Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday raised the alarm that the country is currently in a critical situation with the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President made the observation when he toured the facilities of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, Abuja, accompanied by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu.

The statement was titled “Not yet where we want, but we are making significant progress in public health sector, says Osinbajo.”

Akande quoted Osinbajo as lamenting that “we have a critical situation on our hands currently with the increasing number of cases being recorded.”

Despite this, however, the Vice President was further quoted as saying that a lot of progress has been made since Nigeria’s first case was reported in February 2020.

He said, “We have activated nearly 120 laboratories nationwide – 70 of them public laboratories – and have significantly ramped up our testing and case management capacity.

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“We have expanded the footprint of our sovereign public health response capabilities especially at the subnational level and in areas where previously such capabilities did not exist.

“Not so long ago, test samples had to be flown out of the country for examination. This is no longer the case as we now have the capacity to process samples internally.”

Osinbajo said the achievements recorded so far should not be taken for granted.

He added that the present regime was committed to consolidating on them.

“While we are not yet where we want to be as a nation, we are most certainly not where we were at the onset of the pandemic,” he said.

The Vice President then commended Nigeria’s public and private healthcare specialists and workers in the line of duty for ensuring the safety, cure and prevention of the majority of Nigerians from the COVID-19 virus, sometimes under extremely challenging circumstances.

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He said, “Thousands of health professionals have been working tirelessly on Nigeria’s COVID-19 public health response.

“From the people across sample collection sites and laboratories ensuring testing, and our dedicated physicians, nurses and other health workers in treatment centres providing care to the sick, to our medical scientists that are conducting research on various aspects of this plague.

“We also have state public health teams working hard to ensure data reporting and analysis, contact tracing, risk communications and so much more.

“Within this period, you have all worked extremely hard to activate testing in all states of our country, you have increased our knowledge of this disease, grown our capacity to swiftly identify those infected by the plague and render aid to them.”

Osinbajo said he was aware that the work they do can often seem thankless and the long hours put in unnoticed and unappreciated.

“Often it happens in the background and in the shadows, away from public attention and it will not often grab the headlines. But it only seems this way. In truth, this is the sort of work that builds nations and saves lives.

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“When the record of our response to this unprecedented threat to our public health is written, the efforts of our healthcare professionals will occupy a significant place with the thanks of a grateful nation,” he said.

The Vice President spoke on the research of Nigerians towards getting a cure for the COVID-19 virus.

He said, “Last week I was in briefing meetings, listening to the landmark research of a team of Professors from LUTH who are investigating the efficacy of some of the drugs in the therapeutic management of COVID-19 and are researching its prophylactic use.

“A few days later, I was listening to Prof Christian Happi and his team who have produced a ground-breaking COVID-19 rapid test, but more remarkably, are developing a Nigerian anti-COVID-19 vaccine.”

Osinbajo urged Nigerians to continue to comply with COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical measures.

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