The Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians to adhere to proven guidelines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to curb its spread in the country.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, made the call on Monday, April 13, 2020 in Abuja at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) daily briefing on COVID-19.
Ehanire said that it was risky to treat COVID-19 patients in private hospitals or at home, advising affected persons to contact the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through its toll free lines.
The minister said that non-essential travels should be postponed, adding that testing is not enough if persons tested positive were not isolated and treated.
According to him, every sacrifice on the part of citizens would help in defeating COVID-19.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, said that since the President‘s broadcast on March 29, the team had made significant strides.
Mustapha said that the PTF had been able to slow down the spread in order to avoid overwhelming the country’s fragile health system and had intensified case identification, testing and isolation.
The SGF also said that the team and other stakeholders had also intensified contact listing and isolation, adding that 92 per cent of all contacts have been identified.
He said that the country had increased laboratories by 100 per cent and there were now 11 laboratories in the network with Lagos having three; Abuja, two; Irua, one; Ibadan UCH, one; Iree, one; Jos, one; Kano, one; and Abakaliki, one.
The chairman said the PTF had increased testing by 50 per cent to the current capacity of 1,500 tests per day, with over 6,000 tests done and would conclude procurement of a new high throughput testing by end of the month.
Mustapha said that the government had distributed Personal Protective Equipment to over 40,000 healthcare workers and there have been no stockouts.
He said that over 7,000 healthcare workers had been trained on infection prevention and control and had deployed NCDC teams to 19 states.
The SGF expressed optimism and confidence that the PTF would deliver more and had been assessing the impact of the lockdown and the level of compliance by Nigerians.
“While we recognise the difficulties associated with such an unprecedented action, we remain certain however that it is a step in the right direction for us to secure a healthier tomorrow.
“Based on the evaluation of experts, assessment of available data and experiences of other nations currently in the same situation, the PTF has submitted its recommendations to Mr President and I urge Nigerians to please await further pronouncements in this regard,” he stated.
The SGF, however, appealed to all Nigerians to remain calm, maintain personal hygiene, observe physical distancing and stay at home.
He thanked the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Christian Association of Nigeria and other well-meaning organisations and individuals for expressing absolute support for the steps so far taken by the government.
Mustapha said that the war was still raging and all hands should remain on deck until victory was assured and commended the contributions of every Nigerian, noting that it is invaluable.
Earlier, Dr Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of PTF, urged Nigerians to continue to respect the privacy of those that have been diagnosed of the virus.
The NCDC said that, as at 9.30 p.m on April 12, there were 323 confirmed cases of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, while 85 had been discharged with 10 deaths.
There is also a reduction of new positive cases of the pandemic and majority in stable condition, with 85 treated and discharged.
The number of new cases as at April 12 were fewer as compared to April 11 with 13 new cases of virus.
Lagos remains the epicentre with 176 cases, 56 cases in FCT, 20 in Osun, 12 in Edo, 11 in Oyo, 11 in Bauchi, six in Akwa Ibom, five in Katsina, four in Kwara, six in Kaduna, seven in Ogun, two each in Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Ondo and Rivers, and one each in Benue, Niger, Anambra and Kano states.
The agency says it has also tested over 5,000 Nigerians for COVID-19 across the country.
By Abujah Racheal