The Federal Government has banned inter-state movement of Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in the country. Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, at the Presidential Taskforce (PTF), briefing on COVID-19. Ehanire said that all persons diagnosed with the virus would henceforth be treated in the state where their diagnosis was made to avoid further spread of infection. He stated that Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and Pharmacists should refrain from attempting to treat COVID-19 patients, otherwise their operating licences would be revoked. He noted that Federal Ministry of Health has deployed the Chief Consultant Epidemiologist, Public Health Department of Kano state and 16 staff of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to Kano state to carryout investigations on recent number of deaths in the state as well identify the peculiarities. The minister stated that private hospitals desiring to manage COVID-19 patients should apply to their state Ministries of Health for permit, meet the Infection Prevention and Control standards and get accredited by the state accreditation team in line with FMOH guidelines. Ehanire stressed that those with existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, TB, HIV, cancer; should take special care and also obey the instructions on taking special care.
“Government is interested in remedies that are being proposed. The Ministry of Health has a department for ‘Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine’, so anything that is thought to have efficacy should be brought forward. “Now we are in the community transmission phase and we have passed that era when people think that COVID-19 was something for big men and women who came from abroad. “Now that it is in the grassroots, the role of the Primary Healthcare now comes to play and it is very important for them to do the surveillance to raise the index of suspicion,” he said. Also speaking, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman on COVID-19 said that the government has introduced the door-to-door testing in some communities in Lagos and Abuja. Mustapha said the PTF noted that the number of cases have risen generally. He noted that this was attributable to expansion of the testing capacity and activities as well as evidence that community spread was taking place.
“Considering the dynamic nature of the response plan, the strategy for testing has been modified and door-to-door testing is now taking place in some communities in Lagos and Abuja. “Testing, detection, isolation, care and case management remain central to our success in this fight. “The situation in Kano continues to be of concern and the PTF is working in close contact with the state government to arrest the situation. The PTF will update you as soon as there are new developments,” he stated. The SGF reminded Nigerians that the pandemic is real and its spreading like wild fire. “We must all arise to fight this potent and invisible common enemy by adhering to the guidelines and protocols for COVID-19, which includes personal hygiene, social distancing, wear of masks in public places, obeying the stay-at-home order and reporting unusual illness to the authorities for investigation,” he advised. “It is anticipated that by April 24, Ramadan will begin. I want to use this medium to thank His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs for endorsing the recommendations of the Emergency Fatwah Committee by issuing a statement guiding the conduct of the Ummah during the Ramadan.
“The statement has directed the Ummah on the suspension of obligatory religious activities such as Jumaat, congregational and other sessions during the month of Ramadan to prevent the spread of COVID 19,” he said. He encouraged scholars and organisations to use all other means of communication and broadcast to disseminate information and conduct programmes. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that as at April 22, 782 people in 24 states and the FCT have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The 117 new cases represent the highest daily increase in new cases so far and is an indication of more efficient testing and increasing community transmission. The most affected States are: Lagos 59, FCT 29, Kano 14, Borno six, Ogun three, Katsina four, and one each in Bauchi and Rivers. 25 deaths have sadly been recorded in total, and 197 people successfully treated for Covid-19 and discharged.