COVID-19: Minister to Nigerians, ‘prepare for the worst’
… No community testing across states yet, says NCDC
Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday admonished Nigerians to prepare for the worst, even as the Federal Government assiduously works to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He urged health workers and citizens alike to do their best to learn more about the virus, even as President Muhammadu Buhari extends the easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT.
Speaking during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, he said: “Yesterday, the President authorized extending easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT by another two weeks. The lockdown in Kano was also extended by two weeks, to address remaining challenges to containing the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“It is of great importance that we – members of the health sector and citizens, endeavour to use this period to dedicate efforts to strive for the best, but also prepare for the worst.
“As we learn more about coronavirus every day, we must be ready to adjust our strategy, based on knowledge and evidence.
“To continue strengthening response in States, the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) are assessing isolation centers all over the country, recently in Yenagoa and Oshogbo. We also continue providing diagnostic commodities and facilities in collaboration with partners.
“The Federal Ministry of Health places special priority on the maintenance of essential services in both private and public hospitals throughout the country, because of the serious harm that arises from neglecting routine healthcare services like reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), immunization, chronic disease management, all due to fear of COVID-19 or sole focus on COVID-19.”
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in his remark said: “We are not doing community testing everywhere. In certain states like Lagos, Kano, and even in the FCT, we are taking the test a lot closer to the community because of the intensity of transmission in those states.
“In those states, the states are identifying hotspot areas and based on these identifications, intensifying testing in those communities. We haven’t gotten to the stage of drawing community testing across the country. We are doing targeted hotspot areas identified by states.”