The All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in Nigeria under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, does not seem to be responding well to the coronavirus pandemic. Notwithstanding its controversial cash bazaar to the ‘’poor of the poor’’, the administration waited till the virus short-circuited the lives of 10 citizens before deeming it fit to embark on inspection of treatment facilities in the country.
This is even coming after the latest data, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, shows 20,597 people in the supposed almighty United States have been killed by the rampaging COVID-19.
The Buhari APC administration, according to reports, has just begun the inspection of public and private treatment facilities for the coronavirus pandemic in the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja after 10 deaths have been recorded in the from the virus which has already spread to 19 of the 36 states in the federation.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which made this known on Saturday also says 13 new confirmed cases were recorded in the country. It points out that the new cases have brought the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 318.
It also announced that 70 patients have been discharged in the country, adding that 13 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported – 11 in Lagos, one in Delta and one in Kano State. “There are 19 states with confirmed cases in Nigeria. As of 9:30 pm on April 11, there are 318 confirmed cases, 70 discharged and 10 deaths.
“Currently, Lagos has 174 cases, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja – 56, Osun – 20, Edo – 12, Oyo – 11, Ogun – seven, Bauchi – six, Kaduna – six, Akwa Ibom – five, Katsina – four, Delta – three, Enugu – two, Ekiti – two, Rivers – two, Kwara – two, Ondo – two, Benue – one, Niger – one, Anambra – one and Kano – one”, NCDC says
While data on the NCDC website showed that of the 10 deaths, five were recorded in Lagos, two in Abuja and one each in Katsina, Delta, and Edo, Lagos State Health Commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi, earlier announced that a patient died of COVID-19 complications in a private hospital in the state.
Shortly after his announcement, a 37-year-old new mum also reportedly died of COVID-19 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
Currently, the US has overtaken Italy to become the country with the highest death toll from coronavirus in the world, going by the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University which puts the figure at 20,597 deaths. The US also became the first country to record more than 2,000 virus deaths in a single day.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, while announcing a 24-hour figure of 783 new deaths, and noting that the last several days had seen around the same number, said on Saturday the state’s death toll appeared to be stabilising.
Cuomo says, “that is not an all-time high, and you can see that the number is somewhat stabilising but it is stabilising at a horrific rate. These are just incredible numbers depicting incredible loss and pain.”
Those who know better say New York State has become the epicentre of the outbreak in the US, recording more than 180,000 of the country’s estimated 520,000 cases. As of Saturday, every single US state, reportedly declared a disaster in response to the outbreak.
In the United Kingdom, a further 917 deaths were recorded, bringing the national total to 9,875
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While the Spanish Health Ministry reported 510 further deaths, obviously the lowest number recorded there for almost three weeks, deaths in France and Italy increased but numbers of patients in intensive care dropped again.
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More than 100,000 have now died with the virus around the world since the pandemic broke out in China in December.
As of Saturday afternoon, Italy had reported 19,468 coronavirus deaths. There are now at least 527,111 recorded cases of COVID-19 across the US.
US Infectious Diseases chief, Dr Anthony Fauci, has said the country is “starting to see the levelling off and coming down” of cases and deaths but says mitigation efforts such as social distancing should not be pulled back yet. Federal social distancing recommendations, issued by President Donald Trump, are currently in place until April 30.
In the meantime, in Nigeria, the inspection and accreditation tour is beginning with states that already have active cases. They will eventually reach other states as new cases surge daily in the country.
Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja says “Federal Ministry of Health COVID-19 Accreditation Committee is inspecting public and private treatment centres and following strict infectious disease management protocols to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 admission and treatment nationwide and to protect health workers from harm.
“They will soon start this inspection and accreditation to all states beginning with those with active COVID-19 cases. The bed space expansion starts without federal tertiary hospitals who will also be the centres for ICU at the beginning, where separate wings have been reserved and converted for COVID-19 management.
“Lagos UniversityTeaching Hospital commenced such operation last Monday with a 60-bed isolation centre having received a COVID-19 starter pack and trained healthcare workers. I want to mention here that the future Assured Programme of her the First Lady, has assisted us in locating a treatment centre which is currently under renovation at the cadastral zone area in Abuja.
“All the designated isolation and treatment centres have adequate supplies to manage cases and there is no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and no fear of shortage in the short term for health workers.
“It must be noted that there is a limited supply of consumables in the market due to increased global demand and increased production due to the public health crisis. We are, however, developing in-country manufacturing.
“Citizens should use a limited supply of this equipment judiciously and also bear in mind that this should not be a time for hoarding or for making profits. Health workers are our priority in the rationing of commodities because they are more at risk.
“Private facilities must apply to the Federal Ministry of Health for accreditation before engaging in treatment of patients because they share in the responsibility to maintain the essential and emergency services and ensure the safe transfer of suspected cases by dialling the toll-free national emergency number 112, or the NCDC toll-free number 080097000010”.
He is encouraging private practitioners to uphold the role in educating the public and protecting other patients and frontline workers by having a high index of suspicion to identify advice and refer suspected cases to designated COVID-19 management facilities for testing, according to NCDC guidelines.
Ehanire had earlier hinted that the country will likely expect a surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, as it is increasing testing capacities across the country. This, he explains is not a bad thing, but a testament that our increased testing capacity is yielding fruits, and those detected can be treated early before their cases become severe.
Currently, the government has activated nine molecular diagnostic laboratories to scale up testing capacity for the coronavirus in the country. According to him, “The Federal Ministry of Health, through NCDC, is increasing testing capacity continuously and as of today, we have nine laboratories capable of testing COVID-19.
“We have two in Abuja – NCDC National Reference Laboratory and Defence Reference Laboratory; Three in Lagos – Laboratory in LUTH, Lagos State Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, and Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).
“Others are – Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Virology Laboratory of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Osun State”.
While additional laboratories in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Sokoto States are set to come online imminently, he adds“Federal Ministry of Health has engaged the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), to scale-up local capacity and seek innovative solutions.
“The Ministry had also met with the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) and the Guild of Medical Directors to discuss collaboration between private medical practitioners and government in the COVID-19 national response.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of Gombe State Task Force on COVID-19, Prof Idris Mohammed, says the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated by NCDC and the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) are not complete and that the committee intends to reject them.
Mohammed says the committee has taken the donated items to the governor to acknowledge receiving the items, which he said will be accompanied by a rejection letter. According to him, the decision to reject the incomplete PPE was approved by the state government.