The federal government said Monday that its target is to reduce COVID-19 mortality rate to one percent.
Minister of Health, Mr Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 in Abuja, said the virus would spread to more to rural areas across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be ready for the pandemic as the nation prepares to open its economy fully.
“Our objective is to reduce case fatalities to less than 1% from present 2%, and we are working on innovative interventions with prospects of improving survival chances, especially for the elderly and those with co-morbidity.
“We will work with State governments to prepare necessary space and human resources at General hospitals or PHCs, to be trained for setting up at least one sample collection site at every LGA in due course, with efficient sample retrieval logistics to convey samples to laboratories.
“For patients with significant clinical symptoms, we also plan the designation of Holding rooms at General hospitals, with facilities for oxygen administration, such as oxygen concentrates or from oxygen cylinders. Some investment in this strategy, known in Lagos State as oxygen kiosks, will be required, but the benefit, in lives saved, will be significant.
“All this may sound ambitious, but we must face the stark reality that covid-19 will also spread to small towns and rural areas, and so begin to prepare structures to respond to the challenge,” he said.
The minister said COVID-19 would spread more to rural areas, stressing that Nigerians should be ready for that.
“It is too early to read meanings to the COVID-19 data in Nigeria. The testing for COVID-19 increased by 40, 000 between June and July. Our health workers should not be apprehensive over PPE as the country has a reasonable stock.
“As the course of the disease becomes clearer, experts are hazarding cautious guesses. The Director General of WHO has warned, for example, that COVID-19 could be with us for a long time. This means we are to consider adjusting to what has been described as the “new normal,” a way of life that is intended to reduce risk of infection, while allowing meaningful economic life to resume and citizens to restore their livelihoods.
“There will be increase in travels, human interactions, gatherings. In all of this, we must not forget our safety and the measures to protect ourselves and out families,” he said.
The minister also told journalists that the testing for COVID-19 has increased by 40,000 between June and July.
He said that as of Monday, the country recorded 43,841 confirmed cases out of a total of 286,091 samples tested, while 20,308 persons have been treated and discharged. He said 888 persons have been lost as a result of the COVID-19.