• ‘Cases rising because of door-to-door testing’

The Federal Government has banned inter-state movement of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) patients.

It said patients would henceforth be treated in the state where they were confirmed positive in order to prevent the exposure of other persons in the course of a transfer.

The government attributed the spike in positive COVID-19 cases to the on-going door-to-testing in Lagos and Abuja.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire announced the ban on COVID-19 patients movements in Abuja yesterday.

Ehanire said: “All persons diagnosed with COVID-19 be henceforth treated in the state where the diagnosis was made, rather than be referred to their states of origin except there is a medical indication to the contrary.

”This is to avoid the high risk of exposure of other persons in the course of a transfer.”

He explained that a protocol for a Patient Transport System has been developed for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and all the states to smoothly convey patients to specialised treatment centres or between treatment centres.

The Nigeria Airforce and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), according to him,   have aircraft on standby for emergencies.

The minister also said Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and Pharmacists have been prohibited from managing persons diagnosed with cases or suspected to be Coronavirus carriers.

He warned that violation would lead to the withdrawal of the licences of the vendors and pharmacists.

”Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and Pharmacists be forthwith prohibited from attempting to treat persons diagnosed as, or suspected to be COVID-19 patients, or else have their operating licenses cancelled,” he said.

He advised private hospitals desiring to manage COVID-19 patients to apply for permits from the health ministries of the states where they are located.

The minister advised Nigerians not to get too scared because “COVID-19 has a cure rate of over 90 per cent of those with the typical symptoms report early for testing and treatment or quarantine.”

The minister again hailed health workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight and urged them to take necessary safety precautions.

”Estimates suggest that several healthcare workers have already lost their lives in less than two months since COVID-19 first appeared and many dozens, including doctors, are idling away in quarantine,” Ehanire added.

Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),   Boss Mustapha, linked the rising number of  Coronavirus cases in the country to the expansion of testing capacity.

He noted that the door-to-door testing strategy for the infection had been adopted into the comprehensive national response plan and was already being deployed in Lagos and Abuja.

Mustapha said: “The PTF notes that the number of cases has risen generally. This is attributable to the expansion of our testing capacity and activities as well as evidence that community spread is 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 task force chairman restated that the situation in Kano State has continued to be of concern to the Federal Government.

On the conduct of Muslims during the approaching Ramadan season, the SGF appealed to governors to pay attention to the directive by   Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar, to  Islamic leaders to suspend activities that encourage crowding.

”The statement (by the Sultan) directed the Ummah on the suspension of obligatory religious activities such as Jumat, congregational and other sessions during the month of Ramadan to prevent the spread of COVID 19,” he said.

”I similarly commend the application of these directives in the states and implore all governors to please consider these directives before taking further decisions,” he said.

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