By Dipo Olowookere
Minister of Health, Mr Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that Nigeria has increased its testing capacity for Coronavirus (COVID-19) to 1,500 a day, noting that more samples can now be tested and quickly too with a turn-around time of 12-48 hours from when the samples are received.
He made this disclosure on Thursday at a ministerial press briefing on COVID-19, where he said 174 persons have tested positive for the virus as of today.
He said 91 are in Lagos, 35 in FCT, 14 in Osun, 8 in Oyo, 5 in Akwa-Ibom, 4 each in Ogun, Edo, and Kaduna, 3 in Bauchi, 2 each in Enugu and Ekiti and one each in Rivers and Benue States.
He revealed that nine persons had been discharged till date while two deaths had occurred due to severe underlying illnesses aggravated by their COVID-19 infection.
“Yesterday, we had the highest number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and we are speedily ramping up testing capacity for the disease in Nigeria,” the Minister said.
He noted that two additional laboratories have been added to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s network of molecular laboratories, the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital Oyo State and Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi State.
The Minister also informed that bedding space had also been expanded in University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada and across the country and urged other states to prioritize identification of same within their states particularly tertiary hospitals.
Mr Ehanire, who is a trained medical doctor, noted that all facilities where isolation and treatment of coronavirus are to be conducted will be inspected for accreditation by a team from NCDC, Federal Teaching Hospital Irrua and headed by the Commissioner for Health of Lagos State including the Office of the National Security Adviser. He hinted that facilities in Abuja are currently been inspected.
The Minister stated also that ad-hoc staff and Port Health Authority staff had been redeployed to support various areas of response at the airports and to key roads that serve as key entry and exit points.
Health Minister urged the public to stay at home as a lot of effort and structures had been put in place by government. This he encouraged will determine the success in slowing the spread of the infection in the country.
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