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PTF debunks attributing Kano mass deaths to COVID-19

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The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 team in Kano has debunked media reports attributing the prevailing mass deaths in Kano to COVID-19.

“The team is suffering from challenge of rumour. Yesterday some newspapers reported wrongly that the team roll out the percentage of people who died as a result of COVID-19,” PTF team lead in Kano Nasiru Sani Gwarzo said on Tuesday.

“That is not true. What we told journalists was the team is embarking on studies to get to the root of the matter,” he added.

This is coming less than 24 hours after several media platforms reported that Gwarzo said the majority of mass deaths recorded so far in the state could be traced to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Gwarzo, however, said only the Kano state government has the responsibility to announce the outcome of the investigations, whether or not the mass deaths is link to COVID-19.

“We are conducting verbal postmortem, collecting samples from the graveyards and I told them until these studies are concluded and result is out, we cannot say in affirmation the real cause of mass deaths in Kano,”Gwarzo noted.

Hundreds of people are reported to have died in the state but no official death records are kept.

Grave diggers initially raised concerns that they were burying a higher than usual number of bodies.

“We have never seen this, since the major cholera outbreak that our parents tell us about. That was about 60 years ago,” Ali, a grave digger at the Abattoir Graveyard, told BBC.

The state governor issued a statement saying the “mysterious deaths” were unrelated to coronavirus. The state government said “reports from the state ministry of health has shown that most of the deaths were caused by complications arising from hypertension, diabetes, meningitis and acute malaria”.

However, Nigerian government imposed a lockdown for two weeks, and also ordered a team to investigate the cause of the deaths.


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