Tobi Aworinde, Abuja

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation have redeployed 17 persons to Kano State to support the fight against coronavirus in the state.

The National Coordinator, PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said this during the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.

According to him, additional lab equipment were sent to Kano on Thursday, though fumigation and disinfection of the Kano molecular laboratory continue “for the next few days.”

Aliyu said, “The PTF has directed and, in line with the directive, the NCDC has already redeployed at least 17 persons, including seven from the WHO, to Kano to deal with the current issues that have arisen.

“In addition, the Director-General, NCDC has worked with the state emergency operating centre to reorganise the way it functions and a joint team, together with that from the state government, is currently investigating the concerns with regard to this.”

The PTF coordinator noted that some states continued to record a low level of testing.

“You will not have a case if you have never tested for it.

“We are encouraging the state emergency operating centres to actively look for cases in the community, especially those presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or those who have unusual respiratory illnesses in hospitals and actively go out to test these people.

“This is the only way we can interrupt transmission. The earlier we do this, the better overall,” he said.

The Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his remarks, said the task force continued to monitor and modify its strategy in states as development unfolds.

He said, “Our assessment of the impact of the lockdown is still ongoing and I wish to confirm to you that the DG NCDC and the WHO representative have returned from their tour of nine states and their report will be received and evaluated, preparatory to making the appropriate recommendations.

“The situation in Kano is still being assessed and monitored closely.

“Based on preliminary findings, the PTF has directed the NCDC to send an enhanced support team, mobilise resources for contact tracing and immediately ensure necessary steps are taken, in conjunction with the state government, to contain the spread of the pandemic in Kano and stop the city from becoming the next epicentre.”

Mustapha stated that the PTF viewed, with some measure of concern, the non-compliance by private medical facilities with the directive to seek accreditation before treating COVID-19 related cases.

According to him, the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, if not well-managed in a purpose-built facility and specialists in attendance, poses a lot of danger not just to the medical staff in such hospitals but also to other patients and loved ones at home.

“We, therefore, appeal strongly to operators of private facilities wishing to continue treating COVID-19 cases to apply to the Federal Ministry of Health urgently for accreditation,” he added.

According to the SGF, the Chinese government made a N48 million donation to Nigeria to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “Earlier this morning (Thursday), the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China in Nigeria led the China-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce to present a symbolic cheque in the sum of 48,120,000 (naira) to the COVID Support Fund.

“This gesture underscores the deep relationship between Nigeria and China and it is well appreciated. The ambassador has also informed the PTF that the third phase of medical supplies to China is ready for airlift. Arrangements will be made towards actualising this.

“All donations go into various designated collection accounts opened by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which has been published and swept into the Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria on a daily basis.”

He emphasised that the PTF did not manage any of the COVID-related donations or funds.