CHINA is sending an 18-man team of medical experts to Nigeria over the next few days to assist the health authorities with their fight against the coronavirus pandemic as fears grow that the virus may spread further over the coming weeks.
Over the last few days, the number of people affected by the virus has passed the 1m figure, leading to over 60,000 deaths in 205 countries. Some experts believe that things may get worse before they get any better, however, and it is feared that Nigeria could become one of the badly affected countries over the coming months.
Despite China being the origin of the virus, it has managed to curtail the rate of infection and now has fewer cases than nations like the US, Italy, Spain, Germany and France. Less people have also died from coronavirus in China than in US, Italy, Spain, Iran, the UK and France, due to the proactive measures taken by the Chinese government.
In a bid to assist other nations and share their experience, a team of Chinese doctors, nurses and medical experts are expected to arrive in Nigeria this weekend. Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said efforts to contain Covid-19 were being limited by finance, manpower and other indices despite the support from government and individuals, so any Chinese assistance will be welcome.
Nigeria’s health minister Dr Osagie Enihare, said: “The global number has crossed the 1m mark, barely three months after the first cases were first reported in Wuhan, China, which is an indication that it is a public health challenge that we must not take lightly. We are already seeing what may be the indication of community transmission, in that 30% of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information, 51% are imported cases and 19% are through contacts of known cases.
“Directors of the federal ministry of health had discussions with the ministry of industry, trade and investment and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to explore the potential for local production of medical consumables such as face masks, gloves, sanitizers and even ventilators. This is in view of looming global shortages of medical supplies for the response due to high demands from all countries, while clinical trials and other processes are ongoing to validate various therapeutic for Covid-19 treatment.”
He added that he had been notified of medical supplies from China courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria. According to the minister, more cases might be detected during the remaining days of the lockdown window, so he called on officials to speed up their work.
“A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect items from China, which include personal protective equipment and ventilators. Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts from China, including doctors, nurses and medical experts shall come along with the flight to assist us,” Dr Enihare added.