The Federal Government has warned that the 945 deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic cases should be a source of worry for citizens to take appropriate measures to avoid being infected.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while speaking at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force, PTF on COVID-19.
Ehanire noted that as at August 10, 2020; Nigeria has recorded 46,577 cases from 317,496 samples tested so far; while 33,186 persons have been treated and discharged.
He said that 945 persons have been lost to the COVID-19 disease; which had now been identified in 549 of the 774 local government areas.
“Half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 Local Government areas; which could offer the attractive option of targeted attention, to focus on case finding, isolation and treatment. The figures show that Nigeria is also sadly approaching the symbolic 1,000 number of fatalities; a grim reality that should be a wake-up call for us,” he said.
The minister said that many more Nigerians today personally knew a person who succumbed to COVID-19; warning that COVID-19 was still around and would be for a long time.
“Until there is vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves; are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective; such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds.
‘‘If we do not adhere, there could be regrets. The urgency is accentuated by the need to prepare for societal changes that will arise as the economy reopens with increased transportation; trade and human interaction, including possible reopening of air travel.”
Ehanire insisted that there must be effort to balance the benefits of a reactivated economy; with the need to keep the citizens safe, with no loss in gains so far made.
He said that since Friday, August 7, Nigeria had joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Mask Week; the aim of which was to reinforce the importance of wearing masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in the absence of a vaccine.
“Our focus is still to reduce fatality to less than one per cent, not only with preventive measures; but also with a strategy that encourages citizens to report early for treatment and for hospitals to attend to all patients in distress; most importantly to be able to provide oxygen treatment.”