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17 Apr 2020

FG Threatens To Shut Down VIP's Hospitals Disregarding NCDC Rules

Federal and state governments are bothered by some very important persons’ increasing disregard for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s protocol on COVID-19.
It was gathered on Thursday that most of the individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, who patronised private hospitals, contrary to government’s directive,  were prominent persons.

At its daily media briefing on Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said government would shut unaccredited private hospitals secretly treating COVID-19 patients.

Among others, the NCDC’s protocol on COVID-19 requires anybody that comes from countries with  high burden of the virus to be in isolation for 14  days.

Besides, if such individuals show symptoms of the virus, they are not expected to seek treatment at unaccredited hospitals,  but contact the NCDC.

Also, unaccredited hospitals that get such patients are required to refer them to health facilities approved for treating COVID-19.

A top government official, who confided in The PUNCH, said the task force and other agencies were worried about some prominent persons’ disregard for extant rules on COVID-19.

The source cited the Kano State index case, a retired ambassador;  a  Kwara State accountant, the late Mudeen Obanimomo, and some instances in Lagos, where rich suspected COVID-19 patients went to private hospitals.

He also said the Lagos State Government was aware that many residents of highbrow areas such as  Ikoyi, Banana Island and Victoria Island shunned government’s directive on self-isolation when they came from abroad.

The government official stated, “In Lagos, we have had some people, who after coming from abroad, showed symptoms of COVID-19.   Because they were ashamed to go to the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, they went to private hospitals. They later headed for the IDH or the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja when it was too late.”

Recall that a chartered accountant and auditor, Obanimom, who returned from the United Kingdom, died of COVID-19-related complications at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital earlier this month.

A professor of medicine at the UITH, Prof. Alakija Salami, who brought the deceased to the hospital, had allegedly claimed that the man was suffering food poisoning and it was on that basis that he was admitted.

The UITH authorities subsequently suspended the professor and isolated 25 medical workers that came in contact with the late accountant, when his travel history and other facts became known.

A few days ago, a former ambassador, who was the first COVID-19 case in Kano State, allegedly violated the NCDC’s directive on self-isolation after coming abroad.

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