As of today, 24th April, 2020, 981 people in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The 108 additional confirmations are as follows: 78 in Lagos, 14 in FCT, 5 in Ogun, 4 in Gombe, 3 in Borno, 2 in Akwa Ibom and 1 each in Kwara and Plateau. 197 persons have been successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged home, while 31 deaths have sadly been recorded.

2.The high number of new cases is due to on-going community transmission and active case search. From our test statistics, the most affected age group among the positives, is 31-40 years while the highest COVID-19 fatality rate is among the older generation above 50 years if age.

3.We have now deployed COVID-19 starter packs to all tertiary institutions and Federal Medical Centers, to complement what was earlier sent to each State. The starter packs consist of medical consumables and disposables, to ensure that our frontline healthcare workers are protected.

4.The covid19 capable national laboratory network led by NCDC has capacity to test over 1,500 samples per day in 13 laboratories, but the present utilization is barely 50%, since we averagely test about 600 samples daily, being the samples receivied per day. Efforts are on to increase the number of functional laboratories in the country, however, we need to meanwhile improve surveillance, sample collection strategy and transport logistics to laboratories and reduce the turn around time for the tests. In our strategy, testing positive is followed by Isolation and treatment, as needed. Those who require no treatment still need to be in Isolation in the interest of the public and your household. Please comply.

5. I wish to use this opportunity to applaud our frontline health workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. We salute your courage and patriotism, but I urge you to protect yourselves as prescribed and use the PPE judiciously. Do not attempt to treatCOVID-19 patients without using adequate PPE, or if your institution is not accredited to do so. This is important because we need to keep health workers safe at such at time and cannot afford the numbers testing positive to COVID-19. Remain vigilant in the line of duty and maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19.

6.I also want to appeal to all people to take the advisories daily given and repeated here, seriously and adhere to hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as social distancing directives. The use of a cloth mask or face covering when you leave your residence is recommended, as is the injunction to avoid mass gathering and non-essential travels.

7. I wish to restate the advisory given yesterday, to reduse risk of community transmission by reducing all non-essential travel, especially long distance travels. This will help to reduce carrying the virus from State to State.

8.Today, we join the rest of the world to commemorate World Immunization Week. The theme for this year is “Vaccines Work for all” and it is dedicated to promoting the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against diseases and death. While waiting for the vaccine for COVID-19, let us collectively adhere to the public health advisories.

9.Finally, let me emphasize again that, to defeat the spread of COVID-19 requires collective and individual efforts. If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19 or anyone around you has been, call the toll-free NCDC number 112 or 0800 9700 0010.

10.Resources and real time information on COVID-19 can be found on the social media handles of FMoH and NCDC, the FMoH website and the NCDC COVID-19 microsite covid19.ncdc.gov.ng.

11. Stay home, stay safe, and take precautions.

Thank you.