Moses Emorinken, Abuja
Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire warned Nigerians on Tuesday to prepare for the worst, even when the federal government is working hard to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
He urged health professionals and citizens to do their best to learn more about the virus, even when President Muhammadu Buhari extends the easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT.
Speaking during the Presidential Task Force daily briefing at COVID-19 in Abuja, he said: “Yesterday, the President authorized the extension of easing restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT for another two weeks. The blockade in Kano has also been extended for two weeks, to address the remaining challenges of containing the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“It is of great importance that we – members of the health sector and citizens, strive to use this period to dedicate efforts to strive for the best, but also to prepare for the worst.
“As we learn more about the coronavirus every day, we need to be ready to adjust our strategy, based on knowledge and evidence.
“To continue strengthening the response in the states, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Disease Control Center (NCDC) are evaluating isolation centers across the country, recently in Yenagoa and Oshogbo. We also continue to provide diagnostic products and facilities in collaboration with partners.
“The Federal Ministry of Health gives special priority to maintaining essential services in public and private hospitals across the country, due to the serious damage resulting from the neglect of routine health services, such as reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) , immunization, chronic disease control, all due to fear of COVID-19 or the exclusive focus on COVID-19. "
The director general of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in his observation said: “We are not testing the community anywhere. In some states, such as Lagos, Kano and even FCT, we are taking the test much closer to the community, due to the intensity of transmission in these states.
“In these states, states are identifying hotspot areas and based on these identifications, intensifying testing in these communities. We have not reached the stage of conducting community tests across the country. We are doing targeted hotspot areas identified by the states. "