FG Directs COVID-19 Isolation Centres to Prepare for Reopening

0
Osagie Ehanire

•Says Nigeria to receive 20m doses of vaccine early next year

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government has asked COVID-19 treatment centres across the country to prepare for reopening.
Some of the centres were shut after the country recorded a decline in cases.
However, there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases, with a warning that there might be a second wave of the pandemic in the country.
Speaking at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said he had directed health workers to be on red alert.

“We are seeing the increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last few days, which we have frequently alluded to in recent times. This rightly suggests that we may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic. Last week, we recorded 1843 against 1,235 two weeks before that and 1,126 the week before that,” he said.

“In the past 24 hours, 474 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded, with an indication that this week’s figure will beat last week’s. As at today, we have crossed 70,000 mark with a total of 70,669 confirmed cases of which 65,242 have been treated and discharged. Sadly the number of deaths has now reached 1184 as against 1,167 two weeks before.

“Everyone of us has a role to play in the effort to prevent the explosive spread of this infection in Nigeria. While we strive for the best, we must prepare for a possible second wave which we must ensure, does not get to be worse than what we have seen so far, judging from what we observe in other countries.

“The US, UK and other countries are going through very difficult times, and we do sympathize with them. To prepare ourselves, I have directed that all Isolation and Treatment Centres, which were hitherto closed due to reduced patient load, to be prepared for reopening and the staff complement put on alert.”

Meanwhile, the government yesterday said it had put in place the machinery for receiving 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021.
Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, broke the news at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja.

He said Nigeria is a member of COVAX, an international coalition, under the World Health Organisation (WHO) umbrella.
Shuaib added that 92 countries came together to ensure access and safety of vaccines.

He said the expected 20 million doses would first be given to workers in the health sector and vulnerable citizens.
“We are on course to access safe vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. We will be leveraging on the polio platform to ensure effective delivery of vaccines to our vulnerable population,” he said.
“We have established a supra-ministerial advisory committee to ensure a seamless administration. A technical group meets every week and has devised a risk communication plan to deliver safe vaccines to Nigerians.”