Low figures of confirmed cases not absence of COVID-19 -Expert

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By Peter Amine

Jos, Oct. 25, 2020 Mr Nanbol Daniel, a Medical Laboratory Scientist and member of the Plateau COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team, says that low or no number of confirmed cases in communities does not mean absence of COVID-19.

Daniel, who is the Chairman, Plateau State House of Assembly Committee on Health, said this in an interview with Newsmen on Sunday in Jos.

Figures from Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday Oct. 25, indicated that 603, 611 samples had been tested with 61, 930 confirmed cases.

The NCDC figures showed that 57,285 were treated and discharged, and that there were 3, 516 active cases while 1,129 persons died of the virus.

According to the statistics, Lagos State has the highest confirmed cases of 20, 807, followed by FCT 5, 961 cases and Plateau is third with 3, 594 cases, while Kogi is the lowest in the country with only five confirmed cases.

The lawmaker, who is actively involved in the fight against the pandemic, stated that the figures were low in some states because of low level of sample collection and testing.

“The reason for the increase in confirmed cases in some states, most especially in Plateau, is that the state is conducting tests.

“You can only know the status of individuals only if you conduct tests”.

According to him, unless you test a reasonable sample size of your population, you cannot make good policy decision.

The medical lab scientist stressed that there were still cases of community transmission and that only laboratory tests could confirm.

“It is on this note that we always encourage citizens to voluntarily avail themselves for test.

“And when testing is done and there are no confirmed cases, it still does not mean that the community is free.

“They have to continually practice preventive measures in order not to be infected by the virus.

“My advice is that people should be careful now that schools are reopening.

“We should observe all precautionary measures to avoid upsurge because a child may pick the virus in school and then bring it back to the parents at home and who knows, it may even get to grandparent considered to be more vulnerable.

Daniel told Newsmen that members of the Plateau State House of Assembly were sensitising their constituents to safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic as schools prepare to reopen.

The House Committee Chairman on Health explained that the move was necessary to safeguard the children, teachers and the parents alike.

“As you are aware, Plateau Government is planning to reopen schools after the Federal Government had opened Unity schools.

“We have seen what they have put in place to safeguard the students and the teachers of the schools.

“My advice to the general public is that we are going to live with this virus for some time.

“What is needed at this stage is risk communication and in risk communication, we should know that we are all potential victims.

“The risk communication takes us to the safety protocols; wash your hands regularly, wear face mask, use hand sanitisers and maintain social/physical distancing,” he said.

Daniel stated that Plateau and indeed Nigeria, could not continue with the life of lock-down.

According to him, with the economy now reopened, the general public should be aware of the risk everyone is facing.

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