The 15 members of the Chinese medical team in Nigeria to treat COVID-19 patients are to undergo coronavirus tests to ascertain if they have contracted the deadly virus.
The medical professionals, with expertise in infectious disease, respiratory illness, intensive care, cardiology, neurology, general surgery, and anesthesiology, were placed in isolation for 14 days from the time of their arrival from China.
They have had several conferences with directors, experts, and technical officers of the Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and other relevant authorities while in isolation.
Osagie Ehanire, the health minister stated during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 in Abuja, said: “I was reminded that the people who came from China had spent 14 days in quarantine and I ordered that the tests be done. The COVID-19 test swabs are to be taken tomorrow and the test will be done to finalize if any of them has any infection.”
The Health Minister has not informed the public what would be the outcome if any member of the Chinese medical team tests positive for coronavirus.
Concerning the news of halting of testing in Kano State as a result of little or no reagents in the laboratories, Ehanire said: “As for the testing in Kano, there was a report that they had reduced availability of reagents and they were supplied that”.
“In addition to that, there was a temporary halt in activities because some of the work persons in the laboratory got infected and the laboratory had to be shut down for decontamination, which was just temporary. With regard to supplies of reagents, they had been replenished. They now have personal protective equipment, PPE, and reagents.
“The role of primary health care is very important in this exercise in the sense that now we are in the community transmission phase. We have passed that era when people used to think that the coronavirus infection was something for rich people who came from abroad”.
“Now that it has gotten to the community transmission level, it is really down to the grassroots, and the role of the primary health care comes into play. It is very important for them to be able to do surveillance and raise the index of suspicion”.
“We are doing targeted testing, and right now, cluster testing has been very helpful in being able to identify places; that’s why you see so many of them now being discovered in the Lagos area and also in Abuja.”
He stated “Concerning the burial of persons who have died from coronavirus, there is a protocol for it and there is a section in the department of public health of the Federal Ministry of Health that is responsible for safe and dignified burials of persons with infectious diseases. The ministry of environment works with the ministry of health in order to be able to see that that part of it is well created.”
The minister also said the government has developed protocols for effective transportation of COVID-19 patients to specialised treatment centers and between treatment centers within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. He said the government plans to replicate such in all states of the federation.
“Twenty-seven Rapid Response Teams, RRTs, have been deployed to states by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to support the COVID-19 response, most recently to Abia, Gombe, and Sokoto states.”
He said the government has been working to increase the capacity and activate more laboratories – both public and private – for COVID-19 testing, with the final purpose of having one or more public health laboratories with PCR capability in every state.
Ehanire said: “Citizens are reminded that COVID-19 has a cure rate of over 90 percent of those with the typical symptoms report early for testing and treatment or quarantine. It can save you from the severe complications of the infection, or also help to reduce the spread and save your loved ones from getting infected by you.
He however said that those with existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, TB, HIV, cancer should take special care, to obey the injunctions in order to prevent infection.
On the emergency National Council of Health, NCH, meeting via teleconference, the minister said the council reviewed the status and align all responses to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Hattip to The Nation