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Presidential task force denies linking Kano mass deaths to COVID-19

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Buhari. Photo; TWITTER/NGRPRESIDENT

Recruits 3300 informants, to establish treatment centres in states

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has debunked media reports attributing the mass deaths in Kano to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its National Coordinator, Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, had reportedly been quoted as saying the majority of the bereavements recorded so far in the state were traceable to the novel coronavirus.

The denial came as the Governor Abdulahi Ganduje administration directed managements of public and private hospitals to reopen clinical services to non-COVID 19 patients in the state.

During a press briefing yesterday in Kano, Gwarzo insisted that he was misquoted, adding that he could not have pronounced the cause of an incident of that magnitude through the media when the mandate rests solely on the shoulders of the state government.

The incidents had attracted global attention, with no fewer than 600 bodies believed to have been buried in seven days.

The strange deaths had cut short best brains in the state, including professors, business moguls, captains of industry and several unsung heroes in the society.

The state government had insisted that the unprecedented fatalities were unconnected to underlying ailments, including diabetes, hypertension, malaria and pneumonia.

But Ganduje, who regretted the sending away of other classes of patients by the medical facilities, pointed out that such practice could worsen the situation on ground.

He said fears of contracting the deadly virus and shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) that informed the shutting down of the hospitals in the first instance had been addressed.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, had on Monday implored the state government to facilitate the reopening of the health facilities to avert a total paralysis.

Meanwhile, three weeks after being admitted at the Kano isolation, three patients that initially tested positive for COVID-19, have been given a clean bill of health.

The state task force coordinator, Dr. Tijani Hussain, made the information available to reporters yesterday in the ancient city.

Besides, the PTF has mobilised 3300 informants to conduct a house-to-house search for suspected coronavirus cases in the state.

Its chairman, Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure yesterday when he appeared before members of the House of Representatives probing the mysterious deaths in the North West state.

He further unveiled plans by the body to establish state-of-the-art intensive care units and treatment centres in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), restated government’s resolve to upgrade molecular laboratory facilities nationwide and ensure that a COVID-19 test centre was available in every state through utilisation of the existing GeneXpert machines.


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