Government To Close Unauthorised Private Hospitals Treating COVID-19 Patients – Ehanire

*Nigeria’s Minister Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

The government of Nigeria has warned that it would have no other choice than to close any private hospitals and other health facilities that treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients without authorization from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This move gathered may not be unconnected with the death of a medical doctor who recently died in Lagos State having contracted the disease from a COVID-19 patient he was treating at his private hospital in the state.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made the new position of the federal government known yesterday in Abuja during the regular media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-1 where he stated categorically that the federal government would come down heavily on any unauthorised facility offering treatment to infected patients anywhere in Nigeria.

He said that the focus of the Nigerian government right now as far as the fight against the spread of COVID-19 is concerned is to carry out more community testing and social mobilisation at the grassroots to ensure physical distancing, which so many Nigerians are taking for granted. The government has ordered Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to remain on lockdown to stem the disease. Following the stance, a good measure of state governors across the country have also toed the line of the federal government and ordered lockdown in their various states.

The government, it was also learnt has also shortlisted two airlines for the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in foreign countries with high cases of COVID-19. Incidences in the country, however, rose to 442 yesterday with 152 patients discharged and 13 deaths. But the government however, assured the nation that part of its efforts at combating the virus included budgetary provision for research into finding a vaccine. However, it warned that without strict adherence to the guidelines it had rolled out to contain the virus, the pandemic would spread to the 36 states of the federation.

Just yesterday, a total of 11 patients were discharged in Lagos, Ogun and Bauchi states after being treated and tested negative for the virus. The health minister therefore appealed to Nigerians not to cast aspersion, mock or deride people infected with the pandemic, noting that such behaviour was capable of derailing efforts of the government to curb the spread of the virus.

He said, “I shall use this opportunity to again strongly advise health professionals against private or secret management of people who have COVID-19 outside of accredited health facilities. We cannot afford avoidable morbidity and mortality. Private facilities must obtain accreditation to treat this highly infectious disease. Practitioners engaging in unauthorised treatment of COVID-19 run the risk of being shut down for decontamination.”

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