases.

Ehanire noted that expanding laboratory and testing capacity all over Nigeria and growing community transmission rate both contribute to the increase in the number of COVID-19 positives we are observing in recent days.

He said, I announced that Nigeria will participate in the COVID-19 drug trial, which the WHO was leading but partly suspended. After consultation with top Nigerian scientists of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee, I am advised that Nigeria has something to add to the body of knowledge around these trials. I have therefore approved the continuation of the trial, as recommended, under strong precautionary conditions to be built into it. The Leadership of the Ministry also had the first briefing with the Ministerial Advisory Panel of Experts yesterday, led by a foremost virologist, Prof. Tomori, and received a series of very useful advisories that will be discussed and shared with Heads of Agencies and Departments of the Ministry”.

In his speech, Chairman of PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha called on State Governments to shape and drive the process of the phase two of eased lockdown approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

He also urged all the employers, employees and leaders of sectors allowed to re-open to diligently comply with non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed in the guidelines and the protocols agreed by State governments.

Boss Mustapha reiterated that the decisions of the President and the guidelines providing the details are both products of a coordinated effort, designed to enable us to achieve a sustainable balance between lives and livelihoods.

He noted that the PTF is conscious of the fact there is a high possibility of members of the public seeing the easing as a signal that COVID is gone, stressing that on the contrary, COVID-19 is still virulent, dangerous and infectious.

He said, “It must also be understood that every individual has a stake and a role to play. We must take responsibility. We must be accountable to self and community on our actions. We must adhere to the guidelines issued, there is a lot of work to be done and enough for everybody. We must all overcome this challenge together. You must take responsibility. Shortly after the briefing of 1st June, 2020, the social media was trending with the photograph of two children wearing discarded PPEs (although it is not certain if the photograph was taken in Nigeria). Significantly, that photograph represents a dangerous development. It underscores the need for more risk communication, community engagement and diligence in the disposal of used PPEs on the part of our frontline workers and the administrators.


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