In this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, photo, a nurse feeds water to a patient in the isolation ward for 2019-nCoV patients at a hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. The number of confirmed cases of the new virus has risen again in China Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, as the ruling Communist Party faced anger and recriminations from the public over the death of a doctor who was threatened by police after trying to sound the alarm about the disease over a month ago. (Chinatopix via AP)

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 594 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 22,614.

NCDC announced this on Thursday through its official Twitter handle and noted that the 594 new confirmed cases were from 22 states, with seven deaths as at Thursday.

The health agency said that no new state reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The NCDC said that Lagos reported the highest number of cases with 154 new cases while Delta was second with 106.

Others were Ondo-44, FCT-34, Edo-34, Oyo-33, Kaduna-33, Enugu-28, Katsina-25, Imo-22, Adamawa-15, Ogun-12, Osun-11, Abia-8, Rivers-6, Nasarawa-5, Bauchi-5, Niger-5, Kebbi-4, Ekiti-3, Plateau-1 and Taraba-1

The NCDC also said that till date, 22,614 cases had been confirmed, 14, 243 cases active, 7,822 cases treated and discharged, 122,155  samples collected while 549 deaths were recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

NCDC said in the absence of a vaccine to prevent COVID19, Nigerians must focus on non-pharmaceutical interventions such as using face masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing.

The health agency said that loss of taste and smell was a symptom of COVID19, and could also be for some other illnesses.

“It is important to get tested rather than self-medicate on the assumption that it is malaria,” it said.

NCDC also said that while cloth masks were convenient substitutes to medical masks they should not be worn by individuals who were at a high risk of complications.

The health agency further said that face shields were not sufficient to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and should, therefore, be used in addition to face masks.

It observed that there had  been an increased used of face shield by Nigerians, adding they were not to be used in place of facemasks.

The agency also  clarified that the loss of smell or taste had been recognised globally as symptoms of COVID-19.

It noted that tbough there were few other diseases that would cause these symptoms, it was most likely that it was linked with an increasing incidence of COVID-19.

The NCDC urged citizens to adhere to public health measures and recognise the need to pay close attention to the elderly  and those with underlying medical conditions as they were most vulnerable.

On private sector partnership to ramp up testing, the agency said a lot of private sector laboratories had indicated interest and were playing a role already.

It added that Lagos had the highest number of private laboratories.

The NCDC, however, acknowledged that the process of accreditation was complicated and cumbersome for private sector operators, adding it was working with states to ramp up sample collection identified as a major challenge.

The agency also urged Nigerians to hold the NCDC and state governments responsible.

“We have provided testing infrastructure; by the end of tomorrow, we will roll out GeneXperts to seven states. Access to testing is no longer our cahllenge, but collecting samples,” it said.

The NCDC pointed out that testing was not the final solution, but an entry point to clinical care and public health management. (NAN)

 

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