The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that the medicines brought into the country as gifts by the Chinese government to further strengthen our fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), will be first cleared by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before being used by Nigerians.
He further explained that the purpose of the medical team from China coming into the country, is to provide technical support to our healthcare workers, especially on tactics and strategies they used to reduce the cases of coronavirus in their country.
The Minister, who made this known during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Friday in Abuja, said: “The team from China are under quarantine. We asked where they intend to observe the quarantine and they said they have a compound. So, we sent the NCDC to go and inspect the compound before they came.
“We also told them that every day the NCDC will have access whenever they like to come and inspect. So, that is what they have agreed to.
“Whatever it is that they brought will have to be certified by NAFDAC, also whatever medicines they brought. The medicines will be certified by NAFDAC before Nigerians will take those medicine”.
He added: “Whether they are treating Nigerians or not, I doubt because if you are in quarantine, and they (Chinese firm) understand that they (Chinese med team) are in quarantine; it is not the new strangers that you will immediately start using to treat your people.
“Our main interest in these people is to see from a scientific point of view, what actually the processes were that they used in their country. What are the tactics that they applied? This is because if you want to know something, you ask somebody who has suffered it before.
“They have various lessons and learning that they have, we ourselves want these lessons. We want to know how they dealt with their problem It is part of our own preparedness to protect our people.
“I have told them that even though they are in quarantine, they can join us by videoconference. This way, we can begin to ask questions already so that they don’t waste the period. So, as from next week, we will join by video conference so that we start asking them questions”.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that using only the face masks is not a sure strategy to curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
It explains that maintaining physically distance of 2m, plays a very critical role in reducing the spread considering that we are a densely populated country.
According to the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, “Even when we announce our decision on mask, the masks are not going to solve the problem. So, there have been some messages around the country seeming to imply that wearing a mask makes all the other measures no longer necessary. This is simply not the case.
“If we do offer an advisory around masks, it will be in addition to everything else; it will not be in place of it. So, we have to understand the reasons for these measures.
“The Google mobility report for Nigeria tells the level of intensity of contact between individuals in different locations in Nigeria. The last one from the 29th of March shows that mobility trends in leisure centres – supermarkets, transport hubs, and places of employment in Nigeria has reduced by about 27 percent.
“That is very good but it’s not enough and we have to push that proportion even further down. So, I’m hoping that as data becomes available for the next few days, we will see a further reduction because our future really depends on this”.
He further added: “What we are suggesting is not for you to be socially apart from each other, we are suggesting that we stay physically apart. You can use technology to enhance your social relations.
“We have one of the highest population density in the world and especially in Africa. Just four countries have a higher population density than us. This has the greatest implication for us and the transmission of viruses than just our numbers.
“It is our closeness to each other that really enables the virus to transmit from one to the other.
“Physical distancing is the most important to know whether we talk about wearing of masks, whether we talk about interruption of mass gatherings, whether we talk about any of the other interventions that we have suggested.
“There are people that carry this virus without presenting symptoms. Critically, the most important thing is that people can be infectious two days before the symptoms appear. We call it the pre-symptomatic phase. While everybody has been talking about the asymptomatics, the most important are the pre-symptomatic.
“People that have become infected, will become symptomatic but don’t know yet because there in a few days before that has happened and that is why we have to increase the distance between us”.