NCDC to Spend N1.6bn in 28 Days to Tackle Covid-19

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* NIPRD develops hand sanitizer

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

As efforts to check the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease continues to gain momentum, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that it plans to spend the sum of N1.674 billion in next 28 days on activities aimed at containing the virus in the country.

The Deputy Director, Special Duties at NCDC, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, who spoke on Friday at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Ministry of Health, said from the assessment the centre made, it is going to require N1.674 billion to carry out its surveillance, testing and isolation activities within the next one month.

At the briefing, the Director General of the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe, disclosed that the agency has successfully developed a hand sanitizer to address the looming scarcity of the liquid used as part of the prevention of coronavirus.

He said that the agency responded to the outcry of concerned Nigerians and the subsequent directive by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to assist in checking the anticipated shortages in local supply of drugs and materials needed to manage the outbreak of Covid-19 disease.

Dr. Ehanire, who provided an update on the state of the virus attack, said that there is no new confirmed case of Covid-19 in the country.

He said that so far, health officials engaged in contact tracing of all those that have had contact with the index patient — the Italian consultant — have 61 persons in Ogun and Lagos States.

Ehanire said that 21 suspected cases, who met the case definition, were tested and put under observation but that they reported negative.

According to the minister, two out of three recent suspected cases in Lagos have tested negative, while one is still being investigated.

The minister also gave an update on the progress being made to trace co-passengers of the Italian Covid-19 patient.

He said that 55 of the passengers of Turkish airline that brought the Italian have been traced and are being followed up by health officials.

Details later…