Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire on Wednesday clarified why COVID-19 research was suspended by the molecular laboratory in Kano.
Ehanire, at a Presidential Task Force media briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, said the laboratory had stopped research because some of its workers had been contaminated.
When governors decided to enforce inter-state lockout for two weeks, the Minister confirmed this.
But earlier on Wednesday it was announced that the Kano laboratory, which started work a couple of weeks ago, stopped testing because it ran out of reagents and kits.
Yet Ehanire, who verified the center shortage of reagents, said the chemicals were sent to the laboratory.
He said, “As for the Kano testing, there was a report that they had reduced reagent availability and were supplied with it. Yet after that, operations were briefly suspended because some of the laboratory staff were contaminated and the facility had to be shut down for decontamination. This was just temporary.
“However they were replenished in relation to the supply of reagents. They have personal protective equipment and reagents now.”
FG gets tough on patent medicine vendors
The minister also said the Federal Ministry of Health called an emergency National Health Council meeting, via a teleconference, where state health commissioners and the Federal Capital Territory Secretary for Health were engaged to review the country’s response to COVID-19 outbreak.
He said that among the agreements reached at the meeting was that it would revoke operating licenses of patent medicine vendors found guilty of attending patients with COVID-19 symptoms rather than contacting the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
Patients must be treated where diagnosis is made He said, “One of the unanimously adopted resolutions is that all persons diagnosed with COVID-19 should henceforth be treated in states where the diagnosis is made, rather than being referred to their state of origin, except where there is a medical indication to the contrary. This is to prevent the high risk of other individuals being exposed while moving.
“Patent drug vendors and pharmacists are forbidden from continuing to treat individuals who have been diagnosed as COVID-19 patients or are accused of getting their operating licenses revoked.”
Chinese doctors to be tested Ehanire noted that the compulsory 14 days isolation for the Chinese medical personnel that came to help Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19 had expired and that he had directed that tests should be done for them on Thursday (today).
“I was told that those who came from China had been in quarantine for 14 days, so I requested that tests be performed tomorrow to find out if any of them had the infection,” he said.