LAGOS / ABUJA – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday declared that no state in the country is free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC Director-General, revealed this on Monday during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Ihekweazu made the statement while responding to a question concerning states who were discharging patients and claimed to be COVID-19 free.
This is just as the NCDC is yet to officially report a case in Cross River State as at Monday afternoon.
“No state, no single state in Nigeria is COVID-19 free, not one,” Ihekweazu said. “No country in the world is COVID-19 free. Even New Zealand that is an island state is still having new cases after a period of not having any.
“We can’t separate ourselves from the rest of the country. We live in a context, viruses spread, it’s the nature of them, so right now no state is COVID-19 free. That’s why we have to keep doing this work that we are doing, testing people, finding out if they have it,” Ihekweazu added.
Health Workers Neglecting Other Ailments Over COVID-19—FG
Meanwhile, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, has accused health workers of neglecting other patients having ailments not related to coronavirus.
He made the accusation as the Federal Government made good its pledge of paying members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) N4. 6 billion as hazard and inducement allowances for the months of April and May 2020.
According to the PTF chairman, just like the country has overcome the wild polio virus and has gotten a clean bill of health, gains already made in controlling COVID-19 could be eroded if the trend continues.
He said these on Monday while giving an update on the national control of the virus.
“The PTF is pleased to express its appreciation to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for demonstrating the spirit of patriotism and understanding by calling off the industrial action its members embarked upon. Abiding by The Hippocratic Oath further gives us comfort that we would win this fight.
“The declaration of Nigeria as polio free nation last week is a welcome development and we congratulate all those that participated in the long-drawn battle to rid Nigeria of the disease. This declaration is a signal that overcoming COVID-19 and indeed any other infectious disease is possible and shall be achieved. We use this opportunity to renew our call to the medical practitioners and hospitals not to neglect other diseases and ailments because of COVID-19.
“On the part of government, we would continue to ensure the welfare and safety of all workers will never be neglected. As we pursue the community engagement and risk communication strategy, the PTF has identified lack of information about case definition protocols, location of testing centres, inability to reach call centres, as obstacles to getting needed help.
“The PTF has therefore directed that more awareness be created on the location of test centres and how to get tested especially when you fit the case definition. The call centres are also being re-energised for responsiveness.
“Our messaging on risk communication and compliance by the public will also receive very strong attention. We must develop a national wave of awareness creation to drive home our objectives.
“I, therefore, urge Nigerians to make use of these facilities and get tested. Similarly, I implore us not to be afraid of undertaking the COVID-19 test. Testing positive for COVID-19 is not a death sentence, but failure to test, especially when symptoms are evident could result to death as it may be too late once the symptoms become full blown. The loss of any Nigerian is not only painful but most avoidable provided we seek help early”.
He disclosed that two foreigners who tried to flout the lockdown directive were apprehended over the weekend by men of the Immigration Service.
“The PTF is also not unmindful of the possibility of imports especially through our land borders. For this reason, our men and women of the Nigerian Immigration Service remain vigilant and this has resulted in the apprehension of two foreigners who tried to enter the country illegally over the weekend. This commendable effort is appreciated,” he stated.