NCDC decries test controversy in Akwa Ibom

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, has decried unnecessary controversy over the authenticity of the results of Coronavirus patients in Akwa Ibom.

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Five persons were tested positive in the state but the state government is disputing the outcome of the test carried out by NCDC at the Irrua Specialist Hospital.

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The Director General, NCDC, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu said tests are painstaking and subjected to review as required by medical protocol even as he stoutly defended the integrity and professionalism of his team.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Government has promised to expand number of isolation centers and ICU units across the country to treat Nigerians with severe complications from the Coronavirus  pandemic outbreak.

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Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire at the Presidential Taskforce Press Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja listed those requiring special care as elderly persons above the age of 70 and those with critical underlying health conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis and HIV.

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He said that in the last 24 hours, the NCDC has expanded the bedding space at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada and across the country.

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He urged the 36 states of the federation to urgently prioritize identification of patients in this category within their states and the tertiary hospitals to use.

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“All facilities including private facilities where isolation and treatment of COVID19 are to be conducted, will be inspected for accreditation by a team comprising experts from NCDC, Federal Teaching Hospital, Irrua and headed by the Hon. Commissioner for Health of Lagos State.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser shall be invited to join, since coronavirus has national security implications. The facilities in Abuja are currently being inspected,” he added.

The minister said that with the expansion of national case definition and addition of two laboratories to the NCDC network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19; Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Oyo State and Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the national testing capacity is now 1500 a day.

“This means that more samples can be tested and done quickly too with a turn-around time of 12-48 from when the sample is received at the laboratories.

“As of today, the April, 2, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 174 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 91 are in Lagos, 35 in FCT, 14 in Osun, 8 in Oyo, 5 in Akwa-Ibom, 4 each in Ogun, Edo and Kaduna, 3 in Bauchi, 2 each in Enugu and Ekiti, and 1 each in Rivers and Benue States,” he disclosed.

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The minister said that those discharged from the hospital are nine but others are pending once their final tests are done.

“The number of persons discharged till date is nine. Two deaths have been recorded from COVID-19 in Nigeria. These were cases  with severe underlying illnesses aggravated by their COVID-19 infection.

“Yesterday, we had the highest number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and we are speedily ramping up testing capacity for the disease in Nigeria,” he said.

The Minister decried worries over Nigerians returning to the country through land borders who run a higher risk of infection if they are with an infected person in a confined place for a long time.

“It is advisable that all travellers postpone non-essential travel whether by air or by land, national or international,” he advised.

 

 

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