President Buhari will determine when to lift lockdown, says Health Minister

277 COVID-19 patients are being treated across Nigeria, says Health Minister

Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, on Sunday said President Mohammadu Buhari would determine when to lift the lockdown occasioned by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

Ehanire said this on Sunday Political on Channels Television in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on April 13, Buhari announced a 14-day extension of lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states to combat the pandemic.

The initial 14-day lockdown in the three states began on March 30.

"The President in his wisdom will decide if the lockdown will be lifted," he said.

The minister said that the decision to extend COVID-19 lockdown was tailored according to the needs of every country.

"We do think that the restriction of movement limits significantly the spread of the virus.

"The models we have seen show that we have not gotten to the peak yet," he said.

Ehanire advised Nigerians that if their symptoms were not meeting the case definition of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), officials might turn them back.

He said that the government had been studying the case in Kano State with their authorities, adding that the ministry would be sending high ranking fact finding missions to there.

Ehanire said that the fact finding mission would meet with the governor to be able to diagnose the situation, adding it was not really clear if they were COVID-19 related.

Ehanire said that the fact finding mission would also looked at if their would be room for improvement in the state's response activities on COVID-19, like surveillance, testing, case finding, contact tracing and isolation.

"Kano does not have experience with COVID-19 and the rate it has exploded should be of concern to all.

"It is possible to be able to contain it, if the right processes are followed and the right resources are brought in.

"The testing center should be back on stream tomorrow because a team has gone there now from NCDC and have arrived there today. They should be able to resumed screening tomorrow (Monday).

"In addition, we are going to have a second laboratory, we shall have a PCR laboratory, so we should be able to take care of the backlogs and be ready to take care of any other samples that will be brought in, from the seven or eight local government areas that are affected," he said.

The minister said that Lagos State had a mechanism that was well oiled compared to Kano State, that were of the same population density, adding that Lagos was able to respond to COVID-19 quickly and aggressively because of the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

He said that with the resources Kano State has, they were trying their best but, definitely they do not have the strength that Lagos has and their human resources were doing their best, but there was also need for re-enforcement.

Ehanire said that the ministry would be sending human resources and materials resources PPRs and laboratory reagents and testing swabs, all of which would come in to the place, if requested.

The minister said that about 40 health workers tested positive for the virus in the country, adding that not all were infected in the line of duty.

NAN reports that the coronavirus pandemic was an ongoing public health emergency of international magnitude, first identified by health authorities in Wuhan, China.

At this moment there are 1.182 known infections in Nigeria. Currently 35 people have died, 925 people are still sick and 222 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Nigeria.

The coronavirus is affecting 211 other countries around the world, including one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan.

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