As of 06:00 am, 20th April, 2020, a total of 627 persons in 21 states and FCT have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The 86 new confirmations are distributed as follows: 70 in Lagos, 7 in FCT, 3 in Akwa Ibom and Katsina and 1 each in Bauchi, Borno and Jigawa. 21 deaths have been recorded so far, one of whom, sadly, is Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, may God rest his soul. 170 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Nigeria and have been discharged and that leaves 436 persons who are currently recovering from COVID-19.
2. 13 molecular laboratories nationwide have been activated so far by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the target this week is to double the current national testing capacity of 1,500 tests per day.
3. Our strategy now focuses on the community and we have increased testing and social mobilisation at the grassroots. The worrying increases in the frequency and numbers of new persons with COVID-19 being recorded daily, is attributable to this new strategy, in combination with the increased community transmission. A robust national Response Action Plan is presently under development, to address the challenges arising from entry to covid19 community transmission phase.
4. Our engagement to further intensify strategic house-to-house and cluster testing in communities has helped towards promptly detecting, testing and isolating, to mitigate the ongoing community transmission. There is also renewed emphasis on further increasing and improving isolation facilities, since finding more infected persons without facilities to accommodate them, does not contribute to a solution. Isolation and treatment centres are available to meet security and privacy requirements of all persons.
5 With regard to re-importation of the virus, all persons entering Nigeria from abroad, now go to mandatory supervised 14-dayquarantine at a designated facility. State governments are collaborating to prepare a minimum of 300 beds for isolation and treatment, and explore all options including engaging hotels for quarantining persons who may have COVID-19 with or without symptoms and may need only little clinical management.
6. Citizens are reminded to take responsibility through physical distancing, appropriate use of masks or improvised face coverings, maintenance of hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as strict adherence to the lockdown measures and regulations. The use of masks, be they disposable or cloth masks or other face coverings, is advised for all activities outside the home, especially in hotspot states of Lagos and Kano, and the FCT. We encourage the mass production, donation and distribution of reusable washable masks to vulnerable groups and any orger member of the public, to further contribute to reducing the risks if spreading the virus.
7. I want to here express my condolences to the families of our professional colleagues who lost their lives while on duty and use the opportunity to also call on them to take reasonable precautions when attending to patients in health facilities; to approach clients with a rational index of suspicion for COVID-19 and observe universal infection prevention and control measures
8. The federal government has the responsibility and capability to manage this viral infection safely, in the interest of public safety and national security, but can share this responsibility with private sector hospitals who meet laid down criteria. Please work with the Ministry of Health and NCDC on surveillance and referral of patients for testing or to isolation and treatment centres.
9. In conclusion, be advised to adhere to physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, use of masks or improvised face coverings and to comply with government policies.