Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC

COVID-19 cases now 139 as NCDC traces 5,000 ‘suspected’ persons

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Nigeria’s confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have risen to 139 following the discovery of four new cases in the country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its latest update on the disease, disclosed that the new figure in a tweet on its verified Twitter handle later Tuesday, March 31.

It was gathered that of the new cases, three were confirmed in Abuja, FCT, whereas a new case was discovered in Lagos.

The four fresh Coronavirus cases were recorded days after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the restriction of movement in Lagos, Ogun States and Abuja respectively.

“Four new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 3 in the FCT and 1 in Lagos.

“As of 08:00 p.m. 31st March, there are 139 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria.

“Nine have been discharged with two deaths ─NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 31, 2020,
Nine COVID-19 patients were discharged, as two deaths also have been recorded in the country.

With the increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Lagos now has 82 reported while the FCT has 28.

Other states that have recorded at least one case are Oyo –8, Osun –5, Ogun –4, Kaduna –3, Enugu –2, Edo –2, Bauchi –2, Ekiti –1, Rivers –1, and Benue –1.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Government has said that it is currently tracking about 5,000 suspected cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), disclosed this at the second joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja, Tuesday, March 31.

Ihekweazu said the strategy that NCDC is still applying nationally is one of containment.

“It means that we’re still at a point where we think we have a window of opportunity to identify all the cases, confirm them, and bring them into care.

“Confirm all their contacts, follow up each of them, make sure they don’t have the disease and if they do have the disease, bring them into care,” the NCDC Director-General said.

He noted that this was a tedious process, because NCDC is following about 5,000 cases all over the country.

“Do we have to really meet? We will be destroying the efforts we’re making collectively.I

t is only by doing this and bearing this pain for a few weeks that we have a small chance of containing this outbreak,” he said while commenting on the government’s “stay at home” directive. 

He said that an updated case definition was taken into account for the epidemiology of the virus and the transmission pattern seen in the country.

“The major update to the current case definition, is that any patient with acute respiratory illness within the last 10 days, fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; and in absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation and residing or working in the last 14 days in an area identified by NCDC as a moderate or high prevalence region will be treated as a suspect case.

“This is in addition to the already existing case definition where the focus was on symptomatic patients, fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, who are recent international travellers within 14 days of arrival or contacts of confirmed cases,” he added.

Again, Dr. Ehanire, Minister of Health, said the government would cover 300 GeneXperts to test for the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He recalled that the GeneXpert was widely deployed about a decade ago to rapidly detect tuberculosis and other related illnesses across the country.

Ehanire said the recent inclusion of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State capital, into the network laboratories for COVID-19, and ongoing assessment to include seven other laboratories in the next three weeks would enable increased testing capacity and improved turn-around time.

He said that it is critical to reduce turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.

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