The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has confirmed 111 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria. He stated that, 68 are in Lagos 21 in FCT, 7 in Oyo, 3 in Ogun, 2 in Bauchi, 2 in Edo, 2 in Osun, 2 in Enugu and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers State.
Majority of them the Minister said, are persons who came from overseas while others have been traced as close contacts of such returnees, adding that, the high number of imported cases in Lagos and Abuja is directly due to their function as country gateways for air travel.
Dr Ehanire informed that till date, three persons had been discharged from successful treatment but another fatality was recorded over the weekend, in the person of a patient who had underlying illness.
“We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them and follow up with contacts, isolate and treat in order to reduce the speed of infection”, the Minister said.
Health Minister, Dr Ehanire, reiterated that, the Ministry of Health is working closely with states and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, to review response activities and to institute measures to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians, while the NCDC-led multi –sectoral Emergency Operations Center (EOC), continues to coordinate national response activities. He further explained that, NCDC had expanded its capacity by engaging ad-hoc staff to support various areas of response which include, call centers, contact tracing and follow-up of persons of interest. In addition, trainings are been conducted for medical personnel to support overall preparedness and response activities to prevent the virus from spreading to other states,
Speaking, the Minister emphasized His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari’s directives on the recall to service of all retired, essential and able staff at this crucial moment and for the use of all Federal Government Stadia , pilgrim camps to be converted to isolation centers and make shift hospitals for use when the need arises.
Dr Osagie Ehanire hinted that, NCDC has added a new laboratory to its network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19, the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital Oyo State. “We project that in three weeks, 7 more labs in Abakaliki, Kaduna, Kano, Maidugari , Port-Harcourt and Sokoto will be added to this network to further expand testing capacity nationwide”. He urged members of the public to note that testing is free and at no cost.
Further speaking, the Honorable Minister emphasized Presidents Buhari’s address to the nation on the lockdown of non-essential activities in Lagos State, the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak, the FCT with the second highest number of cases and Ogun State, given its proxy to Lagos. This he said will take effect from 11pm today, 30th march 2020 for an initial period of 14 days.
The Minister also stated that the federal government has announced means of mitigating the effects of these lock downs including provision of relief materials and other financial policies. Health Minister continued to urge citizens to; frequently wash hands with soap under running water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol based sanitizer, maintain social distance, self-isolate for 14 days if you have returned to the country in the last 14 days, call the NCDC connect center immediately on 080097000010 if you develop symptoms like cough, fever, shortness of breath, stay at home if ill away from others, avoid crowd and large gathering, get information only from official sources through the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC. The NCDC hotline is available 24/7 and toll free.