ABUJA, Nigeria, June 15, 2020/ — The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that global experience indicates that 45% of persons who test positive for COVID-19 may show no symptoms or are asymptomatic.
The Minister made this statement at the daily Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 where he revealed that the proportion of asymptomatic cases compared to symptomatic cases in Nigeria is 61% to 35. “Research also shows that most people who contract the virus develop mild symptoms or do not experience any symptoms at all” said the Honourable Minister.
Dr. Ehanire revealed that asymptomatic patients are most infectious and can transmit the virus even if they do not look or feel ill, and sometimes, the Minister said such patients can be trivialized even by healthcare workers. This situation, he said, may explain the initial relatively high rate of infections among the health workers. “However, asymptomatic patients may no longer be infectious after 14 days, even if PCR test identify RNA evidence of virus in them”, the Minister disclosed.
Dr. Ehanire also made it known that the grievances of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) is being addressed: “On the issue of welfare and allowances to frontline health workers, conversations have been held with the Ministry of Finance, agencies and health-related associations. Complaints on availability of PPEs have been addressed with supply of materials to States and Federal Medical Centers. The disengaged Resident Doctors at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital have been recalled by the Board of Governors” indicating that the Federal Government has been working to resolve the grievances that the health workers may be habouring.
The Minister therefore appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call a truce and show understanding and reciprocate Government’s efforts; assuring them that all their grievances will be addressed.
Speaking further, the Minister said that planning for targeted community sensitization activities have commenced in 20 high burden Local Government Areas, with workshop in infection prevention and control of COVID-19 for healthcare workers of public and private hospitals in the FCT.
Dr. Ehanire also disclosed that the reforms for guidelines to make operational, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) “is almost ready and will be revealed after presentation to stakeholders.” “Errors have been addressed and the new document vastly improves on the earlier version”, the Minister stated.
The Health Minister disclosed the status of COVID-19 infections as at 11th of June 2020 to be confirmed at 13,873 with 409 new infections. While calling on all to adhere to health advisories and guidelines, as well as observe non-pharmaceutical measures issued by FMoH, he reiterated that the cheapest and easiest way to protecting oneself is to wear a mask, especially now that confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria continue to rise, thus raising the risk.