BY LEVI JOHNSON
In a bid to be proactive, the Federal Government on Friday released N386 million to forestall the unforeseen outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, called COVID-19 virus.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullahi Mashi, disclosed these on Friday during a media parley in Abuja.
Mashi said that the Federal Government has therefore disbursed the sum of N315 million to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) while N71 million went to the port health services division of the ministry for improved surveillance at the ports of entry.
He said: “Intervention requests were made to the Presidency and because of the level of emergency, the Ministry of Finance consented to the request.
”I can confirm to you that N71m was released to the port health services division of the ministry. Also, NCDC has been given N315m. Another request is still in the pipeline.
”The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, submitted a memo to the Presidency about two weeks ago requesting for N620m to strengthen preparedness and interventions for proactive measures to prevent the importation of the coronavirus virus to the country.
”The Minister of State for Health, Dr Adeleke Mamora, told reporters: “The COVID-19, which is a serious public health emergency of international concern, has a total number of confirmed cases globally of 75,748, with 2,129 deaths.
“Eight deaths are outside China – three in Japan, one in France, one in the Philippines, two in Iran, one in Korea. The case fatality ratio (CFR) is 2.4 per cent”.
Concerning the confirmed case of coronavirus in Egypt, the Minister said: “We know that a case was discovered in Egypt, which was the first in Africa and the patient is a foreigner.
“It raised an alarm and we know that coronavirus is known for a high index of suspicion, based on travel history when you don’t have case definition appears in the patient.
“I’m not saying the case in Egypt was false positive or false negative but we will need authorities to give us relevant and informative. All we know is that we were told that one case was discovered and was asymptomatic as at the time the test was carried out just based on the travel history. It came out positive then, and then, along the line, it was tested and was negative. I am sure the NCDC will be working to get the accurate information.
“As at now, there hasn’t been any other report or confirmed case in the whole of Africa, and Nigeria in particular, don’t have any case. Clinicians are being trained in the management of cases.
“Nigeria is developing a stockpile of medical supplies to be used in the event of an outbreak. Our capacity for testing in Nigeria has been enhanced as we have three laboratories currently – National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo state”.