24 so far discharged
18 Chinese doctors coming
6,700 contacts traced
Cases hit 190 in 12 states and FCT
FG cautions security agents
A total of 24 people who were earlier confirmed to be infected with Coronavirus have so far been treated and discharged discharged from the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Yaba Lagos after testing negative twice, the state Commissioner for Health said yesterday.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this at a news conference in Lagos yesterday, said four more patients were discharged yesterday, including three females and one male. The three females included an eight-week-old baby along with her mother.
In the last two days, the commissioner said, 15 people have been discharged and another 16 new patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Lagos.
“Most of our patients have had mild/moderate symptoms and that is why they recover within a week or two. We have very few severe cases. We have recorded 100 percent recovery out of the 24 cases that have been discharged,” he said.
On the location of individuals who tested positive to COVID-19, Abayomi said Etiosa had the highest number of people who contracted COVID-19 with 47 cases, Ikeja had 24 and Mainland had 11. Ikorodu, Alimosho and Agege had one each.
He said in the first four weeks, 82 percent of the cases were imported and 12 percent were contacts of the imported cases. Since the temporary ban on flights and the lockdown thereafter, he said the number of imported cases had reduced, while that of local transmission within communities had increased with 32 percent local transmission.
“The total number of Nigerians at the infectious disease hospital is 91 percent Nigerians and nine percent foreign nationals,” he said.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had in his official twitter handle @jidesanwoolu, announced the discharge, saying it gave the state a lot of hope as it continued to listen to health experts and provide the resources to beat COVID-19.
Lagos had discharged 11 patients on Thursday after they recovered and tested negative to the disease.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, yesterday said 18 Chinese doctors were on their way to Nigeria with medical supplies including ventilators to assist in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the fifth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja yesterday, he said a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria had donated medical supplies to support the country’s fight against COVID-19.
He said the items being expected include commodities like personal protective equipment and ventilators.
“I have been notified of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
“An 18-man team of Chinese medical experts including doctors, nurses and other medical advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us. I must at this juncture commend our frontline workers who are doing a great job in case identification and management.
“As we prepare to contain COVID-19, we must not lose sight of other health challenges in our country. Routine health services must continue in our hospitals. Only a wing of tertiary health centres should be used for infected patients,” Ehanire said.
The minister said about 3,000 samples had been tested for the disease, and Nigeria would witness an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases despite the lockdown due to the increase in the contact tracing and testing.
Cases hit 190 in 12 states and FCT
Dr. Ehanire said Nigeria had 10 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 190 cases across 12 states and the FCT.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) was working towards local production of medical consumables such as face masks, gloves, sanitizers, and ventilators to protect citizens against coronavirus (COVID-19).
The minister said this was in view of looming global shortage of medical supplies for response due to high demand by all countries.
He said two fatalities had been recorded while 20 cases had been discharged from treatment. “There are 98 in Lagos State, 48 in FCT, Osun 20, Oyo 8, Akwa Ibom 5, Edo, Kaduna and Ogun, 4 each, Bauchi 3, Enugu and Ekiti two each, while Rivers and Benue have one each.”
Dr. Ehanire said the country was already seeing what may be indications of sustained community transmission in the sense that 30% of the cases had incomplete epidemiological information, while 51% were imported cases and 19% were contacts of known cases.
6,700 contacts traced
The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said yesterday in Abuja that 6,700 contacts in the country had been traced in connection with the COVI9-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the fifth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19, he said: “Nigeria has been tracing a total of 6,700 contacts in all, 71 percent of them have been followed up as of Thursday. Some people were ‘graduated’ out of contact-tracing after 14 days, if they showed no symptoms of the virus.
“All the focus of the agency for this week had been to improve the levels of contact tracing, by taking advantage of the lockdown. In Lagos State, the lockdown has been especially helpful for our contact tracing. Let me say it that the NCDC would never deploy anything without validating its use,” Ihekweazu said.
He said the test kits donated by Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, were being evaluated and once the centre was sure they were the same quality as existing tests, the kits would be deployed.
According to him, there is a lot of work at the background to increase testing capacity but Nigerians need to be patient.
“The major update to the current case definition is that any patient with acute respiratory illness within the last 10 days, fever and either cough, difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, and in absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation.
“Those residing or working in the last 14 days in an area identified by NCDC as a moderate or high prevalence region will be treated as suspect cases. This is in addition to the already existing case definition where the focus was on symptomatic patients (fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath) who are recent international travelers within 14 days of arrival or contacts of confirmed cases.”
He said, “Nigeria now has eight laboratories for testing for COVID19. A new lab opened in Lagos this (Friday) morning. The new lab is the Biosecurity Facility in Lagos State. So, Lagos now has three labs. Later today we will activate a lab in Abuja, and then Kano will be next.”
SGF cautions security agents, decries price hike
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman, Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, has urged law enforcement agencies to deploy tact and caution in the course of enforcing the movement restriction order, even in the face of provocation.
He made the appeal yesterday in Abuja at the fifth joint national briefing of the committee.
He also appealed to all Nigerians to be law abiding, exercise patience and self-restraint.
“COVID-19 remains a potential danger to all of humanity and it threatens our economy and national security, it therefore behoves on us to play our part in the national response very seriously,” Mustapha said.
He said the federal government had ramped up its synergy with state governments through video-conferencing and the platform of the Governors Forum and by these measures, a lot of gaps were being closed for uniformity of purpose.
He said, “To Nigerian traders and business men and women, we appeal for resistance to the urge to hike prices of goods and commodities during this period as our compassionate nature must prevail. This is the best time to be considerate and to show empathy for our fellow Nigerians.
Evacuation of Americans stalled over flight permit
Hundreds of Americans who were scheduled to be evacuated from Nigeria yesterday were stranded for hours at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos when the aircraft which was to convey them did not arrive, Daily Trust learnt.
The Americans whose number could not be ascertained eventually left the airport for their respective homes and hotels.
It was learnt that the chartered flight to be operated by Omni Air International which was coming from Dulles Airport could not land in Nigeria due to flight issues with other countries.
Most of the evacuees were reportedly wearing sad faces when they were told that the evacuation flight from Dulles may not be on ground on Friday.
The US nationals who had already been checked-in by authorities at the airport were seen collecting their luggages to go back home.
They eventually left the airport when it was clear the aircraft might not arrive after hours of waiting.
According to investigation, the flight was cancelled due to the inability of the airplane to over-fly some countries, though the countries could not be ascertained as of press time.
Meanwhile, 4,000 United Kingdom citizens in the country have reportedly applied to be evacuated back to their home country.
It was however learnt that the British High Commission is exploring available flight options for “short term” visitors to Nigeria who are reportedly anxious to return home.