…Tells Nigerians to expect rise in reported cases
…Urges states to intensify preparation of facilities in event of a surge
…Coronavirus now present in 15 states and Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday told Nigerians to expect a dramatic rise in the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease, otherwise referred to as COVID-19, in the country.
This is even as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed ten new cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
The NCDC via its verified Twitter handle tweeted on Thursday night that the development has brought the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 184.
According to the NCDC, 7 cases were detected in Lagos while 3 were recorded in the Federal Capital Territory.
“Ten new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 7 in Lagos and 3 in the FCT.
“As at 08:00 pm 2nd April, there are 184 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Twenty have been discharged with two deaths”, the NCDC tweeted.
With the latest cases, Coronavirus is now present in about 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Speaking while giving an update during the ministerial briefing on Covid-19 in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that of the about 5000 presumed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria, over 71 percent (about 3,500 contacts) have been traced.
The minister said that as contact tracing and testing capacity are being ramped up by government, more cases will be found while number of new confirmed cases is expected to rise.
While expressing worry about persons, especially Nigerians, returning to the country through land borders, Ehanire said that they run a higher risk of infection having confined in a space for a long time.
He, therefore, called on all travelers to postpone non-essential travel, whether national, or international.
He also reaffirmed government’s readiness to combat the menace, saying contact tracing has been intensified to reduce the number of outstanding cases.
He said: “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% of the over presumed 6,000 or more contacts now traced, the number of confirmed cases will be rising dramatically.
“We shall continue to expand the number of isolation centres and prepare ICU units across the country for those who may have complications.
“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”.
In his remarks, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha emphasised that the lockdown measure was not in any way to punish Nigerians as government is conscious of the wellbeing of all Nigerians.
The SGF said that the decision was necessary due to the reality that COVID-19 pose a potential danger to humanity, a threat to the economy as well as national security.
“You will all understand, therefore, why we must at times take very difficult decisions.
“In other not to disrupt the economy and particularly the supply of power to our homes, Government has already exempted essential staff of companies in the upstream oil and gas sector from the restrictions.
“As we continue to assess the readiness for containment and management, we recognise strongly, the importance of synergy with the states.
It is important that states, whether in the front line where cases have been reported or where cases have not been reported to intensify the preparation of facilities that will help in the event of a surge”, Mustapha added.
Meanwhile, eleven coronavirus patients have been discharged from the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
The state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, broke the news in a series of tweets on Thursday evening.
“I am happy to break to you, my good people of Lagos, the news of the release today of 11 more patients from our facility in Yaba,” one of the tweets read.
“They have fully recovered and have tested negative to #COVID19 and have been allowed to return home to their families.
“The patients include two females and nine males. Their results came out negative in two rounds of tests. I want to use this opportunity to, once again, thank our frontline health workers and other professionals for their service.
“Let me reiterate that this is not the time to relax, but to maintain our vigilance because of the community infection that we are beginning to see. I assure you that at the end, we will hoist a flag of victory – with your cooperation and by the grace of the Almighty.”