80% of Kano coronavirus samples positive –Buhari’s panel

The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals on Sunday called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to reverse his decision on the easing of  COVID-19 lockdown,  which takes effect today (Monday).
The NUAHP made the call in a statement signed by its National President, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, and its General Secretary, Martin Egbanubi.
As health workers advised the President,  members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 he sent to  Kano State expressed concern about the high rate of community transmission in the state.
The presidential team said 80 per cent of every 100 samples taken from the state for testing always came out positive.
As of March, the state had no case of COVID-19, but on April 11,  a former ambassador, who attended a Jumat service while awaiting his coronavirus test result, was diagnosed with the virus.As of 5.51pm on Sunday, there were 313 COVID-19 cases in the state, which was second to  Lagos State that had 1,084,   the highest in the country.
Buhari had, in his broadcast to the nation on April, 27,  imposed a total lockdown on Kano State and dispatched a team of experts to the state the following day as part of efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
But in the national broadcast on April 27, he said there would be phased and gradual easing of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and Lagos states, which started on March 30.
He, however, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the country and banned inter-state movements.The Head of the team sent to Kano State by the President, Dr  Nasiru Gwarzo,  said the state had a high rate of community transmission of COVID-19.
Gwarzo told the BBC Hausa Service in an interview that the high rate of transmission, as shown by increased testing, was evident when compared to the former situation in the state.
According to him, there is an urgent need for the people of Kano to take the deadly disease seriously as out of every 100 samples taken for testing, 80 per cent always came out positive.
He said, “This is a serious situation which needs collective effort to address as the case of pandemic has gone beyond people’s imagination as it has gone to community transmission.
“What we are afraid of in this pandemic is what is happening.   The pandemic has left the first stage of entering the country. It has left the second stage and has entered the third stage of community spread. This is not news that will be palatable to the public but like a Hausa proverb says, ‘on the day you are to take a bath, you cannot hide your navel.’”
Most of the strange deaths in Kano caused by COVID-19, says Gwarzo
He said the team was worried about deaths, which had claimed many personalities in the state.
According to him, most of the recent mass deaths in the state were caused to COVID-19.
He said, “If you follow the debate (over the cause of the Kano mysterious deaths), while there is some truth in other causes, (complications from hypertension, meningitis, among others), coronavirus is the leading cause of these deaths in Kano.”
“On the coronavirus itself, when we conducted tests before, you saw four or five; now you can take 100 samples and 80 (per cent) return positive,” he added.
But the NUAHP, which consists of clinical professionals in the health sector with the exception of physicians and nurses, in its statement, said its decision to call for the reversal of the President’s order was based on its observation in the last few days concerning the increase in the number of infected persons, number of deaths and testing capacity.
It said, “The union has studied carefully the declaration by President Buhari on the gradual easing of lockdown nationwide with effect from Monday, May 4, 2020 and hereby raises a serious concern based on reported cases of increase in coronavirus infection and spread across the country in the last few days.
“As a union with members as frontlines workers, we cannot but caution the federal and affected state governments to continue with the lockdown until adequate measures have been taken to contain it.
“We must not forget the fact that the deficit of health professionals, medical materials and facilities in our country would not be able to handle whatever upsurge that may arise due to the high incidences especially the community transmission that is being presently witnessed in some parts of the country.”
We need 5,000 bed spaces for COVID-19, says Kano govt
Meanwhile, Kano State, on Sunday, said it required no fewer than 5,000 bed spaces in isolation centres to accommodate the rising number of COVID-19 patients in the state in the next one month.
The Director of the  Infection Control, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Chairman of the Risk Communication Committee on COVID-19, Prof Isah Abubakar,  disclosed this in an interview with The  PUNCH  in Kano on Sunday.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had, at the PTF media briefing on Thursday,  said Lagos State, with the highest cases of the virus,  needed more bed spaces.
Ihekweazu, who stated that there were 3,500 bed spaces nationwide for COVID-19 patients, said Lagos was struggling to get bed spaces.
But on Friday, he said no state in the country had fully fulfilled the capacity required to address the outbreak of the virus.
Speaking on the state government’s efforts to combat COVID-19, Abubakar, in the interview with one of our correspondents, said,  “In the next one month,  Kano is targeting 5, 000  beds to be provided at isolation centres in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.”
He said there were three fully equipped isolation centres with over 600 bed spaces in the state.
According to him, the isolation centres are Kwanar Dawaki,  the  Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital and  the Sani Abacha Centre.
He said the state government had also established six additional isolation centres which would commence operation to complement the existing ones.
Abubakar added, “The newly established centres expected to begin operation soon are at the Abubakar Imam Urology Hospital, Air Force Hospital, Murtala Mohammed Library, Daula Hotel, Sport Training Institute, Karfi and Kofar Mata Stadium.
“The isolation centre at the Kofar Mata Stadium, which has already been equipped with necessary facilities, will be ready for use by next week.”



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