We‘ve tested 5,000 samples, activated 2 additional laboratories for COVID-19 – Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, over the weekend said Nigeria recorded 42 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the to 232, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“We have recorded 5 fatalities in total, all with underlying ailments. A total of 33 patients have been discharged from treatment. We have 120 patients in Lagos State, 47 in FCT, Osun 20, Oyo 9, Edo 9, Bauchi 6, Akwa Ibom 5, Kaduna 5, Ogun 4, Enugu 2, Ekiti 2, while Ondo, Rivers and Benue have 1 each.

He noted that through enhanced surveillance systems and strengthened epidemic intelligence, we continue to detect cases of COVID-19 and treat them to recovery and have tested over 5,000 samples so far, and are working hard to scale up capacity in a targeted approach.

Ehanire said the ministry has activated two additional laboratories for COVID-19 testing at the Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT and Biosafety level-3 Laboratory Lagos.

“We are working with the African Union to develop a continental response.  A Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 response has been developed and an African Task Force on Coronavirus (AFCOR) set up to coordinate preparedness and response efforts in the continent.

“Federal government of Nigeria is expecting an 18-man team of Chinese medical experts, is expected to arrive Nigeria in a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies, to augment government efforts and build capacity to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

He stressed that the donation by Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes PPEs, medical consumables, over 1 million surgical masks for health workers and even ICU ventilators, valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items. In addition, Chinese medical experts, comprising doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real-life experience of fighting covid-19 with Nigerian personnel to strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care.

“This initiative will greatly build the capacity of hard-working and resourceful Nigerian Health Care Workers at the forefront of fighting coronavirus. The much needed PPEs and masks will protect our frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty,” he added.

According to him, we have a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learned from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands-on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices.

“While ensuring we do not lose gains made in the health sector, we shall continue to support States in strengthening their preparedness and response to COVID-19. Rapid Response Teams are deployed to all the affected states.

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