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Lassa fever fatality rises as FG faults alleged rise in COVID-19 cases

…says positivity rate is 0.2%

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu

The Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, has disclosed that Lassa Fever cases are on the increase in the country.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, on Monday, he said that the present fatality rate for the disease is 19.1%.

This is even as the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, has debunked claim in a section of the media that the country has  witnessed a 45 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks.

Senator Mamora, however, revealed that the current statistics indicated that there has been 3746 suspected cases in 23 states of the federation, 681 confirmed cases with 132 deaths.

On the efforts to halt the spread of Lassa Fever, the Minister said  that the government was making working hard to enforce  environmental sanitation and  also focus on long term improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in all parts of the country to stop the spread of Cholera.

While putting the record straight, the NCDC Director General explained that there is no increase in COVID-19 cases  in Nigeria and that the country’s positivity rate is 0.2 per cent.

He described the news report as untrue, insisting that Nigeria did not witness 45% increase in COVID-19 cases and that the positivity rate of the country remained at 0.2 per cent.

“May I use this opportunity to correct the wrongful headlines that made the round Monday. There was a report of  a 45 per cent increase in case numbers for the period of  April 1-9 and the basis of that report was using absolute numbers.

“In the preceding week, there were 182 cases and it went up to 265 by April 9. Using raw numbers without denominators is wrong. When you say 182, 182 of how many? The denominator was not taken into account.

“This headline is untrue, we have not seen 45 per cent increase in cases. Our test positivity rate has stopped at 0.2 per cent in the two past weeks that we counted this month,” he explained.

While calling for caution despite the relaxation of travel restriction by the federal government, the NCDC Director General warned that: “When things appear to be quite, we do not know what the virus is doing, we do not know whether another variant will emerge, but what we do know is that as long as we continue to have free rate transmission in mostly unvaccinated population, then the risk of the emergence of a new variant will persist.

“Following the relaxation of travel advisory, NCDC and partners are on a very high alert to watch what will happen with disease trends over this Easter period when we know we have a peak of travel and also towards the end of Ramadan when we know we have a bit of travel both domestically and gathering of people.

“The whole intent is to see if there is any change in COVID  trends that may be a source of worry.”

He further  advised that,” in the spirit of relaxed restriction, continue to live safe, make sure you make use of every opportunity  that have been afforded to get vaccinated.

“We are trying to move into a consolidation phase for the  COVID response and one of the key pillars to ensure that we return to normalcy is very high uptake of COVID vaccine which has been made readily available by the government of Nigeria and is free. “We have not recorded any death for the past few weeks and we know that the test positivity rate across the country is still the same across the country for the past few weeks of 0.2 per cent of all samples tested.”

Written by ExpressDay

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