The Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba and the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital have put no fewer than 40 health workers, including doctors and nurses, in isolation following their contact with people infected with COVID-19.
LUTH’s Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council, Prof Wasiu Adeyemo, on Tuesday, told journalists that 12 workers of the health institution had gone into isolation.
According to him, the 12 workers might have had contact with a patient, who died of COVID-19 at the hospital last week.
At the UITH, 28 health workers are in isolation for coming in contact with an accountant, Muideen Obanimomo that died of COVID-19 in the hospital on Thursday.
The isolation of the UITH and LUTH workers on Tuesday fuelled fear about lack of protection for health workers treating COVID-19 patients in the country.
The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, in a statement to commemorate the World Health Day, on Tuesday expressed concern about hazards faced by healthcare professionals, including nurses, treating COVID-19 patients.
Increasing number of health workers in other countries are being infected with the virus. Spain has said at least 4,500 health care workers have tested positive for the disease. More than 60 doctors have died in Italy.
UITH isolates 28 workers, Kwara traces 75 contacts
On Tuesday, the management of the UITH said 28 staff members of the hospital involved in the treatment of Obanimomo had been in isolation.
The Chief Medical Director of the UITH, Prof. Abdullahi Yussuf, disclosed this just as the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, said the state government had begun tracing 75 persons who had contact with Obanimomo and another deceased.
He said, “Already, all the UITH workers with close contact with the deceased patient on the night of his admission, or his corpse have been ordered to proceed on self-isolation. Besides, the ‘A and E’ ward and the ambulance used to convey his corpse to Offa had been promptly fumigated.
“We have contacted the state Technical Committee on COVID-19 to look for those who performed all funeral rites on the corpse and those who had contact with the wife of the deceased including the mourners to keep them in isolation and give them necessary medical treatment.
“Though, we have taken all precautions, including the training of staff and other measures, we were taken aback to discover how a very senior consultant of this hospital had facilitated the admission of a suspected case of COVID-19 at the Accident and Emergency section of the hospital on the night of Wednesday, April 1, 2020.”
The state governor, in an interview with journalists, said, “Our job is cut out for us and we are definitely not dropping the ball. Contact tracing by the Rapid Response Team of the medical advisory committee has so far netted 75 persons who have had contacts with the cases and the suspected case at the UITH”
He also expressed disappointment about Prof. Alakija Kazeem Salami, who concealed Obanimomo’s status.
Kwara imposes total lockdown on Offa
On Tuesday evening, the state government ordered total lockdown of Offa in the Offa Local Government Area of the state following confirmation of coronavirus cases in the town.
The state Technical Committee on COVID-19 on Monday confirmed two coronavirus cases, including the wife of Obanimomo and a UK returnee.
The state Deputy Governor, who is also the Chairman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, Mr Kayode Alabi, said the lockdown was aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 virus in Offa.
The deputy governor said that the lockdown would start as from 6pm on Wednesday (today), adding that the traditional ruler of the town, Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi (Esuwoye) 11 had been briefed.
12 LUTH workers in isolation
The Chairman of LUTH’s MAC, Adeyemo, in an interview with journalists when the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 visited the hospital, said none of the hospital doctors and nurses were unnecessarily exposed to a COVID-19 patient that died in the hospital last week.
He stated, “The issue now is that once the patient is positive, everyone seems to be worried. We have identified about 12 of our staff that might have had contact with the deceased patient, and they are all under surveillance. This is the fourth day (Tuesday), and they are doing well.”
60-bed isolation centre ready in LUTH – CMD
The Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, told the task force that a 60-bed isolation centre in the hospital was ready to admit COVID-19 positive cases.
He stated, “We have put together a newly furnished block of four wards, each one containing 30 beds. We have 60 beds altogether now, we have enough personal protective equipment and a lot of what we need to start admission of COVID-19 positive patients in Lagos.”
Buhari decides lockdown extension this week
During a press conference at the Lagos State Government House, Marina, the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19 indicated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) would before the end of this week decide whether to extend the 14 days lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, gave the indication at the press conference.
Buhari had, on March 29 ordered lockdown of the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states following the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The President said the lockdown would enable government to trace and treat those who came in contact with people infected with the infectious disease.
Responding to a question on possible extension of the lockdown, Mustapha said, “This is part of the consultation. We are looking at the objectives set when the lockdown or quarantine declaration was signed by the President and other states.
“Before the end of the week, we will do an evaluation to see how the set objectives are being met. At the end of the evaluation, the second stage of implementation and advice will go to Mr President.
“He and he alone will take the decision as to whether the lockdown will either be extended or stopped at the expiration of 14 days because in his address to the nation, he did say 14 days in the first instance; so, it’s open.”
The SGF said the lockdown was not imposed to punish Nigerians but as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
He said, “In recognition of the impact of the lockdown order on the poor, physically challenged, the elderly and the vulnerable, Mr. President approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the strategic grains reserve.”
The SGF, who commended Lagos for its response mechanism said other states had a lot to learn from the organisational structure and preparedness of the state.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant public health emergency of international concern, having recorded over 1million cases and causing over 50,000 deaths worldwide, as well as significant disruption to healthcare system particularly in low and middle-income countries.
Also, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said there was a Department of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine looking into claims of local cure for COVID-19.
He said, “As to the local cure, the question is how much do we know about this virus to find a cure. We look into every assertion, some people who say they have the herbs or concoction. So, for those who are serious, we have a department in the Ministry of Health, which is the Department of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which will look into their claims.
Facilities in Epe, Alimosho, Lekki to be activated soon – Sanwo-Olu
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the state was working hard to activate other facilities in the state for the treatment of COVI-19 patients.
He said, “We have other facilities that we have reserved in the event that we need to trigger the usage of those facilities. We have facilities in Epe, Alimosho, Lekki, and other places waiting if we need to activate and clear those facilities, especially for quarantine. If we need to just hold people for 14-days and we don’t know their status, then we can take them to those facilities. Because it is not every case that we need to take to the red zone in the isolation centre, we need to have where we call a holding bay.”
Katsina begins contact tracing as Daura doctor dies of COVID-19
In Katsina State, the state Governor, Aminu Masari on Tuesday said that a private medical practitioner in Daura, Dr. Aliyu Yakubu had died of COVID-19.
It was the first death from the disease in the state.
The governor, at a press conference in Katsina, the state capital, said Dr Yakubu travelled to Lagos recently and when he returned, he reported himself at Air Force Hospital, Daura where he died two hours later.
Masari said Yakubu’ s blood sample was taken to Abuja where he was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
The late medical practitioner was also said to have hepatitis and hypertension.
He explained that a directive had been issued for all the people that the deceased had contact with to be fished out and their samples sent to either Abuja or Lagos for laboratory test.
NMA expresses concern
The NMA, in the state by its president on Tuesday said Nigerian nurses worked in inhumane conditions capable of exposing them to dangerous health risk and death in the course of the job.
Faduyile said, “As the World Health Organisation celebrates the nursing profession by making the theme of the 2020 World Health Day to be ‘Support Nurses and Midwives,’ the NMA acknowledges the enormous contributions of our nurses and midwives in the health sector and the country.
“We also note with particular concern hazards all healthcare professionals, including nurses working at the frontlines of the war against COVID-19 face continually. It is our prayer that those in authority will do all it takes to ensure a healthy working environment that is ennobling and dignifying.”
Lagos notifies Ogun about Togo returnees
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the Lagos State Government had alerted the Ogun State Government about 67 persons, who wanted to enter the country through Seme border.
The PUNCH had on Monday reported that security agents at the Seme border detaned the 67 persons, who were coming from Togo.
According to the report, the Lagos State Government planned to test them for COVID-19 and quarantine them for 14 days.
On Tuesday, it was learnt that following their failure to enter the country through Seme border, 67 persons, who had been released by security agents, had made a detour and were heading for the Idiroko border in Ogun State.
A top security official, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “Already, the Lagos State Government has alerted the Ogun State Government so that precautionary measures will be taken. They cannot come in if they are not ready for 14 days in isolation.”
When contacted the state government said it was ready to do the expectation concerning the development.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to Governor on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan told one of our correspondents that the appropriate authorities would swing into action as soon as the details of the development were made available.
Hazzan said, “If we have been alerted I want to believe the appropriate agencies would have moved in because, it was the same way we got alert concerning the Osun people and we moved in immediately.
“ I want to believe that our people at the border post are there. Majorly, it is the immigration and customs and some elements of police that would be part of that. When we have details we will get back to you.”
But the Nigeria Immigration Service, Ogun State Command confirmed the planned arrival of some Togo returnees.
The Public Relations Officer of NIS in Ogun State, Ishola Olurode said the service was aware and had prepared for their arrival.
Olurode said, “We are aware. In fact, as soon as they take off, they will let us know; we are waiting for them.”
“They are just making the necessary approval ready before they take off. We are prepared. we have received the signal from our headquarters.”
We haven’t seen Togo returnees – Seme immigration
The Controller of Nigeria Immigration Service, Seme Border, Bernard Zipamor, said the service did not detain 67 Togo returnees at the border.
According to him, information about returnees from another country heading to Nigeria is usually communicated in writing to the immigration at the border, saying that his command did not receive any letter concerning people expected to come into Nigeria through the Seme border.
Zipamor said as far as he knew, the returnees had not left their destination at the time the story broke.
NCDC confirms 16 new cases
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed 16 more infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 255.
The NCDC, via its Twitter handle, said, “Sixteen new cases of COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria: 10 in Lagos, two in the FCT, two in Oyo, one in Delta and one in Katsina.
“As at 09:30 pm 7th April, there are 255 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. Forty-four have been discharged with six deaths.”