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COVID-19: NCDC Deploys Rapid Response Teams to Affected States

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday deployed Rapid Response Teams to affected states to support response activities, as Nigeria have recorded 51 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19.

The breakdown showed that 32 are in Lagos, 10 in FCT, 3 in Ogun and 1 each in Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Bauchi, Osun and Rivers States.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed this at the Ministerial Press Briefing on COVID-19 held at the Ministry’s headquarters, Abuja.  He further said that, out of the 51 cases, 37 had immediate travel history, 8 were confirmed close contacts of confirmed cases and 6 had neither a recent travel history nor a known contact.

Dr Ehanire informed that two persons have been cured and discharged, one fatality had been recorded and all the 48 present active cases are clinically stable with only mild or moderate symptoms. He stated that Contact tracing to identify persons who has been in close contact with confirmed cases is on-going, while the Ministry 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.

The Minister further disclosed that one major item in Nigeria’s disease containment strategy is social distancing, which has been repeatedly announced. As a result, directives have been issued at national and state level, to limit all large gatherings including religious, social and political gatherings, schools, events etc. Some states have put the maximum number of gatherings at 50, but a general order will be announced.

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He disclosed that The NCDC communication campaign titled ‘#TakeResponsibility has kicked off. It is a call to all residents in the country to join hands and be proactive in taking greater individual and collective responsibility for the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. You can join this collective effort via your social media platforms” The Minister urged individuals, businesses, professional bodies, media houses and all committed Nigerians to take ownership of this campaign by developing and communicating prevention messages around the following critical thematic areas;

●       Frequent hand washing with soap under running water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer

●       Coughing/sneezing into tissue and disposing properly or coughing/sneezing into your sleeve, if no tissue available.

●       Avoiding crowds, large gatherings and needless physical contact

●       Cleaning all surfaces frequently with disinfectants

●       Getting information only from official sources and;

Self-isolating for 15 days on return from any international travel or close contact with a recently returned person. Call NCDC’s toll-free number: 080097000010 or the emergency no. 112, which we are working to link together and expand for improved speed and efficiency.

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Nigeria: Antibody-based COVID-19 test kits failed medical lab council evaluation

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that only four of the COVID-19 test kits said to be in use in Nigeria have been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and all four failed the validation tests and results; therefore, “the tests obtained from these kits may be wrong and misleading”

Dr. Ehanire said, “The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give reliable result.  “Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state.”

In view of the failure of some of the test kits in use, the Minister has urged healthcare workers to ensure they are properly protected with the appropriate PPEs and have a high index of suspicion when treating patients.  He also advised the general public to continue to adhere to the guidelines on prevention and control of COVID-19.

Further, Dr. Ehanire revealed that there are some COVID-19 medical supplies being expected from Beijing, and to be able to haul in the expected COVID-19 supplies to Abuja, the Minister of Health said that West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and Nigeria are presently working together on a cost-sharing plan for a common air transport plane.

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These much and more were disclosed by the Honourable Minister at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday 4th June, 2020 as the outcome of a virtual meeting of the ECOWAS COVID-19 Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health, hosted by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and attended by 15 ECOWAS Ministers of Health or their representatives held on Tuesday May 2nd, 2020.

The Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health of WAHO is one of the three Committees set up to facilitate the work of the ECOWAS COVID-19 response champion, in the person of President Muhamadu Buhari, who was elected on April 23, 2020, at a virtual meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.

Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the Meeting compared notes, discussed matters of regional cooperation and collaboration around the COVID-19 strategy and response, border-related challenges on movement of people and goods when borders are reopened.

In a similar development, the  Minister disclosed that, he represented President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Global Vaccine Summit that was hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, the purpose of which, was to mark 20 years since GAVI was founded, and also to raise funds to support its activities.

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire updated that the nation currently has a total of 11,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, of which 3,329 have been treated successfully and discharged, while 315 deaths have been recorded. According to him, “the daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases shows a consistently rising trajectory with corresponding increase in fatalities, but nothing comparable with what is observed in some foreign countries.  To rest on our oars for that reason, would be a serious mistake.  COVID-19 is real and we have explained that the increase in cases is due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, such as surveillance, community mobilization, coordination, contact tracing improved awareness, the demographics and other factors.”

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The Minister also updated the nation that the teams deployed to Lagos and Ogun States have returned: They visited the State EOCs, identified State specific challenges and exchanged ideas with health workers.

He added that “the team to Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa Borno, Katsina, Gombe will submit their final reports Friday, 5th June, 2020.  The preliminary reports, he said show that the goals of the intervention were met.”

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Bello insists Kogi is COVID-19 free, lifts lockdown in Kabba-Bunu

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The Yahaya Bello led Kogi State government has lifted the lockdown imposed on Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of the state over suspected cases of  COVID-19.

Governor Bello, on Friday announced this at the Government House in Lokoja, the state capital.

The governor informed that the decision became necessary after the result of all the samples taken and subjected to tests by the health workers in the local government came out negative.

As a result of this, Bello insisted that Kogi has remained a COVID-19-free state.

The governor also urged the people of the state to adhere strictly to the protocols of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curb the spread of the disease.

Governor Bello had earlier ordered a 14-day total lockdown in Kabba-Bubu in a state broadcast on Monday.

 

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Oyo discharges 11 COVID-19 cases at Olodo Infectious Disease Centre

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Professor Alonge addressing newsmen (Filed photo)

The Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19, on Friday, recorded a major victory in its ongoing fight against the novel Coronavirus when it discharged 11 persons after they tested negative to COVID-19 twice.

 

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, in a statement quoted a member of the Task Force and former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Temitope Alonge, as saying that after the discharge of the 11 cases, the Centre now had 32 patients and that all but one, were in stable condition.

 

The statement added that of the 11 persons discharged at the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan, three were females and eight were males.

 

According to Alonge, eight of the discharged persons were the Northerners who came from Sokoto axis.

 

He said: “We all must have behind our minds that this novel coronavirus, even though it belongs to a particular family, is not in any way similar to the HIV virus, meaning that it does not reside in you forever as it were. It has a span of time that it stays and your body’s immune system is built up enough to be able to get rid of it and you come back to normal.

 

“But, of course, if at the time you have a high load of the virus, you happen to have some other co-morbidities or you are under some treatment that reduces your immunity, then you can have a full flare. So, it is not like the HIV virus that you have to use medications to suppress or reduce their effects.

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“When patients come down and they are tested as positive, it means the load of the virus is enough to make them feel sickly. When they are in isolation, what we do is to boost their immunity. There are so many regimens in the world that are being tried and used but here, our patients have stuck to a very simple regimen. They all have 500mg of azithromycin daily for three days. They also have zinc on a daily basis. 2gram of Vitamin C, Chloroquine 500mg and 250mg for another three days.

 

“We are privileged to have linked up with our colleagues in UCH, who have been exceptionally wonderful. So, we are not only looking at their symptoms but also the viral load and their CT. But the value of the CT is also in correlation with the value of the viral load. The higher the viral load, the lower the CT value.”

 

The ex-CMD maintained that there were now 32 active patients at the Infectious Disease Centre, noting that all of them except one were in stable condition.

 

“We have 32 (patients). All of them are very stable. We only have one of them who has a comorbid issue and, as I speak, one of our senior consultants from the University College Hospital is attending to him. Also, another consultant in the Psychiatry Department will come and counsel this particular client on the use of medications, because we found out that he was using too many medications that can be injurious to his health.

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“Apart from that, everybody is fine. We even have a family here; father, mother, and children and they are doing exceptionally well.

“Eight of those cases discharged are the Northerners who came from the Sokoto axis. Since they are now negative, they want to go back to Sokoto.”

 

Speaking earlier, one of the discharged persons (names withheld), who spoke on behalf of the other patients, appreciated the state government, the governor and the medical personnel at the Centre.

 

She said: “On behalf of all of us here who are COVID-19 patients, we want to appreciate Governor Seyi Makinde. We pray that God will reward him.

 

“We experienced good care. They took us as their sisters and brothers. They did not stigmatise us. So, we really appreciate all the doctors and nurses. We really appreciate the Oyo State government.”

 

When asked what her experience was while in isolation, she maintained she and most of those in the Centre were asymptomatic, saying: “I did not show any symptoms. I just went for the test voluntarily. So, after nine days, they called me that the test came out positive and I was asked to come to the isolation centre to quarantine myself.

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“The test was conducted on me on the 22nd of April at Etiosa Local Government, but I was already in Ibadan when they told me the result and I was asked to go into isolation in Ibadan because there was no isolation centre in Lagos again.”

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