NEC: COVID-19: More states to get molecular laboratories, treatment centres

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The National Economic Council (NEC) and the Ministry of Health will collaborate in expanding the molecular laboratory network to more states in order to contain the pandemic Corona virus.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ihekwezu said that he, alongside Minister of Health and the Minister of State for Health, gave NEC an update on Corona virus otherwise known as Covid-19.

He said that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation also updated NEC on actions and restrictions of travel recently instituted by the newly set up Presidential Taskforce on the Covis-19 Outbreak.

“I had the privilege of briefing NEC on the situation in Nigeria; at the time we started the meeting, there were eight confirmed cases; by the time we ended, there were another four cases bring the total in the country at the moment to 12.

“I briefed governors on the risk we face as  country; and the need to pool together to respond to this and we agreed that there is a window of opportunity to respond aggressively; carry out certain measures and prevent, if we don’t succeed, at least slow down the spread of this epidemic across our country.

“We also agreed that this was a collective responsibility to all cadres of government; the governors agreed to fund a series of urgently needed interventions.

“Both interventions that are required for the immediate response and some other medium to long term interventions that are needed to provide for the control of this outbreak and future outbreaks.

“This includes the expansion of the molecular laboratory network to more states; expanding treatment centres to at least one in a state; expanding the emergency operation centres so every state has locations  in which this response can be managed,’’ he said.

According to him, the specifications will be shared with all states over the next 24 hours.

He described the approach against Covid-19 as an all-of-government, all-of-society response.

The director-general said that the meeting ended with a consensus between NEC and the Ministry of Health to work together.

“Share information, share expertise; share knowledge and share the response in recognition that this is a threat to our way of life and the economy of this country.

“We agreed to work collectively and together to make sure that we keep Nigeria safe and protect its citizens from the threat of this new virus,’’ he said. (NAN)

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