The Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu Thursday announced new case management guidelines for the treatment and discharge of COVID-19 patients.
Ihekweazu released the guidelines at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19.
He said that the third version of the guidelines was released following new science emerging on the duration of infectivity of individual patients.
He said the two critical groups of patients covered in the guidelines are the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
“The symptomatic patients will now be discharged at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least three days without symptoms while asymptomatic patients can be discharged 14 days after the first PCR positive test.
“We no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge, with confidence that you can go home and you are no longer infectious or putting family or friends at risk. If your symptoms last for longer, we will wait while managing,” he said.
He said physicians are hesitant about the new guidelines, stressing that they are effective.
“So we are confident on the impact if this change is difficult, because we have been saying you have to have a negative test, so even though we have published this result, physicians are still hesitating to use it, but I assure everyone managing cases for 14 days,” he said.
He said the NCDC has removed the use of antivirals like Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from its treatment guidelines.He said the antivirals would now be used only on trials and casually because its safety is uncertain.
“The treatment protocol remains to manage symptoms, pre-existing conditions, supplemental oxygen therapy to different extents, treatment of bacterial infections and ensuring that patients are well nourished and well hydrated,” he said.