By Abujah Racheal
Abuja – The Federal Goverment has said that clinical trials for possible Coronavirus (Covid-19) treatment were ongoing.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said this on Friday in Abuja, at the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) Briefing on COVID-19 in the country.
Ehanire said that all efforts would not be effective if Nigerians do not cooperate with the government.
The minister said that Nigeria has recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours.
”Cumulatively, as of April, 3, there are 190 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
“The confirmed cases are in 12 states and the FCT. Nigeria had two fatalities and 20 patients have been discharged from treatment,” he said.
According to him, there are 98 in Lagos State; 48 in FCT; Osun 20; Oyo 8, Akwa Ibom five; Edo, Kaduna and Ogun, four each; Bauchi three; Enugu and Ekiti two each, while Rivers and Benue have one each.
“We are already seeing what may be indications of sustained community transmission in the sense that 30 per cent of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information, while 51 per cent were imported cases and 19 were contacts of known cases.
“We are using the small window of opportunity remaining to intensify investigations to identify cases and their sources.
“This is one of the purposes for which the lockdown of two states and the FCT was proclaimed by the President. These areas, especially Lagos as primary epicenter, but also other parts of the federation, need to speed up their activities to detect and isolate COVID-19 patients.
“During and following the lockdown, we expect to see an increase in cases as a measure of improvement in case finding. If social distancing and other measures are adhered to, the incidence of positives cases can be controlled,” he said.
The minister said that the NCDC tested nearly 3,000 samples so far in the country and the centre is working hard to scale up their capacity in a targeted approach.
He, however disclosed that the Coronavirus Treatment Centre Accreditation Committee was inaugurated on Wednesday by the Minister of State for Health , Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora and had begun developing an accreditation checklist, as well as a protocol for management of isolation centres.
“We are compiling a list of trained health workers to man Centres as they become operational.
“Directors of the Ministry of Health had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to explore potentials for local production of Medical consumables.
“Such as face masks, gloves, sanitisers, and even equipment like ventilators,” he said.
Ehanire said that this was in view of the looming global shortages of medical supplies for response, due to high demand by all countries.
He notified Nigerians of the gifts of medical supplies from China, courtesy of the group of Chinese Companies working in the country.
“A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items, which include commodities, PPE and ventilators.
“Of great interest is an 18-member team of Chinese medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers, who shall come along with the flight,” he disclosed.
In his remarks, – the Minister of Avation, Sen. Hadi Sirika clarified some exemptions regarding the COVID-19 flight restrictions.
Sirika said that cargo flights would continue, but they must front-load packing lists.
He added that Oil and gas industry operational flights “carrying personnel and equipment” were exempted from flight restrictions.
On his part, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said he has sent communication to all Nigerian Embassies and Missions to ascertain if and how many Nigerians would like to return home because of COVID-19.
“As soon as we collate the numbers, we will start looking at evacuation modalities where necessary,” he said.
Onyeama said that the Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nation in Vienna had been able to secure from International Atomic Energy Agency a donation of 80,000 Euros worth of medical equipment and supplies to assist in the COVID19 response in the country .