THE Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday admonished Nigerians to prepare for the worst, even as the Federal Government assiduously work to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He urged health workers and citizens alike to do their best to learn more about the virus.
Speaking during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, he said: “Yesterday, the President authorised extending easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT by another two weeks. The lockdown in Kano was also extended by two weeks, to address remaining challenges to containing the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“It is of great importance that we – members of the health sector and citizens — endeavour to use this period to dedicate efforts to strive for the best, but also prepare for the worst.
“As we learn more about coronavirus every day, we must be ready to adjust our strategy, based on knowledge and evidence.
“To continue strengthening response in States, the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are assessing isolation centres all over the country, recently in Yenagoa and Osogbo. We also continue providing diagnostic commodities and facilities in collaboration with partners.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “We are not doing community testing everywhere. In certain states like Lagos, Kano, and even in the FCT, we are taking the test a lot closer to the community because of the intensity of transmission in those states.
“In those states, the states are identifying hotspot areas and based on these identifications, intensifying testing in those communities. We haven’t gotten to the stage of drawing community testing across the country. We are doing targeted hotspot areas identified by states.”
He reminded Nigerians that the ravaging force of the virus does not discriminate on the basis of status, creed, political persuasion, profession or where you come from.
“Now is the time to avoid any distraction from whatever quarters and all hands must be and remain on deck. On our part, we assure Nigerians of our commitment to accountability, diligence and probity.
“For those who are struggling with the disease, help is available. Do not go underground. It’s important to talk about it and to seek help. Every effort spares humanity the agony of the spread of the virus,” he said.