NCDC traces 6,000 contacts as COVID-19 cases rise to 131

By AdvocateNews on 31/03/2020

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•Deaths increase to two •Lagos discharges five more patients • Oyo gov tests positive

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is now tracing 6,000 people in Lagos and Abuja suspected of having contact or being in proximity with those that have tested positive for COVID-19.

The figure, released yesterday by the agency, showed an increment of 1,630 over the number of people being traced as at last Thursday.

Besides, the NCDC also announced 20 fresh cases of COVID-19, bringing the tally to 131.

Among the new cases is Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, who confirmed that he tested positive for the virus.

The death toll from the pandemic also rose by one, bringing the number of people that have died from the virus since the index case occurred on February 27, to two.

However, five of the patients who had been receiving treatment were discharged yesterday in Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic, after being certified free of the virus.


Amid the rain of donations from corporate organisations and individuals, President Muhammadu Buhari lauded All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu and Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, among others, for their contributions to the battle against COVID-19.

The NCDC, while giving an update yesterday on the virus and efforts to combat it, said 13 of the new cases were from Lagos, four from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), two from Kaduna State and one from Oyo State.

It said: “As at 09:00 pm March 30, there are 131 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria with two deaths.”

Of the 131 cases, Lagos currently has 81, FCT 25, Oyo eight, Kaduna and Ogun three each, Enugu, Edo, Bauchi and Osun two each, while Ekiti, Rivers and Benue have one each.

NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, added that no fewer than 6,000 people are being traced in Lagos and Abuja over their contacts with COVID-19 patients.

Ihekweazu, while fielding questions when he appeared on Channels Television, said at least 2,000 people had been tested nationwide.

He said: “We appeal to Nigerians to bear the few weeks of pain to come and let’s see whether we can get on top of this.

“These weeks will allow our teams to have access to the contacts that are living around Lagos and FCT. We are following over 6,000 contacts of these 111 confirmed cases across these two cities. Every time we have a new case, we add about 50 to 60 contacts that we then have to follow every single day for 14 days.

“We hope that we can really use this time to buy some time to get ahead of the cases and ultimately see that curve start going down but in the next few days, we still do expect an increase in cases.

“We have currently tested well over 2,000 people. We will update those figures today or tomorrow. We have increased the number of labs in our network to six.

“We are activating Abakaliki today. There would be a seventh lab in our network.

“We’re maximising the opportunity of the equipment that we have and at the same time rolling out new labs. We’re very focused on increasing the testing capacity. We are being boxed down by people who do not require the test.”

Asked how long it takes for a test to be carried out and the result released, Ihekweazu said it took between 24 and 48 hours, but the NCDC is working on bringing it down to 12 hours.

He explained that some tests are delayed because it is carried out twice to ensure that the results are accurate.

“Molecular testing is carried out in runs. One run can take six to seven hours. We have now almost optimised the process to do three runs a day in each lab. And that’s why you have seen the numbers rise because we are testing more samples and producing more results,” he added.

Ihekweazu said while the government did not resort to force to make residents comply with the restriction orders in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States, it hoped Nigerians would voluntarily comply in their own interest.

“They need to do this for themselves and their country.

“But the key thing in the president’s speech like you would have noticed is that we’re not rolling out the military or the police to ensure that people stay at home. We are really appealing to Nigerians to do this for themselves and their country,” he added.

Makinde Tests Positive to COVID-19

The Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, yesterday confirmed that he had tested positive to the virus.

He became the third governor to test positive after Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.

Makinde, who tweeted via his personal handle, @seyiamakinde, said although he tested positive to COVID-19, he showed no symptoms and would remain in isolation.

He added that he had appointed a former Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Prof. Temitope Alonge, as the Head of COVID-19 Taskforce while he recovers.

Nigeria Records Second COVID-19 Death

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, yesterday said Nigeria had recorded its second COVID-19 death.

Ehanire, in a statement, said the fatality was recorded during the weekend.

The minister said the majority of those who had tested positive for COVID-19 came from overseas while the others were their close contacts.

“Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment. But sadly, another fatality was recorded over the weekend in the person of a patient who had severe underlying illnesses.

“We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat, in order to reduce the spread of the infection,” he said.

Lagos Discharges Five Patients

The Lagos State Government has discharged five patients who were admitted to and treated at the Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba Mainland Hospital.

The government, in a statement, identified the survivors as four males and one female, bringing the total number of survivors from the centre to eight.

The survivors were quarantined and treated at the isolation centre for two weeks after testing positive for the virus.

It said the survivors who preferred to remain anonymous looked stable and unruffled, adding that they felt happy they had been given a clean bill of health.

They expressed joy and satisfaction with the state government and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the treatments they received and his proactive approach towards the containment of the virus.

It was learnt that Sanwo-Olu has received the news of the full recovery of the five patients with excitement.

The governor, in a short message reassured Lagosians that his administration was doing all it could to curtail the spread of the virus so that life could return to normal.

He said: “We are very excited to hear that five of our citizens in the isolation centre have regained full recovery. It is another pointer to us that with a concerted effort, we can defeat the coronavirus in Lagos and Nigeria.”

US Approves Emergency Use of Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalised for COVID-19.

CNN reported that the authorisation came in a letter dated March 28.

The report noted that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged the FDA’s action in its March 29 news release.

US President Donald Trump has described the drugs – which are used to treat malaria and other conditions – as game-changers.

But the FDA limited the scope of its authorisation to drugs supplied from the Strategic National Stockpile.

The HHS announced that two pharmaceutical companies, Bayer and a division of Novartis, had donated the drugs to the stockpile.

“Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalised COVlD-19 patients.

“The safety profile of these drugs has only been studied for FDA approved indications, not COVID-19,” the statement said.

While there’s limited evidence on the efficacy of Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine, the FDA said the drugs’ benefits outweighed their risk.

In its letter, the FDA encouraged randomised clinical trials that could assess the effectiveness of the drugs, noting that the known and potential benefits outweigh the risks.

According to HSS, the authorisation is limited to patients who are currently hospitalised and weigh at least 50kg or about 110 pounds.

“Under the emergency use authorisation, healthcare providers must contact their local or state health department to access the drugs,” it added.--Thisday

Posted 31/03/2020 07:16:10 AM


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