Federal government on Tuesday revealed that 812 frontline health workers have been infected by the ravaging Corona virus pandemic in Nigeria.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday revealed this at the daily briefing, even as he said the country recorded third highest number of confirmed cases in Africa.
Ihekweazu said 29 of the health care workers are staff of the NCDC and currently receiving treatment,adding that “these are not just numbers, they are people and they matter”,
The DG described the rise in Nigeria’s cases to over 10,000 as a significant event, adding that it’s spot on countries with highest cases in Africa is an added responsibility for government to strengthen it’s response.
Ihekweazu said 75 % of the over 10,000 cases recorded so far do not know the source of their illness. This, according to him is because community transmission is ongoing and therefore difficult to link ones exposure to one particular person or one event.
“This is normal of a respiratory virus of which 80 percent of people are asymptomatic,” he said.
Ihekweazu added that 2 percent of the cases have a travel history, while 23 percent are contacts of existing patients.
The DG further said 60 percent of cases are in 20 LGA across the country of which most arevin Lagos. He said a lot of effort will be focused the LGAs to prevent spread to others.
Ihekweazu said the NCDC has increased it’s testing capacity, informing that it have tested over 65,000 samples and increased Laboratory network to 30 following the activation of laboratories in Bauchi and Abuja.
The DG also said 37 rapid response team have been deployed with over 450 people supporting the response,
He added that over over 40,000 pieces of complete Personnel, Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been distributed and a new consignment will be distributed this weekend to every state and Federal Medical Centres (FMC) in the country.
Sani Aliyu,the National Cordinator of the Presidential Task Force while giving detailed insight on the opening of churches, advised that despite reopening of worship centers, it is still better to worship at homes
“There is no doubt that the covid pandemic is still around and it is safer for you to stay at home.There is no doubt that it is safer for you to worship at home.
He disclosed that the “PTF is providing the safety advisory in the event that you have to go for worship outside of your home for safety.
“It is still better to do your worship at home,covid has not gone forever and we are even at the exponential phase of the Ill health and we are currently ranked third in Africa and because of our population,we could possibly move to the second position or the first.
The guidelines are the baselines for the states to work on and states are free to strengthen the guidelines and strengthen the baselines so that citizens are protected in their respective places of worship.
The PTF said the places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for exploding covid 19 infection among worshippers.
“This has been clearly demonstrated in several covid pandemic outbreak globally with regard to religious gatherings.
PTF warned that Places of worships that are unable to comply with these guidelines should not be allowed to operate by state governments.
“All places of worships must sign up to full compliance up to full compliance to all aspects of non pharmaceuticals intervention required to protect the public from covid nineteen.
They are to ensure the supply of running water and soap and alcohol sanitisers at the entry and exit points of the church and in all high contact locations including bathrooms.
“Worshippers are to sanitize their hands before entry and also have temperature checks before entry. Supervision and enforcement of this would be led by the Church leaderships of various church facilities
“Use of face masks is mandatory. We strongly discourage all close contacts including shaking of hands. Sharing of prayer mats,microphones among others.
“The capacity of the church facilities should be limited to allow for physical distancing of at least two meters between persons.
“People from the same households should be encouraged to stay together.
“Local authorities should also be advised on areas of hotspots that requires greater restrictions.
“Volunteers should be limited to the exact number needed and none of the volunteers should have an underlining medical conditions or be above the age of fifty five.
The leadership of the places of worship were entrusted with responsibility for the enforcement and supported by local authorities in the states.
“We strongly recommend limiting congregations contact times in the places of worships and Mosqeus.
Churches are allowed to conduct services for a maximum of an hour in between services to allow time for disinfection.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire speaking at the PTF briefing on Tuesday decried the varying levels of readiness in states adding that there is need for state governments to re-strategize to keep the people safe.
The Minister urged state governments to accept the reality and work with Federal Government by strictly obeying the guidelines which requires making a minimum of 300 Isolation beds ready, so that the national health system does not run out of COVID-19 bed spaces.
“As the President has advised, it is best to be fully prepared even if you didn’t have to use it. In this regard, the Federal Ministry of Health stands ready to support all States in their efforts to build resilient and responsive systems for citizens in their States”.
“We have nevertheless not reached our testing targets as yet and therefore ask all persons who fit the case definition of fever, cough sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste to first use a mask or face covering and find the nearest testing center”.
“Those testing positive should report to the nearest treatment facility in the interest of self-preservation. We shall include it in our social mobilization and community engagement messaging”.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Corona Virus response pandemic PTF, Boss Mustapha, reiterated that the relaxation of the lockdown does indicate an end to the Corona virus pandemic and urged all citizens to religiously implement applicable guidelines at specific phases.
“The PTF is conscious of the fact there is a high possibility of members of the public seeing the easing as a signal that COVID is gone. On the contrary, COVID-19 is still virulent, dangerous and infested kctious. Our lives have changed for good and will never revert to what we used to know”
That is why we have urged all the employers, employees and leaders of sectors allowed to re-open to diligently comply with non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed in the guidelines and the protocols agreed by State governments.
He re-emphasize that State Governments now have the responsibility to shape and drive the process, as the PTF focuses on community engagement and risk communication
“We must take responsibility. We must be accountable to self and community on our actions. We must adhere to the guidelines issued