EXPECT DRAMATIC INCREASE IN NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS CASES, FG WARNS NIGERIANS

By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The federal government has said that it expects the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to rise dramatically while it scales up contact tracing and testing capacity.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Wednesday at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to him: “As contact tracing and testing capacity are being ramped up, more and more cases will be found and the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to rise initially.

“We also worry about persons, especially Nigerians, returning to the country through land borders, who run a higher risk of infection while in a confined space for a long time, like transit in a crowded bus or car.
“With the expanded national case definition and the addition of two laboratories to the NCDC network of COVID-19 molecular laboratories, the national testing capacity has increased. Moreover, the lockdown in high burden States presents the advantage of reduced population mobility and leaves more people at home to be found during contact tracing.

“All of this means that more people and samples can be collected and tested more quickly, giving a shorter turnaround time, but it also means that more cases will be discovered initially than before.

“With 71 percent of the over presumed 6,000 or more contacts now traced, the number of confirmed cases will be rising dramatically. Contact tracing will still be intensified to reduce the number of outstanding cases.

“We shall continue to expand the number of isolation centres and prepare ICU units across the country for those who may have complications”.

Ehanire further added: “As of 10 am today, 2nd of April, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 174 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 91 are in Lagos, 35 in FCT, 14 in Osun, 8 in Oyo, 5 in Akwa Ibom, 4 each in Ogun, Edo and Kaduna, 3 in Bauchi, 2 each in Enugu and Ekiti, and 1 each in Rivers and Benue States.

“Those discharged from hospital care are still nine but others are pending once final tests are done. Two fatalities are on record, these being cases with other serious pre-existing illnesses.

“We have also expanded bedding and intensive care space in Abuja, Gwagwalada and have urged all States to do the same in their states, starting with tertiary hospitals. All facilities including private facilities where isolation and treatment of coronavirus are to be conducted, will be inspected before accreditation by a team of experts. The Office of the National Security Adviser shall be represented, due to national security implications”.

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