The Chairman of the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Adetunji Adenekan, has said the daily record of COVID-19 cases do not reflect the total number of infected persons in the country.
He stressed that many people have not been tested, noting that the figures released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control daily were only based on the number of tests conducted. He therefore called on Nigerians to adhere to the safety protocols as well as present themselves for testing.
In an interview with our correspondent on Friday, Adenekan said, “Other countries are experiencing the second wave, while what we are experiencing at the moment is influx. We estimated that there would be tougher times in January with high cases and that is what we have been experiencing. In the last few days, we have had over 1,000 cases back to back and that is even based on the number of tests being done.
“I am sure some people aren’t even going for the test. That should give you an idea that we have more than the figures we are releasing. We are likely to have more positive COVID-19 cases. I can assure you that we have more people outside who have not been tested and are positive.”
He noted that the cases had continued to rise because of disregard for the safety protocols.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Operations Centre and Oyo State COVID-19 Technical Task Force have warned private hospitals in the state against treating COVID-19 patients in their facilities.
The task force said managing COVID-19 cases in private hospitals had been linked to the increase in the number of cases in the state. It added that there were reports of an increase in the number of health care workers who contracted coronavirus at various health care facilities and that care must be taken so that the number of health workers would not be further depleted by the virus.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said in a statement on Saturday that the Chairman of the state’s COVID-19 Technical Task Force, Prof Temitope Alonge, gave this warning in a memo addressed to Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers and managers of private health facilities in the state.
The task force stated that in the state there were 30 approved test centres, including the University College Hospital, Ibadan, adding that anyone suspected to have symptoms of the virus should be referred to the centres for testing. It pointed out that testing for symptomatic or suspected cases is free.
The statement read in part, “The spread of the new wave of the coronavirus infection in Oyo State is increasing and the reports reaching the Emergency Operations Centre and the Technical Task Force is that some of the people infected had been managed for various ailments in some private health facilities.
“In some cases, the private health facilities fail to notify the EOC about suspected cases that would have had their samples taken by the EOC at the invitation of the private health facilities. Sampling of such cases by the EOC has been the established protocol and it is still in place.
“However, repeated breach of this protocol is worrisome and I wish to remind all health care providers that we are not immune to this infection, and admitting suspected cases in private health facilities is unacceptable.
“No private health facility in Oyo State has been licensed to manage COVID-19 patients. Strict adherence to the laid down infection prevention and control measures will be enforced by the EOC at any private health facility.”
Also, as Nigeria awaits its first batch of 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organisation says no fewer than 42 countries already rolled out the various COVID-19 vaccines which have been cleared for use. It said 36 out of the 42 are in high income nations.
The WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, made this known during COVID-19 news conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
In series of tweets posted on the United Nations health agency twitter account @WHO, Ghebreyesus emphasised equitable distribution of the vaccines.
He said, “There is a clear problem that low and most middle income countries are not receiving the vaccine yet. We can and must solve this problem together through COVAX and the ACT-Accelerator.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that COVAX, set up in April 2020 by WHO, GAVI, the vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – are part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools accelerator to provide COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to all, regardless of their ability to pay.