Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said 40 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus while on the frontline of duty to save others from the infection.
The minister made the disclosure on Thursday at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja.
He said apart from the 40 health workers that tested positive, a reasonable number have also been quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure.
Enahire advised the health workers to take all necessary precautions for their own safety, warning them not to treat any patient without using adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
While commending the health workers for their exemplary services to the nation, he emphasised that the warning became imperative due to the number of health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the number already quarantined.
He said: “I applaud our health workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will continue to provide you with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and I urge you to take all necessary precautions for your own safety.
“Please do not treat any patient without using adequate PPE, frontline health workers must undertake refresher training on IPC. This warning has become necessary due of the number of health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure.”
Specifically, he urged them to remain very vigilant in the line of duty and maintain a high level of suspicion for COVID-19.
On the country’s testing capacity, he stated that Nigeria is presently testing an average of 600 samples per day, adding that although the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratories have the capacity to test 1,500 samples per day in its 13 laboratories across the country.
He explained that the average of 600 samples per day that are being tested was because that is amount of samples usually collected and sent for testing.
“Factors impeding the process may include surveillance of sample collection and mode of transportation, which can be improved to increase operational efficiency. This is where a little investment can help.
“The results of such intensification of efforts can be seen especially in Lagos where improved logistic management increased sample collection and significantly reduced turn around time,” he said.
Ehanire, however, pointed out that contact tracing was key to containing the pandemic, but emphasised that it was a tedious and meticulous activity.
Giving the update, the minister said: “As of today, 23rd April, 2020, 873 people in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been confirmed to have COVID-19 from 9,522 tests. The 91 additional confirmations are as follows: 74 in Lagos, five in Katsina, four in Ogun, two each in Delta and Edo, one each in Adamawa, Kwara, Oyo and FCT. 197 persons have been successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged home, while 28 deaths have sadly been recorded.
“Like yesterday, the high number of new cases is a manifestation of more efficient testing, but also of ongoing community transmission. The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, continues to support preparedness and response to COVID-19 in all states and the FCT. Rapid Response Teams are working closely with state emergency operations centre to strengthen operations.”