COVID-19: Medical Supplies from China Not Contaminated, Says FG

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Minister of state for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

*Says $1.3m worth of equipment received from China

By Martins Ifijeh

Following concerns by some Nigerians that the medical supplies from China may contain virus that causes COVID-19, the federal governmaent has alllayed their fears, saying the donated kits are not contaminated.

This is even as the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said the federal government had taken possession of $1,300,000 worth of medical equipment and consumables from a group of Chinese companies in Nigeria as part of their contribution towards fighting COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Speaking exclusively with THISDAY Thursday, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said it was not correct that the equipment received from China contains COVID-19 which could infect millions of Nigerians.

There has been an outrage over the donations, as some Nigerians believed Europe’s COVID-19 cases escalated after they received medical materials from China, warning that Nigeria’s number of cases may surge if the medical supplies are allowed into the country.

Ihekweazu said: “There is no evidence that the kits received in Nigeria are contaminated with the virus that causes COVID-19. These medical supplies are very effective when safely used by health workers.”

On his part, Ehanire said the $1,300,000 worth of donations include personal protective equipment, one million medical masks for health workers and ventilators, consumables and other forms medical supplies.

In a statement made available to THISDAY Thursday, he said: “These resources will support the ongoing efforts of our hard-working and resourceful health workers across the country, including doctors and nurses who have been at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“The personal protective equipment will also serve to protect these frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty. The Federal Ministry of Health, on behalf of the federal government, appreciates this gesture from the Chinese community in Nigeria, recognising that collaboration, knowledge sharing, and expert insight are critical in the fight against coronavirus.

“We assure that the federal government, through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), will ensure the quality of all the medical supplies that were brought into the country,” he said.

The minister stressed that following global best practices and in line with the ministry of health’s advisory, the 15 medical experts who arrived into Nigeria Wednesday from China have gone into isolation for 14 days and that they will be tested for COVID-19.

He said the ministry will ensure proper distribution of the donations and strategic engagement with the medical team from China to work with Nigerian medical experts.

“It is important to emphasise that the guests are not here to treat patients but to conduct capacity building based on their experience. All available resources shall be deployed to support adequate engagement of Nigerian medical experts towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” he added.