The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Control has appealed to state governments to have a rethink towards shutting down isolation centres, warning that decline in cases of infection and admission does not signify end of the pandemic.
On Monday, in his address at the daily briefing of the PTF monitored in Abuja, Minister of Health, In a similar case, Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has expressed his utmost concerns that the curfew imposed by some state governments to maintain order against looting and destruction of property was slowing down testing in COVID-19 testing laboratories.
He urged Nigeria to learn from other countries by retaining some of its COVID-19 treatment centres and frontline workers in preparation for possible second wave of the pandemic.
“With the decline in the number of active cases and as the number of cases on admission drops, some isolation centres in the country are already making arrangements to rationalise the number of frontline health personnel into the reserve pool or redeployed. This would be done in a manner that will allow easy re-mobilisation where necessary.
“We, however, advise states and relevant stakeholders not to completely close all isolation centres due to consistent lack of patients, but some centres should rather be maintained. This is to ensure promptness and readiness against any surge as part of preparation against possible second wave.
“This is necessary to assess and understand areas of strengths, weaknesses, available opportunities as well as dangers. Such activities will consolidate gains, while taking measures to prevent re-occurrence of errors as well as the deployment of appropriate resources.
“We are also making arrangements for stock-taking and repurposing of equipment earlier deployed to temporary isolation centres with a view to using the opportunity provided by the resource mobilisation for the COVID-19 response for health systems strengthening.”
“The outbreak is escalating around the world literally. We have held things down because of our proactive measures – the very effective airport screening which was put in place to limit the re-introduction of cases from countries where the outbreak is escalating.
“This virus does not know the reason why people are congregating – whether you are congregating for religious purposes, protest, partying, etc. This virus takes the rtunity of people coming together.
“We cannot afford to let down our guards irrespective of what our anger is at the moment. As we move into the next two weeks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we have to watch the numbers very carefully.
“The reasons are obvious – we have gathered in our masses for whatever reason, and now we have to keep our eyes open to face the potential consequences. But those consequences are not inevitable. We can still do our part to prevent them,” he stated.