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Presidential Task Force explains why there might be more COVID-19 deaths in Kano

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Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehimare

Over 40 health workers affected as toll rises to 981
The National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, has explained why there may be more deaths in Kano.
Dr. Aliyu noted that the Federal Government currently did not know the number of casualties from the Coronavirus pandemic in Kano State.
The coordinator, who debunked reports that the COVID-19 testing laboratory in the state was closed due to the lack of reagents, explained that the laboratory was temporarily shut after some of its staff COVID-19 test results came out positive.
Speaking during a media parley organized by the World Economic Forum/World Health Organisation, Dr. Aliyu said: “The laboratory was closed to allow for decontamination as we were unsure if the staff contracted it during analysis of samples or from outside the facility.
“The Kano testing laboratory was closed down because one or two persons in the lab acquired COVID-19. It wasn’t very clear whether they acquired it in the facility or if it was brought in. This has raised concerns, so we have taken measures to disinfect the place.”
He disclosed that samples could still be collected, adding that measures were in place to ensure samples were taken.
“The laboratory will not be closed for too long because three or four days is enough to decontaminate the facility,” he said, adding that the Federal Government would not know the true number of deaths from Kano until ongoing investigation was concluded.
“There are several scenarios that could be happening; one is that there could be increase in numbers of death due to COVID-19, the other possibility is that it may not be caused by the virus,” he said.
“You are aware that a lot of hospitals in Kano have closed so people with medical concerns are having difficulty accessing care, so the deaths may not be related to the virus. We are awaiting the investigation to ascertain the true picture.”
Meanwhile, the country has recorded 108 new Coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 981, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed in a tweet on Thursday.
It said the new cases were spread across Lagos, Kwara, Plateau, Ogun, Borno, Akwa Ibom and FCT, adding, “108 new cases of ‪#COVID19‬ have been reported; 78 in Lagos, 14 in FCT, five in Ogun, four in Gombe, three Borno, two in Akwa Ibom, one in Kwara, one in Plateau.
“As at 11:30 pm 23rd April, there are 981 confirmed cases of ‪#COVID19‬ reported in Nigeria. Discharged: 197, deaths: 31.”
On Thursday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said over 40 health workers had contracted COVID-19 in the country.
Ehanire, who disclosed this during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, applauded the health workers who are in the frontline of the ongoing efforts to rid the country of the pandemic.
The minister assured the health workers that the Federal Government would continue to provide them with the necessary Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) and urged them to take necessary precautions for their own safety.
He said: “Please do not try to treat patients without using adequate PPE and all frontline workers must undertake refresher courses and training on IPC at intervals. This advice is necessary due to the number of health workers who have tested positive. They are over 40 now or others who had to be quarantined in the last two weeks due to exposure and are unable to contribute to the health sector’s efforts.”
Meanwhile, the Medical Guild said on Thursday that at least three doctors had tested positive for coronavirus in Lagos.
In addition, three other health workers had been killed by the disease since Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case in February.

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