Nigerians who are not critically ill have been advised to stay away from the hospital environment as long as the COVID-19 pandemic still persists.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, gave the advice at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 situation in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Mustapha said “this is not the time for people to walk into the hospital for mild illnesses.”
He also said pharmaceutical stores have been directed to remain open so people can access drugs and other medical attention if the need arises.
”We have not shut down the hospitals. The hospitals and pharmaceutical stores are there. So you can access the hospital if you have any need to go,” he said.
”All over the world, people are being advised to stay away from the hospital except it is a critical issue.
”This is not the time to walk into the hospital because you do not the type of patients that are coming and you wouldn’t want to contact something you didn’t bring to the hospital,” he said. “All the countries are dealing with situations they cannot combine with routine visits to your doctor and to the hospital.”
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Nigeria, the government has continued to put severe measures in place to curb the spread of the disease.
Nigeria currently has 254 cases of the coronavirus of which 44 have been discharged and six deaths recorded.
Meanwhile, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said no patient should be rejected without advisory on what to do.
Mr Ehanire who was represented by the minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said essential health services should be rendered to everyone.
”Health facilities, both public and private, are called upon not to reject patients without giving them advisory on what to do, but to follow NCDC guidelines and refer suspect cases to COVID-19 test sites.
“In all cases, essential health service is to be rendered, including emergencies, since the arrival of coronavirus does not mean disappearance of other diseases,” he said.
He also said unauthorised management of COVID-19 and compromise of medical ethics can aggravate public health emergency at community level and place national security in jeopardy.
He advised that only accredited facilities for COVID-19 treatment are allowed to accept persons suspected of the virus.
“All health facilities are reminded that coronavirus is an extremely dangerous pathogen, which spreads very easily,” he said. “It is not advisable to accept persons suspected of such infection for treatment if the facility is not so accredited, but to offer them a referral to test centres or accredited treatment centres.”
“Health workers and other patients and visitors will otherwise be put at great risk,” he said.
The minister also said there are enough bed spaces in accredited hospitals to handle the present number of positive cases in Nigeria.