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COVID-19: Minister Raises the Alarm Over Sustained Community Transmission

By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Federal Government at the weekend raised the alarm that Nigeria might have sustained community transmission of COVID -19.

Minister of Health, Dr Ehanire Osagie, revealed that out of the 3,000 people tested, there were 190 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria across 12 states and the FCT.

He said there were two fatalities and 20 cases discharged from treatment.

Giving a breakdown, he disclosed that Lagos has 98 patients, FCT 48, Osun 20, Oyo 8, Akwa Ibom 5, Edo, Kaduna and Ogun, 4 each, Bauchi 3, Enugu and Ekiti 2 each, while Rivers and Benue had 1 each”.


He added that there might be sustained community transmission because 30% of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information, while 51% were imported cases, while 19% were from contacts of known cases.

He noted that the above reason was one of the major reasons for lock down in some states.

According to him, “we are already seeing what may be indications of sustained community transmission in the sense that 30% of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information, while 51% are imported cases and 19% are contacts of known cases. We are using the small window of opportunity remaining to intensify investigations to identify cases and their sources.

“This is one of the purposes for which the lockdown of 2 States and the FCT was proclaimed by the President.

“These areas, especially Lagos as primary epicenter, but also other parts of the Federation, need to speed up their activities to detect and isolate COVID-19 patients. I shall do everything to support this process. During and following the lockdown, we expect to see an increase in cases, as a measure of improvement in case finding. If social distancing and other measures are adhered to, the incidence of positives cases  can be better controlled”.

On how many people tested so far he said, “We have tested nearly 3,000 samples so far in Nigeria, and are working to scale up our capacity in a targeted approach.

“Here in Nigeria, we have recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours,  so that cumulatively, as of the 3rd of April, we have 190 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria across 12 states and the FCT, 2 fatalities and 20 cases discharged from treatment. Lagos has 98 patients, FCT 48, Osun 20, Oyo 8, Akwa Ibom 5, Edo, Kaduna and Ogun, 4 each, Bauchi 3, Enugu and Ekiti 2 each, while Rivers and Benue have 1 each”.

Ehanire said while the global number of COVID-19 cases has crossed the one million mark, just 3 months after the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, “It is an indication that it is a public health challenge we must not take lightly”, he stressed.

According to him  Nigeria, was looking to explore potentials for local production of medical consumables such as face masks, gloves, sanitizers, and even equipment like ventilators.

” This is in view of looming global shortages of medical supplies for response, due to high demand by all countries. Clinical trials and other processes are ongoing to validate therapeutics for COVID-19 treatment”, he said.

He also commended the Chinese government for their supports in form of gifts of medical supplies and 18 man team of Chinese medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers, who will be coming  to support the nation and share their experience.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman Presidential Task Force Team for Covid-19, Boss Mustapha, said all hands must be on desk to be able to address the pandemic.

“As I mentioned in my remarks yesterday, COVID-19 remains a potential danger to all of humanity and it threatens our economy and national security, it therefore, behooves us to play our part in the national response very seriously.

“The Federal Government has ramped up its synergy with the State Governments through video-conferencing communication and the platform of the Governors Forum.  By these measures, a lot of gaps are being closed for uniformity of purpose.

“The PTF finds it very necessary to appeal to our Law Enforcement Agencies to deploy tact and caution in the course of enforcing the rules, even, in the face of provocation.  We similarly appeal to all Nigerians to be law abiding, exercise patience and self-restraint. The message from Mr. President is that no Nigerian should on account of these rules suffer any harm or pains during this period or at any time in our national life”. 

He also appealed to traders to be considerate, “To the Nigerian traders and business men and women, we appeal for resistance to the urge to hike prices of goods and commodities, during this period as our compassionate nature must prevail.  This is the best time to be considerate and to show empathy for our fellow Nigerians”.

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