The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday declared Kogi State as a high risk for the COVID-19 pandemic for refusing to acknowledge the existence of the disease, not reporting testing and not having isolation centres.
National Incident Manager of the PTF, Mukhtar Muhammad, who declared this at the national briefing of the PTF in Abuja, warned Nigerians against visiting the state as a precautionary measure.
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This is as he said that having analyzed the pandemic in the country, 22 high burdened local government areas within 13 states in the country have been identified.
“We’ve states where data is not coming forth. If we don’t test, your data won’t be analyzed and if your data is not analyzed, we won’t know the level of the pandemic in your state.
“Notable among the states that haven’t been reporting adequately include Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi and of course Kogi that has not been reporting at all.
“States that are not testing are probably at much more higher risk than the states that are currently known as high burdened states.
“A state that’s not testing at all is an absolute high risk for Nigerians to go there because there’s no testing facility and even if you fall sick, there’s no isolation center and they don’t even acknowledge that the disease exist. So for that reason, we put that state at the top of high risk state,” Muhammad said.
He said that the 22 high burdened local government areas within 13 states in the country, mostly in the cities of the state capitals contributed over 95 percent of the new cases recorded in the last six weeks. According to him, the states and local governments are Nkanu West (Enugu); Abuja Municipal (FCT), Gwagwalada FCT, Gombe (Gombe); Chikun (Kaduna), Kaduna North, Kaduna South; Nassarawa (Kano), Katsina (Katsina), Ilorin South (Kwara), Ilorin West (Kwara), Eti-Osa (Lagos), Ikeja (Lagos), Kosofe (Lagos), Lagos Mainland (Lagos), Keffi (Nasarawa), (Lafia), Nasarawa, Ibadan North (Oyo), Jos North (Plateau), Jos South (Plateau), Port-Harcourt, (Rivers) and Wamako (Sokoto).
“The PTF was working currently to provide support to various states through their task forces towards contextualizing and implementing the regulation signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As mentioned earlier, the regulation covers places of worship, public transport, banks, workplaces, sports and so on and so forth.
“Notable features of the regulations include: Restrictions on gatherings, mandatory wearing face masks in public and above all the powers of prosecution by law enforcement agencies.
“We expect governments, institutions, owners of private buildings and other regulators to enforce these regulations. For example, putting a notice of no mask no entry or no mask no service, to enlightened the users of your services.
“Pertinent strategies will be adopted and they will include mobile court on strategic locations such as markers, motor parks and it is expected that every law enforcement agencies will monitor complaints or their staff within which they supervise.
“We are providing advisory to the states to develop community engagement strategy and risk communication strategies to sensitize the public on compliance to these regulations and to promote behavioural changes.
“Last week we started with the FCT, where we had a very fruitful meeting with the Minister and the stakeholders of the FCT. We are currently developing the implementation plan and the timeline for which the FCT Taskforce will commence operations all over the FCT.”
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said at least 75 health care workers had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last one week.
“In the last one week, we have 75 health care workers infected in Nigeria. So, we’re very worried about this and we can reduce this risk.
“But we can reduce this risk. For healthcare workers, please maintain a high index of suspicion at all times. We need you alive and well. This means that you should suspect COVID-19 in every case you meet, until ruled out. Even when ruled out, there is still the small risk of infection.
“We’re rolling out the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits (RDTs) in more health facilities over the next one month, as an additional tool to protect healthcare workers. We remain deeply grateful for the efforts and commitment of healthcare workers across the country?
“Last week the country recorded 27 deaths in a single day. Every death recorded is a tragic occurrence and our health workers are working extremely hard to prevent these. Everything we think and do in terms of the response, is focused on trying to save lives.
“Over the past weeks, we have had several reports from patients that have been managed for days, sometimes weeks without thought being given to a COVID test.
“Colleagues, we need to significantly raise our alert levels to symptoms that patients present with. COVID-19 should be ruled out first for patients with pneumonia symptoms, congested chest, fever, and body pains even vague symptoms.
“Please, stay safe. A case with fever and fatigue could be COVID-19. It’s important to ensure patients are tested for COVID-19 and appropriate personal protective equipment are used by healthcare workers.”
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the dates of first arrival of the first batch of vaccines in Nigeria kept changing because the decision lied with the manufacturer who already had heavy commitments.
He said Nigeria had been allocated over 41 million doses by the AU’s African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team and was expecting 15 of about 42 million doses from COVAX.
He said: “Altogether, it’ll give us coverage for over 50 percent of our target for 2021, if we can access all doses promised.”
He said the ministry’s oxygen strategy had been boosted by the addition of 38 proposed oxygen plants now in procurement process and would address COVID-19 treatment centre needs and also the long neglected oxygen needs of the health sector in the post-COVID-19 era.
The minister sad till date, only two companies haf submitted the doziers of their vaccines to NAFDAC where the evaluation was ongoing.
“Vaccines without NAFDAC certification are illegal and may be dangerous, in the light of fake vaccines, said to be already in circulation in parts of Europe,” Ehanire.