Friday, 1 May 2020

Covid-19:We Have Run Out Of Beds At Isolation Centres...NCDC

The fear of lack of bed space for coronavirus patients at isolation centres has gripped the government.

There are 3,500 bed spaces at the various isolation and treatment centres in the country. These will became inadequate given the anticipated spike in positive cases as a result of the planned testing of two million people.

Lagos, which is the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, with close to 1,000 case as at Thursday, out of which 718 are active and 192 discharged, is worst-hit.

It has about 540 bed spaces, at the five official isolation centres, excluding the spaces at private facilities including the one in Badagry.

The government is now seeking the possibility of home treatment.

Besides, owners of uncompleted buildings or empty property are urged to donate them to the government for use.

Speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire said: “It is true that we are getting a surge. If you hear the announcement made by the Director- General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), it is that they want to do two million tests. That will bring up a lot of cases. We know that. That’s the purpose, to bring up the cases and take care of them before they infect more people.
Read Also: NCDC targets two million people for COVID-19 test in three months

“I am appealing, not only to state governments, but to citizens, to make properties available temporarily for this purposes. I am sure that there are many property owners who will come up and look at their empty and donate them for a period of time to the state governments to be able to use these facilities for this function. That is the reason why I made that appeal.

”We are going to look for bed spaces. We are not right now. We are not out of space (yet) but we are making that appeal ahead of time so that we have these facilities and these spaces ready. As the President said, we want to be ready but we hope we don’t need them. We hope and pray we don’t need these facilities but we need them to be present, to be there.”

Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, added:  “Concerning the availability of bed spaces for the management of patients, there is no doubt that we are struggling in certain places especially in Lagos State, and to an extent Kano and Abuja. But the biggest challenge right now is in Lagos where bed spaces are really tight.

“Across the country we have about 3,500 bed spaces identified as available for coronavirus but in Lagos we are already struggling. So, we are going to work with them to keep trying to make more spaces available.

The federal government also cautioned Nigerians yesterday that gradual easing of restrictions on activities and movements should not be mistaken.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the warning.

He said: “As we approach the commencement of the first of a three phased easing of lockdown from Monday May 4th ,2020, it is important that Nigerians receive and digest the implementation guidelines.

”It is also important for States, Law enforcement Agents, trade associations, employers, businesses and citizens to understand their roles, obligations and responsibilities.

”Above all, we must understand that this is still a war against an unseen and potent enemy. No one should mistake the easing of restrictions for permission to act without care. The Security Agents have been instructed to respect the rights of citizens while also ensuring strict enforcement.

Mustapha announced that National Coordinator Dr Sani Aliyu, was absent at the briefing, because he lost his father.

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