As a way of trying to stem the steady rise in the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Nigeria, Lagos State, which is the epicentre, the government of the state led by governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has unfolded plans to begin what they described as “a house-to-house search” to identify those suspected of being infected with the dreaded virus.
Ministry of Health in the state said in a statement that the exercise, tagged the ‘Community Active Case Search,’ which will be phased, will last for two weeks in the first lap, and would cover all the 20 local government areas in the state. Sadly, Lagos has 158 of the 288 confirmed cases in the country. Yesterday, data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that there were 14 new cases of COVID-19 in the country with 13 coming from Lagos State alone.
Yesterday however, the state governor told the public via his verified Twitter handle that seven more COVID-19 patients were discharged from the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, rallying the number of treated and virus-free patients in the state to 39. But 51 of the infected have been discharged and seven deaths recorded nationwide. And as the controversy over the visit of the Chinese medical team to Nigeria raged on yesterday, the NCDC dismissed claims by critics of the team’s mission to Nigeria that the medical supplies they brought from China were contaminated with the virus and could aggravate the pandemic in the country, if they are used.
The fears of Nigerians over the arrival of the Chinese is not unconnected with what happened in Italy and Spain respectively who were managing their cases just the way Nigeria was managing the cases with minimal deaths before their arrival. It was alleged in those countries that the number of infected people exploded exponentially with the arrival of the Chinese to supposedly assist the countries. Although the government has defended the mission of China, a lot of Nigerians whose relatives reside in Italy and Spain have been sending all sorts of scary messages concerning the real intention of the Chinese government.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other well-meaning parties as well as organisations have also questioned the intention of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to import the Chinese. They are wondering the sort of love the Chinese government and the people of China now have for Nigeria to the extent that they will abandon their people who are still dying as a result of COVID-19 to rescue Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the federal government had taken possession of the $1.3 million worth of medical equipment and consumables from a group of Chinese companies in Nigeria as part of their contributions towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been on the upswing since the index case happened on February 27. The companies also sponsored a Chinese medical team that arrived in Abuja on Wednesday to install the equipment and train local medical personnel on how to operate it.
But the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is opposed to the presence of the team and the alleged moves by doctors among them to treat patients in Nigeria, saying it undermines Nigeria’s sovereignty. The Federal Ministry of Health has, however, given an assurance that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would ensure the quality of all the medical supplies from China.