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COVID-19: Nigeria will not rule out homegrown vaccines – Minister

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Nigeria will not rule out homegrown vaccine towards the prevention and cure of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Minster of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said this while fielding questions from Journalists at the Presidential task force on COVID-19 daily press briefing against the backdrop of some countries coming up with locally manufactured vaccines for COVID-19.

Speaking on who was eligible to go a COVID-19 test, the minister said:” Nigerians living in an area that has clusters of people who have the disease are eligible to be tested for the virus.

“The structure of the response, is: TEST, TREAT, TRACE AND ISOLATE for COVID19, the idea is to test people based on set criteria,” he said.

These, he said, are travel history, contacts or symptoms or clusters for the best prospects of high yield then; place those with positive test in treatment and isolation; trace all their contacts and quarantine them for 14 days.

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“Today NCDC laboratories have capacity to test 1,500 samples per day in 13 laboratories across the country. However, we are testing on average of about 600 samples per day because that is all the samples collected and sent for testing.

“Factors implicated in the process may include surveillance, sample collection and mode of transportation, which can be improved to increase operational efficiency. This is where a little investment can help,” he said.

According to him, the results of such intensification of efforts can be seen especially in Lagos where improved logistic management increased sample collection and significantly reduced turn-around time.

Mr Ehanire said that efforts were ongoing to further increase the testing capacity and accredit more laboratories.

“A robust sample transportation infrastructure in place, to promptly convey samples to any of the 13 laboratories activated so far.

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“This mitigates the need for urgent establishment of a PCR laboratory, as well as the valuable time and personnel needed to prioritise case findings

“The recommended global best practice is to admit all persons who test positive for COVID-19 into designated accredited treatment facilities to contain the spread of the virus and ensure prompt management of cases to avoid complications,” he said.

The minister said that some persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria, were not in any of the designated accredited isolation and treatment centres.

“This is a significant threat to public health and national security as the ministry cannot account for such persons and ascertain the containment of their infection.

“States are strongly encouraged to ensure that all persons who test positive for COVID-19 are admitted at the designated centres,” he noted.

He said that contact tracing was the key to containing the infection. As persons were confirmed positive for COVID-19, he said that the government must trace all contacts they had in the previous 14 days.

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“This aims to arrest transmission by corralling positive cases and potential cases before further transmission occurs. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had finalised contact tracing guidelines with all states to actively aid case finding.

The News Agency of Nigeria report that as of  April, 23, 873 people in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been confirmed to have COVID-19 from 9,522 tests.

The 91 additional confirmations are as follows: 74 in Lagos, five in Katsina, four in Ogun, two each in Delta and Edo, one each in Adamawa, Kwara, Oyo and FCT.

The NCDC said 197 persons have been successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged home, while 28 deaths have sadly been recorded.

NAN

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