Nigeria to reactivate isolation centres over outbreak of COVID-19, deadly flu in China

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Following the outbreak of an unknown deadly flu in China, which has led to the death of residents, including three Nigerians, amid the resurgence of Coronavirus in the pandemic’s country of origin, the Federal Government may reactivate COVID-19 isolation centres across the country.

This is coming at a time Nigeria announced the outbreak of Diphtheria in Kano State, which at the weekend, had claimed 34 lives, while Edo State, yesterday, recorded 10 more cases of Lassa fever, raising the total number of confirmed persons in the state to 81, with eight deaths.

A memo from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (OSGF) addressed to the Minister of Health, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the “deadly flu portends danger for Nigeria.”

The leaked memo dated January 16, 2023, and signed on behalf of the SGF by the Permanent Secretary at the OSGF, Aliyu Mohammed, informed the Minister and agency heads that the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), had on December 13, 2022 raised concerns over the outbreak of an unknown deadly flu, following the death of some residents, which included three Nigerians. 

“The initial clinical analysis ruled out COVID-19, but the symptoms of the fatal flu include dry throat, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Hospitals in Guangzhou have been inundated with patients having the disease, with seven Nigerians said to be in critical condition as a result of the flu,” the memo stated.

The SGF, therefore, said: “Considering the potential danger of this outbreak to human beings, there may be need to note the development with a view to emplacing measures to reactivate COVID-19 centres across the country.”

It added that the outbreak of the new deadly flu portends danger considering the experience of COVID-19, noting that of concern is the fact that the new flu is yet to be diagnosed, an indication that the flu could have spread beyond the shores of China, especially as millions of migrant workers who returned home for Lunar New Year celebrations, travelled back to their various bases outside China across the world.

When contacted last night, NCDC and Office of the SGF declined comment on the matter, just as our correspondent also sought to know from the Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the centre’s findings about the flu in question and measures being put in place to avert importation or ensure prompt testing in case of any outbreak in Nigeria. He too declined making comments on the matter. 

Yesterday, China entered its Lunar New Year with millions praying for health after three years of stress and financial hardship under the COVID-19 pandemic, as officials reported almost 13,000 new deaths caused by the virus between January 13 and 19.

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