Press Briefing By Hon. Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire At The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 Press Briefing On Thursday 8th October, 2020

Protocol

In the past 24 hours, Nigeria recorded 155 new covid19 cases, bringing total confirmed cases to 59,738 out of 543,415 persons tested so far.  51,403 cases have been discharged and 1,113 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The recorded recovery rate is 86%, while case fatality rate dipped marginally to about 1.85%. Positivity rate has declined to about 5%.

2.    A meeting of West African Ministers of  Health under the auspices of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) was held on 29th September by video conference, to review sub-regional experience in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as protocols for resumption of regional travel and cross border commerce. His Excellency the President of the Federation is ECOWAS COVID-19 champion. Part of the learning from the meeting is that covid19 pandemic is evolving along similar patterns of decline in cases and fatalities in West Africa. While this provides some comfort that we are not out of place in our sub-region, we still have no reason for complacency.

3. The so-called second wave of the covid outbreaks we are seeing in several European countries and across the Atlantic, gives us reason for serious concern, coming, as they do, on the heels of what was believed to have been control gained over the disease. As schools and economies reopen and international flights increase, we are concerned that there may be a surge in the number of positive cases, if we do not step up our response strategies of trace, test, isolate and treat. Some countries have been compelled to introduce stricter social restrictions like closure of restaurants, bars, prohibition of gatherings of more than six persons, compulsory wearing of masks outdoors, targeted lockdowns, etc., in order to address sharp increases in covid cases. A few countries, with strong Health systems, are in fact showing stress and having to transfer patients to other hospitals.  We are especially worried, about huge covid increases in certain countries with which we have high volume of human traffic. The Federal Ministry of Health therefore wishes to advise Nigerians against non-essential travel to high burden countries. The risks that the movement of travelers create, can only be countered with improved surveillance programs. I wish to specially solicit that all travelers, especially arriving passengers, cooperate with border authorities to protect our people and also our health system from stress. We are obliged to reduce the risk of covid importation to Nigeria to a minimum,  especially since many are still without symptoms. As at 26th September, 22 out of 1,473 Persons of Interest, who were tested in the FCT since opening international travel, were found positive for COVID-19.

4. Our testing and tracing capabilities have improved a lot, such that every state of the Federation has least one laboratory. That has increased our daily testing capacity to over 3,500/day. We are, however, still  testing well below that capacity, because laboratories are receiving fewer samples than they could handle, leaving some partners to doubt our reports. I therefore request State governments to improve on sample collection and capacity utilization. All persons with covid evocative symptoms, or who may have come in contact with a confirmed covid case are eligible to submit themselves for testing.

5. CMDs and MDs of Federal Health Institutions had their quarterly meeting in Abuja yesterday, providing FMoH an opportunity to address the body and charge them with higher responsibilities.  Among these is the need for increased vigilance in their hospital emergency centers, so that increases in attendance by persons suggestive of covid infection are promptly detected and reported for follow up. Disease surveillance and Notification Officers at LGAs and Incident Managers at State level are also urged to be on alert, to immediately report cases of unexplained illness or deaths, even in remote locations.

6. The Federal Ministry of Health will organize a Primary Health Summit in the second week of November to unveil the President's agenda on Basic Health care and the areas of emphasis in the march to Universal Health Coverage.  The Basic Health Care Privision Fund is in full operation and all eligible States have received their allocations. The BHCPF 2020 Manual will be formally presented on that date.

7.    Thank you.

FMOH Agencies

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