451 views | Akanimo Sampson | April 19, 2020
The exact number of people infected by the rampaging coronavirus in Nigeria is still largely unknown.
Though the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announces that on April 18, 49 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the country, its Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu says more testing still needed to determine the actual number of people infected.
According to him, more testing is needed in Eastern Nigeria, the habitat of the highly mobile Igbo people.
NCDC, however, says 542 positive cases have been confirmed, 166 cases discharged and 19 deaths recorded in Nigeria.
The 49 new cases are reported from six states with Lagos still leading with 23 cases, FCT 12, Kano 10, Ogun two, Oyo one, and Ekiti one.
According to NCDC, a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated at Level 3, has continued to coordinate the national response activities.
While pointing out that Imo is yet to record a confirmed case, and Eastern Nigeria does not yet have many cases despite the fact its people are known travellers, Ihekweazu expresses worries that more people need to be tested to be certain of their coronavirus status.
He was speaking on Saturday in Owerri while inspecting facilities on the ground for the containment of the killer virus in the state which has not yet recorded an outbreak of the pandemic.
‘’We are happy that we don’t have a case in Imo and few in the South East, but to be fully happy, we have to be sure that the system is sensitive enough to dictate cases.
‘’We encourage that more samples be taken from patients with the symptoms and tested. If all comes out negative, then we can be happy and sure of the situation’’, he says.
While assuring that NCDC will have longer engagements with the state government when the battle is over, he adds, ‘’we will work together for a brighter future, but to get to the bright future, we must deal with the present and ensure that we win the coronavirus war.”
Ihekwuazu and his team were in Imo to have a firsthand understanding of the structures the state has put in place for the battle against coronavirus, part of which are surveillance, case management, risk communication and other response components.
He notes that they will, in the course of their findings, provide whatever advice they can identify areas they can support and, most importantly, make sure that the state invests the scarce resources available to her with the one they can provide to make sure that Imo is more protected.
Governor Hope Uzodimma, however, notes that the pandemic which is a global phenomenon has made great nations look helpless, expressing satisfaction with the level of work and success recorded by the NCDC despite the medical and Health constraints of the nation.
While reaffirming the need to test more people for the virus, he calls on the NCDC to establish a test centre in the state to expedite the process of testing the collected samples.
Governor Uzodimma readily identified Orlu Teaching Hospital, which presently has a 200-bed ultra-modern Isolation Centre and other facilities ready to house as a laboratory for COVID-19 test.
He also urged the agency to partner with the state government in strengthening the system to be more prepared and alert in the event the virus finds its way into the state.