By Abujah Racheal
The Federal Government, on Thursday, warned against unauthorised treatment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, gave the warning at the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) briefing on the pandemic in Abuja.
“All healthcare professionals and associated personnel should diligently follow safety, prevention and control protocols, both inside and outside healthcare facilities.
“They are also not to indulge in unauthorised treatment of COVID-19 cases,’’ Ehanire said.
The minister explained that the appeal was necessary to reduce the incidences of health workers getting infected with the disease.
He said that the ministry was committed to increasing its capacity for testing for COVID-19 cases.
“Twenty-one laboratories nationwide are now operational for COVID-19 testing as we work to drive up demands,’’ he explained.
Meanwhile, the minister said that a team from the ministry had been deployed to Kano State to enhance the training and capacity building of the health personnel.
Ehanire said that the team would also help rebuild the manpower of the federal health facilities in the state.
According to him, medical laboratories in Kano state have been directed to work in shifts to reduce the turnaround time for testing and enable the faster return of results.
The minister directed that all Nigerians returning from abroad should undergo mandatory supervised quarantine in selected hotels for 14 days, before they would be allowed to go home.
He explained that they would also be tested and positive cases would be sent to isolation centres.
Also speaking, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that 95 per cent of Nigerians, who tested positive to the virus, did not bother about their physical results.
Iheakweazu said that to make the system work quicker, the agency agreed to give a verbal result to people, who tested negative.
He added that the security of personnel at isolation centres across the country were the responsibility of the Police, in partnership with state governments.
“People in isolation centres have not committed a crime; they are not prisoners,’’ he said.
The DG advised that to get over the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians must be physically and mentally fit.
He said the NCDC had published new guidelines for businesses and employers, which he said, could be found on its website.
“Businesses must discourage sharing of work tools.
“Staggering work hours is better than closing down businesses,’’ he said.
He, however, said that the government was targeting health benefits by allowing certain aspects of the economy to restart.