Scary! 45% of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, says Nigeria’s health minister

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*  asymptomatic patients are most infectious and can transmit the virus even if they do not look or feel ill

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says  that global experience indicates that 45% of persons who test positive for COVID-19 may show no symptoms.

The minister stated at the daily Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.

He said that the proportion of asymptomatic cases compared to symptomatic cases in Nigeria was 61% to 35.

According to him  “Research also shows that most people who contract the virus develop mild symptoms or do not experience any symptoms at all.”

Ehanire disclosed that asymptomatic patients were most infectious and could transmit the virus even if they did not look or feel ill.

“Sometimes, such patients can be trivialized even by healthcare workers.  This situation may explain the initial relatively high rate of infections among the health workers.

“However, asymptomatic patients may no longer be infectious after 14 days, even if PCR tests identify RNA evidence of virus in them.”

Ehanire also said that the grievances of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) was being addressed.

According to him, “On the issue of welfare and allowances to frontline health workers, conversations have been held with the Ministry of Finance, agencies and health-related associations.

“Complaints on availability of PPEs have been addressed with supply of materials to States and Federal Medical Centers.

“The disengaged Resident Doctors at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital have been recalled by the Board of Governors.”

He indicated that the Federal Government has been working to resolve the grievances that the health workers might be habouring.

Ehanire, therefore, appealed to the NARD to call a truce, show understanding and reciprocate Government’s efforts, assuring them that all their grievances would be addressed.

He also said that planning for targeted community sensitization activities had commenced in 20 high-burden Local Government Areas, with workshop on infection prevention and control of COVID-19 for healthcare workers of public and private hospitals in the FCT.

The minister said that the reforms for guidelines to make operational, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) was almost ready and would be revealed after presentation to stakeholders.

According to him, “Errors have been addressed and the new document vastly improves on the earlier version.”

Image credit: Premium Times/Story: The Ledger

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