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COVID 19: ‘Don’t assume that the curve is flattening’- Health Minister

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has attributed the recent decline in Coronavirus infection in August to the reduction of the virus test rates nationwide.

Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control on Monday told Nigerians not to celebrate the reduced positive cases being reported as a flattening of the COVID-19 curve.

“In the month of August, we had very low number of samples collected. In July, there were seven states with decreased samples collected, but unfortunately, in August, it increased to 32 states with decreased samples collection. In July, we had 13 states that actually collected over 1,000 samples. For August, no state met that target. That means we had zero states collecting over 1,000 samples”, Head of Disease Surveillance for the NCDC, Elsie Ilori, said.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said “Our target is to test two million Nigerians for COVID-19 and to scale up to four million persons of which we have achieved barely a quarter.

“We are beginning to see a situation where the number of those treated and discharged exceeds the number of positive cases detected. While these figures may seem reassuring, they may be deceptive, and we cannot assume that the curve is flattening, since we are yet to perfect due diligence on our side.

“With a total of 1,013 deaths recorded so far, the fatality rate has also dropped slightly to 1.88 percent, the gradual fall is possibly an indication of improvement in response and treatment strategies to contain COVID-19 and also a common global trend. As long as we still record deaths from this disease, there is no room for complacency until we meet our goal to reduce fatality rate to less than one per cent”, the Minister added.

The PTF noted that States like Kano, Lagos, Oyo, Edo, and FCT, had the biggest decrease in the number of samples collected in August. Also, local government areas lagged behind in sample collection, with no local government area in Kogi State collecting samples in August.

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