Quarantine Service Chief warns: Nigeria risks becoming COVID-19 epicentre if…




Director General Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service Dr. Vincent Isegbe has warned that the country risks becoming an epicentre in the spread of COVID-19 if citizens refused to stay by the rules of averting the calamity.

This, he said, became imperative because of the nation’s huge population which could speedily aid its spread in event of non-compliance.

He gave the warning amidst the rising cases of the virus which Sunday stood at 224 as at going to the press at 9.26 pm.

Caution

Sounding some words of caution, however, the NAQS chief said citizens must, as a sense of responsibility and safety consciousness, heed the warning by the federal government.

  A statement by the Head of Media, Communications and Strategies, Dr. Chigozie Nwodo, in Abuja Sunday, quoted  Isegbe as saying:  “If there is one salient lesson that has emerged from the transmission pattern of this plague so far, is that, breaking the chain of spread is the most economical and sensible approach to containing the contagion.”

As a collective, he said, it would be far cheaper for every Nigerians to make the sacrifice of staying at home for a while “than throw caution to the wind and walk with our eyes open into a monstrous public health crisis that we cannot recover from soon. 

“Staying indoors is a reasonable trade-off to enabling the escalation of the attack rate of the virus.”

He stressed the need for Nigerians to heed the federal government’s directive and the recommendation of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to stay indoors and venture out only to purchase essential commodities like food and medicine when absolutely necessary.

With this, the statement said, the country would have a relatively manageable caseload to contend with.

 “It is always easier and faster to flatten the curve if the number of the infected is low,” he added. 

Isegbe further said COVID-19 is the most perplexing public health challenge that the world has experienced in the last 100 years.

“It has overwhelmed the healthcare system of the most developed countries of the world. Nigeria happens to be a very populous country and we need not overwhelm the health facilities and personnel. 

“We encourage you therefore, to stay at home, indoors, and refrain from visiting anyone, not even within the neighbourhood,” he said.

UITH

Meanwhile, the management of the University of Ilorin Hospital has accused a professor of medicine in its employ of connivance in the suspected coronavirus case of a patient who passed on Thursday at the hospital.    

It said the suspected case had been on self-isolation on arrival to Ilorin prior to his presentation at the Accident and Emergency unit of the hospital “on the advice of the professor who brought him.”

A statement by UITH Chairman Medical Advisory Committee Dr. A. O. Saka said the deceased, a 57-year-old man was labelled suspected ‘coronavirus case.’

She said the information of self-isolation “was concealed from the frontline medical personnel at first contact in the A&E, an act that the hospital management considered HIGHLY UNETHICAL!”

The death of the 57-year-old UK returnee has continued to generate some controversies among Kwara residents as well as social media users.

And in its reaction, the state government clarified that it was not a COVID-19 related case.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, said: “The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 wishes to clarify that the state has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19. As of now, all the six samples tested from Kwara State have returned negative.”

However, the UITH CMAC in a statement said: “A 57-year-old, male, Muslim patient was brought into the UITH’s Accident & Emergency Department on the night of Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 in the company of one of the hospital’s Professor of Internal Medicine (a specialist in infectious diseases); with history of abdominal discomfort/stooling, following ingestion of rotten pineapples. He was then admitted and managed as a case of ‘food poisoning’. The patient later died in the early hours of the following day, 2nd, April, 2020.

“Following the patient’s death and release of his corpse to the managing Professor (who also claimed to be his relative) for immediate burial (in accordance with Islamic rites), the hospital management received several anonymous calls disclosing information of recent travels by the patient and his wife to UK and having been on self-isolation on arrival to Ilorin 12 days prior to presentation at A&E (on the advice of the Professor who brought him)- Information that was concealed from the frontline medical personnel at first contact in the A&E, A&E Attendants and the mortuary staff; acts that the hospital’s management considered HIGHLY UNETHICAL!!!!

“Based on this hidden and additional information, the hospital’s management and the UITH’s COVID-19 Committee immediately  swung into action by doing the following: The case was labelled a ‘Suspected Case’;  Immediate notification to Kwara State COVID-19 Committee  Response Team;  Proactive fumigation of the hospital Medical Emergency Department;  Proactive advise for self isolation of close contacts of the patient while in the hospital & their follow-up by UITH’s COVID-19 Cmte Team;  Collaboration with Kwara State COVID-19 Response Team on Contract tracing in the Community;  Collection of laboratory samples from the deceased’s wife, the Professor, and all others identified  as ‘very high risks Contacts’ using National COVID-19 Guideline; and  Institution of other measures at every points of Clinical Services to protect health care staff in the frontlines and other, in cases of deceptions from Clients with probable symptoms of COVID-19.

“The hospital is therefore thankful to these anonymous callers for this vital/critical information. The hospital hereby advises the general public to provide necessary and timely information that will aid appropriate care, services, and prompt response from health workers in the hospital.”

 UBTH

In a related development, the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has said one of the three patients confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 is dead.  

UBTH Chief Medical Director Prof. Darlington Obaseki disclosed this in a statement Sunday in Benin City.

 “The two surviving patients are currently being cared for by our dedicated staff in an isolation ward, with restricted access. Prior to the confirmation of their COVID-19 status, some of our healthcare staffers were exposed to these patients whilst using only personal protection equipment, such as surgical face-masks and gloves.

 “Currently, all the members of staff, who are exposed to these patients, are asymptomatic and they are being monitored closely, according to the current guidelines.

“Further measures have been put in place to ensure that our staffers are not unduly exposed to risks of infection with COVID-19 in the course of their providing care for patients who come to the hospital for various reasons.

“Healthcare workers are on the frontline during this pandemic and are, therefore, at higher risk of being exposed than the general public”, Obaseki said.

 He said the hospital’s  management and staff  had been observing standard precautions at all times to prevent the spread of the disease, and carved “ the support and understanding of the general public, as we fight this raging battle to contain and curb COVID-19.”

 Meanwhile, the UBTH’s chapter of Association of Residents Doctors has   said 25 medical doctors, who had contact with the patients, had gone on mandatory self-isolation.

 In a statement Sunday, the association said 13 of the 25 doctors were house officers, while about 12 were resident doctors, even as it expressed displeasure at the hospital’s poor handling of coronavirus.

 The ARD further said many of the health workers had complained of lack of personal protective equipment, like face masks and hand sanitisers.

 New cases

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said the country recorded 10 fresh cases of COVID-19 in Lagos, Abuja and Edo.

NCDC, through its verified Twitter account Sunday, said of the 10 new cases, Lagos has six, while Abuja and Edo have two cases each.

The new cases brought Nigeria’s confirmed COVID-19 cases to 224.

Twenty-seven of the cases had recovered and discharged while five deaths had been recorded.

A breakdown of the figure showed  Lagos currently  has 115 cases; Abuja- 45; Osun- 20; Oyo and Edo have nine cases each, Bauch-six; Akwa Ibom-five; Ogun and Kaduna four cases each.

The rest were ; Enugu and Ekiti- two cases each, while Rivers and Benue and Ondo states has one case respectively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region showed there were 8,377 cases on the African continent with 371 deaths recorded. (NAN)

Cleric counsels

And as the virus continues to hit Nigeria and the rest of the world, Chairman Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) South-south zone Archbishop Tunde Adeleye has said the pandemic is not ordinary, and therefore advised that humanity should seek the face of God for the Almighty to take away the calamity.

Adeleye, who is also the Archbishop of Calabar Diocese of the Anglican Communion, made the remarks in Calabar Sunday during a chat with journalists.

He said: “We commend the Federal and the Cross River state governments, different parties involved in the fight against the coronavirus for their efforts at reeling out preventive measures against the disease, but we must realize that at difficult times, prayer has been proven to be a potent solution.

“All these measures are laudable but adding prayers and trusting God for His intervention would go a long way to bringing this challenge to an end. I appeal to government to allow Churches to meet together for prayers as the Bible instructs. The need to intensify prayers at this moment cannot be over-emphasized.

“The state government had said it would allow 50 worshipers to meet at a time with social distancing of at least three metres. This is very commendable and I would plead that this be maintained.

“As I said before, in addition to measures that have been put in place, we still need to pray. In my opinion, this virus is not ordinary. The virus is programmed by somebody who has been possessed by demons for a sinister purpose. It is not ordinary, it is the work of the devil and so in order to avert intended danger and purpose of this virus, government should allow Churches to meet, to pray and seek the face of God and ask for His deliverance from the threat of this calamity.

“You may ask, ‘can they not pray on their own at their homes? The  answer is yes, we can pray on our own separately but the Bible instructs us to gather together to pray because by so doing, there is a greater force, combination of faith and there is power of agreement at play at that moment to roll away stumbling mountains. Let the Church gather, let them pray but not for too long. One hour of prayer is alright.”

‘Uphold your faith’ 

 Also, the Archbishop of Ibadan Catholic Archdiocese, Most Reverend Gabriel Leke Abegunrin has urged Christians not to allow the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease affect their trust and faith in God.

 Abegunrin gave the charge in his Palm Sunday message at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Oke-Padre, Ibadan streamed on the Social media for the church members to watch.

He said there was no basis for the faithful to allow the present COVID -19 trouble them.

 “Jesus is asking us in this difficult time as He asked Peter, do you love me? Do we love Him even as we stay at home? Has the Covid-19 situation affected our faith negatively or positively.

“Are we doing more for him in prayers, patience, perseverance, charity to the poor, being kind in deeds and words and in witnessing to what we are celebrating in good and firm faith?”

 He tasked believers to be more focused in their Christian duties and renew their commitment to prayers, almsgiving and forgiveness of people offences, saying, “let us be open to the Holy Spirit that He may lead us out of this darkness into the light of Christ, our Lord and Master.” 

 He prayed that the “suffering, death and resurrection of Christ would heal and cleanse the world of her present evil and those to come.”

The cleric advised the faithful to stay at home in line with the direction of government and health practitioners, saying this  would bring about their safety and deeper relationship.

 Kiagama tasks Christians

In a similar message, the Catholic Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, urged Christian faithful to comply with the stay-at-home order by the federal government aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Kaigama stated this while fielding questions from journalists after celebrating a televised Palm Sunday Mass at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Catherdal, Area 3, Garki, Abuja.  

He said as patriotic citizens, Catholics must comply with the order because the scriptures urged obedience to constituted civil authorities.

“As the Holy Week begins, Catholics should key into the mood. It’s a sober period and since people cannot move about freely due to the stay-at-home order and being patriotic citizens we must comply.

“We get some Catholics and Christians who say who is the government to tell us what to do with our faith, but we must apply reason to faith.

“If there is a pandemic that will wipe all of us away and we insist that we must gather because God is greater than the government and so on, then we are not obeying even the scriptures because we are told to obey constituted civil authorities

“And I beg Nigerians to realise that this is a passing moment, this is a crisis that will definitely pass with the aggression I see the federal government is trying to tackle it and even the global community is trying to tackle it, I am sure we shall overcome

“Let them be at peace, whether you come to church or not, the important thing is pray, the important thing is have a spiritual communion with your God and use your time creatively not to stay home quarrelling and fighting with the family and feeling bored, use the time very well praying and doing good work.”

“The disease has reduced us to one level. The mighty and small nations have all been reduced to the same level with all feeling the hit and unable to do much about it.

“The pandemic has taught us that we must come together to conquer the ills of the society. All nations, big or small, developed and undeveloped, poor and rich, have seen that technology cannot do much. Everyone is running from pillar to post in search of safety.

“Clearly, it is a new beginning for humanity. It means we must return to the golden rule of love and respect for one another. Above all, it has shown that God is on the throne and all must return to Him,” the cleric further said.

Kaigama commended the media for leading the fight against the spread of the virus, stating that the sacrifices of journalists had made them a great asset to the country.

“The media has remained our great bridge, getting relevant and authentic information to link those at home with those on the field in the collective war against the pandemic.

 “God will continue to bless the journalists and strengthen them in their roles of building a strong society fortified with the right information to make informed decisions,” he said.

The archbishop also prayed God to reward and bless medical workers who were sacrificing their comfort, and even lives, to give professional help to the sick in the fight to rid Nigeria of the pandemic.

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