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Positive cases remain low, despite rise in sample collection, says PTF

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From Moses Emorinken, Abuja

Nigeria has started seeing a drop in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, despite increase in the number of samples collected, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said on Thursday.

It, however, cautioned that the fall in positive cases does not mean that the virus spread is reducing.

Minister of State for Health Dr. Adeleke Mamora stated this in Abuja during the briefing on COVID-19.

The report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for September 10, shows that the total number of positive cases recorded in Nigeria is 55,632, of a total of 433,206 samples tested. Also, in the last 24 hours, 176 positive cases out of 2,494 samples tested were recorded.

Mamora said: “We continue to record low positivity rate even as the number of samples tested has increased. While this is a cheering development, it will be presumptuous to conclude that the disease is reducing. This is because as of today, not many states are testing. We shall therefore, ensure that testing continues in all the states until we reach our daily targets.

“Ten per cent of positive cases are children and adolescents with more than half of them in the age bracket of 10-18 years. It is therefore, pertinent at this point to renew the warning of the PTF on the reopening of schools so as not to expose our children to the risk of infection.”

He added: “In my meeting with the Chief Medical Directors and medical directors of the Federal Teaching Hospitals and Specialist hospitals last week, I stressed the need for them to work in synergy with the state governments to ensure a coordinated response. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the Medical Directors to exchange notes and share experience.

“Important components on COVID-19 response such as laboratory testing, home based care, psychosocial implications of covid19, challenges associated with covid19 case management (Isolation and treatment), were discussed.

“A critical and important outcome of the meeting was the resolve of the medical directors to complement the efforts of state governments in the fight against the pandemic. They also stressed the need for continued routine services in order not to erode the gains we have made in other areas of health.”

Representing the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Head of Disease Surveillance for the agency, Elsie Ilori, said: “According to research, about 80 percent of people infected with the virus will actually be moderate, mild or not even show symptoms at all.

“However, there are some people that will have severe complications and require intensive care. These are mainly the elderly or persons with existing health conditions such as diabetes, and that may weaken their immune system.

“Even though we as healthy people are not showing symptoms, but there are some that have conditions and they might not survive it. So we need to take responsibility. Our strategy in the countries to promptly detect, isolate and manage cases to recovery.

“In Nigeria, the age group with the highest cases of covid-19 are those between 31 and 40 years of age, and those are the active age group. The age group with the highest mortality are 50 and above. Unfortunately, at least one person out of 10 of that age group might die.”

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