KANO State health officials have launched a manhunt for three coronavirus patients who have absconded from their isolation centre with the potential risk of spreading the virus further as the authorities struggle with a huge surge in cases.
Over the last week, Kano has become the third most affected region in Nigeria after Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory with 77 cases and one death. To make matters worse, the state’s only testing centre had to be closed because staff their tested positive, forcing the state governor Abdullahi Ganduje to ask for federal help.
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, Kano State has also witnessed a surge in other deaths over the last week, with Governor Ganduje attributing these to other ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, meningitis and acute malaria. Today, the crisis deepened further when Dr Tijjani Hussaini, the Kano State coordinator for the Rapid Response on Covid-19, confirming that three patients have absconded, switching off their phones.
Dr Hussaini said they have informed the security agencies about the development and asked them to launch manhunt for the missing persons. Apparently, the patients were said to have fled immediately they got wind of the outcome of their tests which turns out to be positive and cannot be found at their homes.
Now facing a serious health crisis, Governor Ganduje has said that autopsies are still being carried out to unravel the causes of the other deaths which totalled as many as 150. Health authorities have launched investigations into the deaths to determine if they were related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Ganduje said: “Over the past week, there have been reports of mysterious deaths in our great Kano State and I’m here to assure everyone that investigations are already ongoing. Autopsies are still being carried out but so far there’s been nothing to suggest that they are linked with Covid-19.
“The state ministry of health has been sleepless in their battle against the pandemic and I will like to commend them for their efforts thus far. They have fought hard in the sporadic testing and quarantining of the infected person across the state.”
However, it is believed that the autopsies carried out are verbal ones which are being conducted on a house-to-house basis to engage with families of those that have died. Apparently, health officials are asking relatives questions on the symptoms exhibited by the victims before they died in order to ascertain the possible cause of their deaths.