L-R: Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; Chairman Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire at the press briefing in Abuja
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, at the weekend, told Nigerians that Chinese doctors, nurses and medical experts would arrive in Nigeria in a few days to assist in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19), which is ravaging the entire globe. The virus started at wildlife market in Wuhan, China in December. Although there are arguments from some school of thought that the pandemic started earlier than declared by China, which is an indication that the Chinese authorities are hiding some facts from the rest of the world.
The minister announced the coming of the ‘Chinese assistance’ at the now regular press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force, which is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
As at the time of this report, COVID-19 cases in Nigeria have reached 195, just as the global figure has also surpassed the one million projected mark by experts. The minister said, Nigeria was also exploring the possibility of producing some medical equipment after key stakeholders met in Abuja on Thursday.
The news of the coming of the Chinese medical experts, which is still as surprise to most Nigerians was announced just as Dr, Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC), said efforts to contain COVID-19 in Nigeria were being limited by finance, manpower and other indices despite the support from government and individuals.
According to the Health Manister, “The global number has crossed one million mark, barely three months after the first cases were first reported in Wuhan, China. It is an indication that it is a public health challenge that we must not take lightly. We are already seeing what may be the indication of community transmission in that 30 per cent of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information. 51 per cent are imported cases and 19 per cent are through contacts of known cases.”
Furthermore, he added that, the “Directors of the Federal Ministry of Health had discussions with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to explore the potential for local production of medical consumables such as face masks, gloves, sanitisers and even ventilators. This is in view of looming global shortages of medical supplies for the response due to high demands from all countries. Clinical trials and other processes are ongoing to validate various therapeutic for COVID-19 treatment.”