The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated that hotels and school dormitories would be turned into isolation centres to accommodate COVID-19 patients due to shortage of bed space, if the upsurge in the number of cases continues.
He, however, said the situation in Nigeria would not “experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.”
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 centre yesterday, a repurposed 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 the 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 infrastructural assets for isolation and treatment in their states.
“Though we are in the community transmission phase of the 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 the health sector-specific advisories on re-opening the economy.”