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Coronavirus: 14 days after ICIR’s report, Senate president confirms Nigeria’s unpreparedness

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Barely 14 days after The ICIR reported that Nigeria is unprepared to battle Coronavirus following findings that no single isolation ward or centre exists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senate President, Ahmad Lawan confirms the report.

Lawan who led a delegation of the National Assembly leadership to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) on Wednesday, submitted in a series of tweet that Abuja and the six surrounding states in the whole of the North-Central has no isolation ward or centre which can be used to handle any case of Coronavirus.

“From the tour of facilities we undertook, the temporary isolation center is really not in good shape and doesn’t look ready to receive any patient, while the permanent one is yet to be completed.

“There’s no generator, no electricity, nothing. There were only two or three air conditioners brought in this morning, perhaps because we said yesterday that we are going to visit the place. That is absolutely not acceptable,” his tweet read in part.

This corroborates the findings of The ICIR in a report published 14 days ago.

In the report, it was found that two major hospitals in the FCT; UATH and the National Hospital are ill-equipped to handle even a single case of Coronavirus.

It was found that UATH had its proposed isolation centre under construction and had no equipments in the temporary earmarked area for handling infectious diseases.

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While the National Hospital had only a two-bed isolation holding area, positioned at the end of a corridor in the Female Ward Centre.

The findings by The ICIR showed that the country’s capital is unprepared for COVID-19, the same submission of the senate president, who expressed disappointment that the N620 million approved to the health ministry for combatting Coronavirus was yet to be released.

It becomes a worry case given that Nigeria recorded its first Coronavirus last week, and while the patient, an italian citizen is said to be receiving treatment at the Infectious Disease Hospital (Mainland Hospital) in Yaba, Lagos, there are reports that most persons who came in contact with him are untraceable.

Recall that prior to the senate president’s submission, deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, sounded an alarm bell when he shared his experience while undergoing screening at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

According to Boroffice, the screening was nothing compared to his experience outside the country. He said that travelers were only given a form to fill, quizzing them about their health status and travel history after which they were allowed into the country.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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