The Nigeria Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has warned of the possibility of the government shutting down private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
The Health Minister warned during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday.
Ehanire also warned against touching grandparents who were vulnerable to the virus.
He described as unfortunate the death of a Medical doctor in Lagos who treated a Coronavirus patient at a private clinic.
He said such a move underscored the risk involved in treating people infected with COVID-19 at an undisclosed medical facility.
Ehanire said, “Quite unfortunate, the latest fatality in Lagos is a medical professional. I want to express my condolences to the family. This highlights the risk to health workers in this COVID-19 response.
“Patients with mild symptoms are still very highly infectious, and mild symptoms in one person could be deadly infection in another. That is why we recommend the suspension of close contact between grandchildren and grandparents at this time.
“Our valuable health workers are urged to adhere to all government instructions and regulations. Always utilise personal protective equipment; maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19; and protect yourselves, your loved ones and your colleagues.
“I shall use this opportunity to again strongly advise health professionals against private or secret management of people who have COVID-19 outside of accredited health facilities. We cannot afford avoidable morbidity and mortality.
“Private facilities must obtain accreditation to treat this highly infectious disease. Practitioners engaging in unauthorised treatment of COVID-19, run the risk of being shut down for decontamination.”
Ehanire said the next phase of the PTF strategy is to focus on community testing as one of the measures to curb the spread of the virus.
On the inadequacy of PPE as complained by some health workers, the Health Minister advised that the stockpile of the equipment needs to be managed as foreign manufacturers are unable to produce the materials at the moment.
Explaining procedure for discharging patients from the isolation centres, Ehanire said it varied from one patient to another. He stressed that it was important that a patient to be discharged must be tested twice and the result must be negative.