10% COVID-19 Cases In Nigeria Are Under 19 Years Old, Health Minister says

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Facilities inspected for CoronaVirus test centre at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria by NCDC.

By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

Record shows that 10 per cent of all treated positive cases of Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were below the age of 19 years.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed the above fact while condemning the growing complacency exhibited by some Nigerians who refuse to obey instructions on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed that though especially adults who are 60 years and above are more susciptible to the virus, complications occur in all age groups.

The minister therefore implored Nigerians of every age group to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols in order to avoid second wave of infections, even though Nigeria has continued to record declining fatalities and number of daily cases of the worldwide virus..

He said this  at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19, held on Monday, 21st September, 2020, where he stated that Nigeria cannot afford to rejoice or speak of success as a result of dwindling figures.

Ehanire pointed out that many countries that had been thought to have defeated COVID-19 are now experiencing an upsurge in cases,  called the second wave, which is threatening their health systems.

Ehanire said that second wave of infections is a situation that must be averted and for that to happen all steps must be taken.  

The report which was released by the media affairs department of the ministry stated that the minister emphasized the need for Nigeria to generate, national and international confidence in its data, by conducting more targeted testing before drawing conclusions.  

”It means that all States and Local Government Areas must cooperate with NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly; as we are still far from the target of two million tests. 

In this regard we can support States with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation”, the minister said.

Ehanire said that with regards to COVID-19 and growing complacence, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those who are 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups. 

“Records show that 10 per cent of all positive cases treated were below the age of 19 years. They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease” Ehanire warned. 

He highlighted that the recommended criteria for testing are: persons who have been in contact with a COVID positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the four symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as any other compelling reason.

He reminded everyone that “COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future, as the DG (director-general) of WHO (World Health Organization) has advised, with no definitive cure in sight.”

People are still being infected and are dying from it, hence the need for caution and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures, guidelines and protocols as Nigeria reopens her economy as well as the resumption of schools in some areas in order to prevent a surge in cases,he reiterated.

“I have directed all our hospitals to be alert and watch for unusual increase in number of persons reporting at our hospitals as emergency centre,” he emphasized.

He informed the audience at the briefing of the commencement of distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions with training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who will use or maintain them in the hospitals. 

“The ventilators and training are courtesy of the United States government and shall complement what we have at our ICUs,” the health minister narrated.

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