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Third coronavirus case was avoidable but NCDC delayed response — Patient’s friend laments

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LESS than 24 hours after the Federal Government announced the third confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the country, a friend of the patient has called out the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) over what he described as its poor handling of the case.

Ayobami with the Twitter handle @dondekojo tweeted that the confirmed case would have been better managed if the NCDC had been proactive in testing the 30-year-old patient, who according to him had made herself available for a test immediately she returned from the UK on Friday March 13.

He disclosed that the centre had responded to calls arguing that “UK isn’t a high risk country.”

“We could have avoided a lot of effort we’d now have to do on contact tracing if this test had been done since Friday. NCDC basically told me that the UK isn’t high risk and won’t promise a test until I kept going at them. Stay safe,” Ayobami wrote on Twitter.

According to him, he had promptly followed the public health advisory shared on the NCDC’s website and also called the phone number of the organisation which is widely advertised as toll free when his friend started showing symptoms of coronavirus shortly after her arrival from the UK.

Reacting to the claim by the government that the patient is receiving care, Ayobami submitted that it was a bogus claim as the patient was with no one to attend to her.

“Hello @LSMOH @ProfAkinAbayomi you lied in the Press release that she’s “receiving care” when no one has attended to her at all. No toiletries or regular power supply, lack of any sort of medication apart now. Fix up,” his tweet read.

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The ICIR however, reached out to Ayobami but as at the time of filing this report, he did not respond to questions sent to him via Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Director General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu in a  tweet which appeared to be a reaction to Abayomi’s claim urged Nigerians to be patient with the organisation.

According to him, the centre is busy receiving hundreds of calls daily and is working hard.

He added that citizens desist from criticizing them as it’s distracting and discouraging.

“We’re extremely busy. Our call handlers are taking hundreds of calls every day, 24/7 including weekends, from across Nigeria Please be patient with us & help us by pulling together. The criticism distracts us from critical work. We are trying VERY hard to meet all urgent needs,” his tweet reads.

So far, Nigeria has recorded only three cases of coronavirus and one of the patients was recently reported discharged after testing negative to the virus.

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

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