The Director General, Nigeria Center for Disease (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has raised alarm that the nation has reached a critical level where hospital capacity would no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases.
He said this on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
According to him, the nation’s health workers may be forced to make tough decisions.
This is as he also said that Health care workers need to now maintain a higher index of suspicion for COVID-19, noting that if people were unwell that should not make them rule out COVID-19 before treating malaria.
“The country has reached a critical level where the hospital capacity would no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases and health workers would be forced to make tough decisions.
“We need to protect our more vulnerable citizens. We all have to take responsibility, this is not for NCDC, PTF or Government alone,” Ihekweazu said.
He also said that the virus is spreading fast, causing mild symptoms in some and severe illness/death in other in the country.
According to him, many people have continue to experience fatigue and other symptoms even after recovery from the virus in the country.
He regretted that in the last four weeks, Nigeria recorded a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
He said, “We have now reported over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. This is a stark reminder of the reality we live in now, a virus that has affected over 100,000 lives and led to over 1,300 deaths within 11 months in Nigeria, with millions more globally.
“We cannot be too careful. The silent face of COVID-19. You can’t tell whether someone has the virus or not so take protective measures at all times.”
He also warned that by organising large gatherings indoors, organizers are not only putting themselves and guests at risk, but the staff who have limited choice but to serve.
“By going to clubs, you are putting your parents at risk. The 100,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths are not just numbers. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends whose deaths will be mourned and the pain of their loss deeply felt. The response starts and ends with the people of this country,” he said.
Ihekweazu added that testing remains free in the public health labs, as sample collection centres were being scaled up by state governments amidst other measures.