277 COVID-19 patients are being treated across Nigeria —Health Minister

•Says more people with COVID-19 are being detected

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said on Friday that a total of 277 COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment across the isolated centers in the country.

Speaking during the daily press briefing on COVID-19 update in Abuja, the minister also revealed that more people with COVID-19 were being detected and transferred to treatment centres.

Ehanire said: “As of today, 17th April, 2020, a total of 442 people in 20 states have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The 35 new confirmations are distributed as follows: 19 in Lagos, 9 in FCT, 5 in Kano and 2 in Oyo. 13 deaths, all with comorbidities, have been recorded so far, and 152 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Nigeria and have been discharged.

“This means there are 277 persons who have COVID-19 being cared for in our isolation and treatment centres across the country. The recent marked increase in the numbers of new COVID-19 cases is due likely, to scaled-up implementation of our new case-finding strategy, as well as the result of rising community transmission.

“With house-to-house and cluster testing, and using the revised criteria for sample collection, yield has increased. More people with COVID-19 are being detected and transferred to treatment centres.”

To this end, the minister said there will be more social mobilization for community testing at grassroots level and Isolation of positive cases, while the Presidential Task Force shall ensure that right message is disseminated to control ongoing transmission.

He said: “In this regard, I must again emphasise that citizens are obliged to disclose complete and accurate information to health workers, especially about their travel history or contact with persons who have or had COVID-19.

This, according to him is important because full disclosure allows health workers to promptly investigate, diagnose and treat correctly, to improve chances of patient survival and recovery.

Besides, right information also keeps the health workers safe; warning that withholding the truth puts both the user and caregiver at risk, and also other patients on site.

“Several health workers, who must then self-isolate as a result of exposure to a positive patient, will also be put out of circulation. This is not what we can afford with the limited number of health workers in the country,” he warned.

The minister added: “Infected persons also need not hide themselves at home till their condition so deteriorates that they have to be rushed to the hospital in critical state. Some among the fatalities we have seen could have been saved if they were presented earlier.

“It bears restating that persons who have fever of unclear origin and cough should first put on a mask or a face covering of any type, isolate themselves from friends and family and call the national emergency number.”

He explained that several persons who had COVID-19 have been successfully treated and discharged, as proof that most people do survive the disease.

He said: “I again request the cooperation of those who test positive, with health officials to accept any of the designated isolation and treatment centres, even if you feel very well. In the interest of the general public, the Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reserves the right to investigate suspected cases of COVID-19, who are not complying with advisory.

“In addition, I also urge citizens not to pay attention to rumours and sensationalism, just as I advise purveyors of fake news, to desist from spreading fake news or misinformation that cause fear and panic.

“I wish to commend our health workers, particularly the frontline health workers who have been managing our patients, and urge all citizens to remember public health advisories and the social measures and regulations around the lockdown.”


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