By Audrey Lotechukwu
TUE, AUG 25 2020-theG&BJournal– The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha said Monday during the PTF briefing that Nigeria’s case fatality rate (CFR) has been on a steady decline over the past few months.
The CFR fell steadily from 3% in April 30, 2020 to I.92% by August 22, 2020. In epidemiology, case fatality rate is the number of people (in this case) who die from the coronavirus disease over a certain period of time. It is used to determine the severity of the disease and often used for forecasting disease outcome or course.
The PTF chair however is not convinced about CFR data as the sample collection is still low. He is also not convinced about results presented from States across the country and urged health officials in the States to ramp up their testing and to declare correct results ‘’because early detection will ultimately translate to treatment and ultimately leveling of curve.’’
The PTF Coordinator, Sani Aliyu has his own doubts too. This time about the quality of some of the results and the discrepancy the PTF is getting when passengers are subsequently tested in country after their arrival.
For this reason, he announced that the protocol that has just been approved would be reviewed after four weeks and the PTF will also be looking at the level of discrepancy between negative and positive results with a view to developing a list of accredited laboratories for countries we frequently receive travellers from.
‘’In that regard, once we have a list of accredited laboratories working for the different embassies, we would insist that passengers use these laboratories for their tests.’’
Protocol for passengers arriving the country was announced to include:
All intended passengers must have tested negative for COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) before allowed entry into the country.
-The period of validity for the PCR test narrowed from the current 14 days to 7 days from the 29th of August. Preferably, the PCR test should be done as close as possible to point of departure for Nigeria, preferably between 42 to 72 hours but we will still accept results that are valid within seven days.
-Airline will be fined $3, 500 per passengers if they fail to comply with pre-boarding COVID-19 requirements.
-On arrival in-country from the 29th of August, passport will no longer be retained by the Nigeria Immigration Service rather passengers will be allowed to proceed and exit the airport once they can show evidence of a negative COVID PCR result, evidence of payment for a repeat PCR result in-country and where possible health questioner form that has been submitted either manually of electronically.
-Passengers will be asked to proceed on self isolation at home for a period of seven days. On day seven, they will proceed to their sample collection centre or laboratory for a repeat COVID PCR test. They will be allowed to exit isolation on the eight day if their result is negative.
-Based on scientific review the PTF has decided that it will be safe to shorten the current quarantine period for passengers coming into the country from 14 days to 8 days, provided they have a negative PCR result from day 7.
Meanwhile, 321 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria on Monday from 24 States, according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The additional confirmed cases brings the nation’s total to 52,548 with 1,004 fatalities. While active cases has dropped to 12,287 the number of discharged patients has also increased to 39,257. The total number of samples tested so far is 379,542.