The Federal Government has said schools and hotels across the federation should get ready to become isolation centres for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients once the bed space of hospitals is overfilled.
Read Also: No Decision Made Yet On Adesina, Says AfDB
Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, stated this at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Ehanire, not all states have the 300 beds prescribed for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
He stated that the government is concerned that the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases may overwhelm the country’s health system.
The minister said he is hopeful that Nigeria will not experience overcrowded hospitals and bed space shortages as seen in some European countries.
He said: “We are, not surprisingly, worried about the increasing number of covid-19 confirmed cases; first because every life matters, but also because of the capacity of our health system to cope.
“Nigeria presently has over 112 treatment and isolation centres in the 35 states and FCT with over 5,000 beds, but not all States have made it up to at least 300 beds prescribed for isolation and treatment.
“I had the privilege of commissioning one such center yesterday, a re-purposed hospital in Benin City, Edo State, with 300 beds, including ICU and an Edo State owned PCR testing laboratory. We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients, so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.
“In event of overflow, we can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 (Quarantine) and level 2 Isolation (of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms), to free hospital beds to be dedicated to level 3, (moderate to severe cases) and level 4, (high dependency and Intensive care unit). I therefore call on activists and philanthropists to work with State governments in concerted steps to scale up non-pharmaceutical measures and beef up infrastrucural assets for isolation and treatment in their states.
“Though we are in the community transmission phase of response, easing social restrictions is desirable, but only if we can meet up with expectations that will not allow a spike in infection rates. This is what has led certain countries to reintroduce lockdowns. We are reviewing health sector specific advisories on re-opening the economy.
“In event of overflow, we can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 (Quarantine) and level 2 Isolation (of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms), to free hospital beds to be dedicated to level 3, (moderate to severe cases) and level 4, (high dependency and Intensive care unit).”
Nigeria has recorded 8,733 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).