By Malemi Precious
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that, as of yesterday, a total of 442 persons in 20 states had been confirmed positive of COVID-19, with 13 deaths recorded, all with database, while 152 persons have recovered from the pandemic in the country and discharged.
“This means there are 277 persons who have COVID-19 being cared for in our isolation and treatment centres across the country,” he noted.
Ehanire explained that the recent marked increase in the numbers of new Coronavirus cases was due likely to scaled-up achievement of new case-finding approach, as well as the result of rising community transmission, stressing that with house-to-house and cluster testing, using the revised criteria for sample gathering, the yield has increased.
He noted that as more people with Coronavirus are being detected and moved to treatment centres, there would still be more social flow for community testing at a major level and isolation of cases confirmed positive.
Ehanire warned that infected persons need not hide at home till their condition so deteriorates that they have to be rushed to the hospital in a critical state, saying some among the fatalities the country has recorded could have been saved if they were presented earlier.
The minister expressed the need for Nigerians to announce complete and accurate information to health workers, especially about their travel history or contact with persons who have or had the coronavirus, to enable health workers promptly investigate, diagnose and treat correctly and to improve chances of patient survival and recovery.
He explained that the team of Chinese medical experts in the country was still in isolation, but has had a video-conference with some directors in the Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, the federal government is finalising arrangements for the evacuation, isolation and testing of so many Nigerians outside the country clamouring to return home.
Already, the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus (PTF) has developed a protocol on points of entry that would address this development, going forward.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who expressed this at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, said the federal government was working to have a collaboration with single national response for COVID-19 in the country, he added government has been receiving feedback from the public on the challenges they are facing as a result of the lockdown and efforts were being raised to ensure the approved government’s palliatives get to Nigerians, in close collaboration with the state authorities.
He added that arrangements to finalise method for the dispensation of the palliatives are in top gear, saying: “This is a long-term effort and we should exercise patience as we gradually walk out of danger, reopen our society and its economic life.
“This virus has no vaccine. Success will mean a return to normalcy and we can only claim victory when cases are no longer increasing, we have no unknown sources for cases, deaths are no longer increasing and more admissions are discharged.”
The SGF, who pointed out that data released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has shown a rise in the number of cases in Kano, observed that the PTF would visit the state to evaluate its state of readiness and guide the authorities in the management of the situation.
In a closed development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, yesterday, realized that some Nigerians were actually being discriminated against in China. He also disclosed that efforts were ongoing to resolve the issues among relevant authorities. His acceptance of the situation of Nigerians in Guangzhou Province of China came few days after he had blamed the trending videos of how Nigerians were being maltreated on communication lapse for the alleged assault on Nigerians and other African nationals by the Chinese, particularly in the city of Guangzhou.
The Minister, who spoke tough yesterday, however, insisted that the dignity of all humans, including Africans, must be upheld anywhere in the world and consequently urged Nigerians in China to document any act of discrimination or racism targeted against them and send same back to the government.
He stressed that undermining the integrity of Nigerians anywhere in the world is a red line that is unacceptable by the federal government, saying: “We can no longer accept any differential treatment against any Nigerian or African.”
Concerning Nigerians agitating to return home, he again, without giving any timeframe, re-echoed Mustapha’s position that government was working on the issue. Onyeama also insisted that every returnee would be responsible for his or her ticket, as according to him: “Nigeria is going through difficult times.”
He stated that efforts were on to secure clearance for the airlifting of such people and they would be duly informed once arrangements are concluded.