By Abujah Racheal
The Federal Government has added ThisDay Dome Treatment Centre to the list of testing centres for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The centre will be open for treatment soon.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Monday in Abuja.
Ehanire added that renovation of Agura Hotel would also begin soon as an additional observation centre for Level 1 and selected Level 2 cases.
He hoped that these would considerably increase the capacity of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in responding to the pandemic.
The minister said that Nigeria had carried out 183,294 COVID-19 tests, 28,296 of them within the week, adding that 32,558 people had been confirmed positive.
He said that the high figures within the past week, compared to that of the previous week, suggested an increase in the pace of testing and infection.
Ehanire said that, from reports of the activation of sample collection sites in the FCT, laboratory throughput would increase, as well as the number of positive cases until the curve would flatten at a time yet to be known.
The minister, however, said that the expected increase in positive cases would not be so dramatic, if there would be better adherence by citizens to all advisories.
He also said that COVID-19 curve would flatten if the citizens would determine to take responsibility for reducing the spread of this disease.
He said that conscientious wearing of masks was being confirmed in various studies as the easiest, cheapest and most reliable way to check the rate of spread.
“Some countries have made it mandatory by law and imposed a fine for non compliance.
“Regular washing of hands, avoiding crowds, social distancing and use of minimum of 65 per cent alcohol-based hand sanitiser remain as relevant as at the beginning,” he said.
According to him, 13,447 COVID-19 cases have so far been successfully treated and discharged in Nigeria while 740 fatalities have been recorded.
“Our aim is to further reduce the fatalities by ensuring that those defined as vulnerable are protected with non pharmaceutical measures and prioritised for admission to observation or treatment centres, even if they do not yet have symptoms.
“On Saturday, we were at the Premier Medical Warehouse, Jabi, Abuja, on the invitation of the Director-General of the West African Health Organization, (WAHO), the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the German Government, to receive a donation of medical equipment and supplies to the Government and people of Nigeria, courtesy of WAHO to support our efforts in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
”The donations include ventilators, test kits, personal protective equipment and face masks – all critical items in our COVID-19 response strategy.
“I wish to, once again, thank WAHO and ECOWAS for the kind donation, and the German Government for facilitating it,” he said.
He disclosed that the 17-man team of the Federal Ministry of Health deployed to Calabar to engage the Cross River Government in setting up its COVID-19 response and aligning it with the national response, had returned to Abuja after a successful mission.
According to him, the team was led by the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
“They had useful interactions with the Cross Rivers State Government and were able to address all areas of concern and interest to the Federal Government and also to the Cross River State Government.
“The Federal Ministry of Health will encourage and prioritise patronage of locally-made commodities which meet the minimum specification,” he said.
He said that Cross River State had begun to align with the Federal Ministry of Health COVID-19 response and had started reporting on the national dashboard.
“We have activated the GeneExpert machine at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to increase testing capacity in the state, and NCDC has resumed deployment of rapid response teams to provide technical assistance to to strengthen the state’s incident management system.
“Following the intervention of the ministerial team with the Cross River State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association officials, issues that led to the withdrawal of medical services by doctors in the state were resolved and strike called-of.
“We plan to replicate this success in other states where the need for policy alignment is found wanting,” he said.
He added that news of the local development of RNA extraction kits and their validation had been relayed to him.
“I am very proud of this development, which I have asked NCDC to evaluate, because it will be a further step in reducing dependence on imported commodities.
“I hope our researchers continue with this trend.
“NIPRID has also applied for financial support to continue its research on the efficacy of Artemisia annua combination in the treatment of COVID-19, which I hope will resonate with sponsors,” he added.(NAN)