The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the Federal Government is worried about the increase in the prices of face masks and sanitisers in the country.
Ehanire stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, where he spoke about the current administration’s response in containing the further spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country.
“The government is concerned about prices going up. But you see, we operate a market economy. Those who are traders and suppliers are doing a brisk business by trying to increase importation and those who manufacture are also doing a brisk business scaling up the manufacturing of all these products.
“So it is not surprising that the prices go up at the moment. The government makes sure that those agencies and organisations that need to have these materials have them,” he said.
Speaking further, the minister explained that the prices of the kits “will drop when traders import more of these products,” stressing that the Federal Government might not be able to regulate the prices of the commodities.
The Federal Government is asking Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fakes news and disinformation on social media over the new case of Coronavirus recorded in the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday.
Channels Television reported on Friday that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, confirmed that an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria just returned from Milan on the 25th of February 2020 with the virus and is in stable conditions.
According to Mr Mohammed, a partnership with social networking site, Facebook, has been reached to help check the spread of fake news on the COVID 19.
“We know that at times like this, purveyors of fake news and disinformation usually ramp up their acts. We are therefore urging Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fakes news and disinformation.
“Fortunately, Facebook is working with us in this regard. They have asked Nigerians to report any false or misleading report on Facebook and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down.
“They have also assured us that they are taking preemptive action to remove any false or harmful messages about this epidemic and public health in Nigeria 24/7,” he stated.
The minister added that media agencies have been mandated to take up the responsibility of enlightenment and up-to-date reports on the efforts made by health authorities in the country.
“Media agencies of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, like the NTA, FRCN, NAN, and VON, have been directed to intensify their ongoing sensitization and enlightenment campaigns to arm Nigerians with the necessary information to stay well.”
He added that Features on the disease (prevention, treatment, etc.) are also being written and disseminated.
The Minister, therefore, appealed to all Nigerians not to panic, as the Government is well-equipped to detect and handle any possible case or cases.
The Nigerian government says it has received a protocol from the Chinese government to treat persons infected with the novel coronavirus.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at a news conference on Friday in Abuja following the confirmed case of the virus in Lagos.
He explained that the government of China, were the first case of coronavirus was reported, has succeeded in treating thousands of people infected with the virus.
“We have received a lot of cooperation; two visits already from the Ambassador of China to Nigeria to reassure us of his commitment and to give us support in any way.
“They sent us a treatment protocol because they have successfully treated over 5,000 people in their country,” the minister told reporters at the Federal Ministry of Health secretariat in the nation’s capital.
Ehanire addressed the news conference in company with the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, and top officials of the ministry on measures being put in place to contain the spread of the disease.
Nigerians woke up to the news of the confirmed case of coronavirus on Friday, involving an Italian citizen who arrived in the country for a brief business visit on Tuesday.
The patient was said to have fallen ill the next day and transferred to the Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.
In his briefing, the minister explained that the Italian national had reported at a hospital in Ogun State where he was referred to Lagos after testing negative to malaria.
He added that the patient was transported in a special ambulance driven by a well-kitted driver.
Upon his arrival at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), the Italian tested positive to coronavirus.
According to the minister, the Federal Government is well-prepared and working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to contain the disease,
He revealed that the government has approved and disbursed all funds needed by the Port Health Services and the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) which he described as the nation’s first and second lines of defence for coronavirus.
“The Federal government has released every amount of money that the NCDC and the Port Health Services requested,” Ehanire said.
The minister added that the Port Health Services has been paid over N70 million while the NCDC has received N620 million.
He also admitted that they used to have very little quantity of reagents to diagnose the virus, but they have improved the supply of the substances.
The Nigerian government has explained why it is not isolating travellers coming into the country.
Briefing reporters on Friday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, attributed the government’s action to the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He gave the briefing in company with the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, and top officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, following the outbreak of coronavirus in Lagos.
“The question of quarantine; the World Health Organisation advises everybody, all countries that there is no need to put every single traveller into quarantine,” the minister revealed.
He added, “There are some other countries who choose to do differently but we followed the guidelines of the World Health Organisation which states that ‘screen all persons who are entering your country, take their travel history; if they are coming from a country that has a burden of coronavirus, invite them for further questioning.”
Ehanire noted that the United Nations agency recommended that newly arrived travellers should also be advised to stay in isolation for 14 days, in the interest of their family and loved ones.
He stressed that the government has been working very closely with the WHO – the global body monitoring public health situations and security, as well as giving health advisory to various nations.
The minister revealed that they have organised training for health workers on how to enlighten the public and prevent themselves from getting infected when treating coronavirus patients.
He stated that they were stepping up efforts at the international airports as preventive measures have been taken even before the first case was recorded in the country.
Ehanire said, “Our focus is on the four cities with international airports – Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano; the Enugu Airport has been closed and I understand it will be opened very soon.
“The WHO warned just a day before that all countries should brace themselves for possible spread of coronavirus into their states and since then, we have continued beefing up our own security.”
“The second thing that they said is that coronavirus symptoms may not manifest with the first several days; the person who gets infected may not show any signs within the first few days (three to five days).
“So, the gentleman who came here apparently may have gotten infected at the point but walked through the screening with no symptoms and by the time he got to his house, he started to feel unwell,” he confirmed.
The minister explained that the patient tested negative for malaria at the hospital after which the officials contacted the appropriate authorities, having known his history.
He added that the Italian was referred to the testing centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where he tested positive to coronavirus.
Ehanire noted that the patient had been isolated from the referral hospital in a special ambulance where the driver was well-kitted.
He, however, refused to disclose the identity of the patient and the company he works with, saying that would be done based on seeking their permission.
The minister stressed that the case recorded was not as a result of failed screening, stressing that the process went well without any glitch.
At least 41 people have died of Lassa fever in parts of the country since the beginning of 2020, the Federal Government has confirmed.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Tuesday during a press briefing at the ministry’s secretariat in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Giving an update on the raging outbreak of the disease, he revealed that at least two health professionals were among the 41 deaths recorded.
Ehanire added that there were at least 258 confirmed cases recorded across 19 states in the country.
He urged Nigerians in various parts of the country to practice good hygiene and protect their foods from rat contamination.
The minister also spoke about the outbreak of coronavirus reported in China, Germany, the United States, as well as two African countries.
He noted that the Federal Ministry of Health had issued a health advisory in the outbreak of the disease, saying that the risk of importation was high even though no single suspected case has been reported in Nigeria.
Ehanire was, however, worried about the presence of suspected cases in the Ivory Coast and Kenya, considering that coronavirus was being transmitted by humans who infected with the disease.
As part of efforts against the spread of the disease, he said the Federal Government has raised surveillance at all entry points into the country.
The minister was specific about the preventive measures being taken at the five international airports in Nigeria – in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as Lagos, Enugu, Rivers, and Kano States.
The Federal Government has asked state governments across the country to build general hospitals for the easy accessibility of healthcare delivery.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made the call on Monday while on a working visit to Jigawa State to assess existing health facilities for the establishment of a teaching hospital for the Federal University in Dutse.
“ For the 774 local governments of Nigeria, we are expecting to see several functional general hospitals to improve primary and tertiary healthcare,” he stated.