The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that in event of overflow, government can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 (Quarantine), and level 2 Isolation of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms.
Speaking at the Press Conference on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday, he said it is not surprising or worried about the increasing number of confirmed cases, because every life matters, also because of the capacity of health system to cope with.
According to him, “In an event of overflow, we can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 (Quarantine), level 2 Isolation of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms to free hospital beds for dedicated level 3, (moderate to severe cases) and level 4, (high dependency and Intensive care unit)”.
He said Nigeria presently has over 112 treatment and isolation centres in the 35 states and FCT with over 5,000 beds, but not all States have made it up to at least 300 beds prescribed for isolation and treatment. “We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients, so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals”, he said.
Therefore, he called on activists and philanthropists to work with State governments in concerted steps to scale up non-pharmaceutical measures and beef up infrastructural assets for isolation and treatment in their states. “Though we are in the community transmission phase of response, easing social restrictions is desirable, but only if we can meet up with expectations that will not allow a spike in infection rates.
“This is what has led certain countries to reintroduce lockdowns. We are reviewing health sector specific advisories on re-opening the economy. I had the privilege of commissioning one such center yesterday, a re-purposed hospital in Benin City, Edo State, with 300 beds, including ICU and an Edo State owned PCR testing laboratory.
He added that global efforts to find a cure for COVID-19, in which Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial, will be reviewed by the panel of experts, as WHO suspended the trial, due to alarm raised by a Medical journal, on the safety of some drugs being tried, like hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and their combinations.
“Proposals for trial of local remedies for the disease have been sent to the relevant research and testing agencies for scientific evaluation. The Madagascar herbs have been received at the Ministry of Health, and were found to consist of two varieties; one labeled to be for prevention and the other for treatment.
“Samples have been given to 3 Agencies of the Min. of Health and also to Ministry of Science & Technology. These are normal processes for new preparations to be approved for use in Nigeria, and include toxicological and efficacy tests and clinical trials. Government will investigate all genuine efforts to find home grown solutions to the pandemic”, he said.