Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed on Thursday that 40 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus while on frontline duty to save others from the disease.
Apart from the 40 health workers, the minister added that a reasonable number have also been quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure.
He made the disclosure on Thursday at the daily briefing on the update by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja.
Against this development, Enahire advised the health workers to take all necessary precautions for their own safety, warning them not to treat any patient without using adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
While commending the health workers for their exemplary services to the nation, he emphasised also that the warning became imperative due of the number of health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19; and the number already quarantined.
The minister said: “I applaud our health workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will continue to provide you with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and I urge you to take all necessary precautions for your own safety.
“Please do not treat any patient without using adequate PPE, frontline health workers must undertake refresher training on IPC. This warning has become necessary due of the number of health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure.”
Specifically, he urged them to remain very vigilant in the line of duty and maintain a high index if suspicion for COVID-19.
On the country testing capacity, he stated that Nigeria is presently testing an average of 600 samples per day even though the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratories have capacity to test 1,500 samples per day in 13 laboratories across the country.
He explained that the average of 600 samples per day are being tested because that is all the samples collected and sent for testing.
“Factors implicated in the process may include surveillance sample collection and mode of transportation, which can be improved to increase operational efficiency. This is where a little investment can help,” he said.
The minister added: “The results of such intensification of efforts can be seen especially in Lagos where improved logistic management increased sample collection and significantly reduced turn around time.”
Ehanire, however, pointed out that contact tracing was key to containing the pandemic, but emphasised that it was a tedious and meticulous activity.
Giving the update, the minister said: “As of today, 23rd April, 2020, 873 people in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been confirmed to have COVID-19 from 9,522 tests. The 91 additional confirmations are as follows: 74 in Lagos, five in Katsina, four in Ogun, two each in Delta and Edo, one each in Adamawa, Kwara, Oyo and FCT. 197 persons have been successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged home, while 28 deaths have sadly been recorded.
“Like yesterday, the high number of new cases is a manifestation of more efficient testing, but also of ongoing community transmission. The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, continues to support preparedness and response to COVID-19 in all states and the FCT. Rapid Response Teams are working closely with state emergency operations centre to strengthen operations.”
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