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Lagos, two others account for 52 % of Covid-19 deaths nationwide

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Osagie Ehanire


Chinese doctors with construction firm, chief executive clarifies
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, yesterday disclosed that Lagos, Kano and Borno states account for 52 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths recorded so far in the country.

Speaking at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the minister observed that Nigeria, as at yesterday afternoon, had recorded 182 deaths in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Represented by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora, Ehanire submitted that about 60 per cent of all the confirmed cases were between the ages of 21 and 50 years, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had developed a sub-national risk-based decision-making matrix for assessments at the states and local councils.

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He added that the disease centre had trained first aid workers for all religious groups in Gombe State as well as supporting the screening of almajirai coming into Jigawa.

The minister added that the NCDC was collaborating with development partners to engage influential religious leaders in Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara to complement the mobilisation activities of “our community health workers.”

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited, Michael Jiang Yigao, has said the 15 Chinese medical experts that arrived the country on April 8 this year were with the firm.He made the clarification yesterday in Abuja. There had been reports from different quarters since May 14 regarding their whereabouts.

The response was also a reaction to Ehanire’s reported remarks that the doctors were not his guests, and as such “reporters should not bother his ministry over the whereabouts of the Chinese medical experts who came into Nigeria to support the fight against COVID-19.” He had noted: “Mr. Ehanire, while responding to questions at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, said the medical personnel are not guests of the Federal Government but of the construction company.”

Yigao equally confirmed that the experts came into the country “to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19, though some Nigerians had kicked against the government’s decision to invite them, saying the country had enough doctors to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) described the move as embarrassment to the membership of the association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions,” he added.

The company chief executive therefore maintained that the team “came specially to help CCECC fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect its employees across the country, and the team had a telecast meeting with the Minister of Health to share their experiences in China on how they are fighting the virus and the meeting was very positive.”

He went on: “They are here with us and have continued to teach our staff on how to protect themselves because prevention is more important than the treatment. The workers understand the situation now, and they know the risk. So, they follow the proper procedures and cooperate with their instructors.”

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Similarly, he said the medics would be heading home as soon as there was a commercial flight to fly them down. He praised the Federal Government on its containment of the disease so far, noting: “In a big country like Nigeria, it can be a bit difficult to control a pandemic because you will have to make all the people of such a large country understand that it is a serious and real thing.”

Yigao further said: “They are very seriously and we can see it in the implementation of the lockdown, the suspension of international flights etc. The relationship between Nigeria and China has been strong. Therefore, the company will want to build on that strong relationship.

“Upon request from the Nigerian government, we gave necessary support like building treatment centres, and at the same time, delivered some health-related equipment.

“We understand the COVID-19 pandemic challenge in Nigeria because we are based here, and have a lot of employees.“And we do believe that with efforts from the government and the people, we will win this situation. “We hope the people of Nigeria understand that they need the help of all people across the world to win this fight against coronavirus.”

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