The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Thursday announced that 113 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
Ehanire disclosed this at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, explaining that they included workers in the public and private health facilities.
The minister again advised workers that it is dangerous to treat coronavirus patients without using personal protective equipment.
The latest disclosure is an alarming surge. Recall that Ehanire had at the task force media briefing in Abuja on April 23 revealed that about 40 health workers in the country had tested positive for coronavirus.
He praised health workers for their commitment to the war against COVID-19, but warned them against treating patients without the PPE.
The minister said, “Please, do not treat any patient without using the PPE. Frontline health workers must undertake refresher training at intervals. This warning has become necessary due to the number of health workers, who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are over 40 now and they have been quarantined.
“The latest figure we have is that 113 health workers have been infected. They are not all public health workers. There are some from private hospitals.
“If you hear us speak frequently against treating coronavirus in private clinics, we are actually referring to people who do so without precaution and training. They risk infecting themselves and their families. Health care workers with no training have no business handling coronavirus.
“As for those who do not have equipment, we have said that we will provide protective equipment. Let me remind you that there is a global shortage. They (the pieces of equipment) are really scarce but we are doing what we can to make sure our frontline workers have the requirement. We also have a stockpile that we can send quickly. For example, we sent a stockpile to Kano.”
However, the president of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile said, in reaction, that most of those who contracted COVID-19 were not health workers treating COVID-19 patients, but personnel in other hospitals.