The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has revealed that the virus is behind the mass deaths being recorded in Kano.
Leader of the team, Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, disclosed this on Sunday while addressing journalists in Kano after the donation of mobile testing laboratory facilities by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to the state government.
According to him, the outcome of the verbal autopsies and tests carried out proved that the mass deaths in the Northern city was caused by the novel disease.
He said a look at the age of the deceased persons, concentration of the people in one place and tests that were carried out, showed evidence of COVID-19.
His words: “With the preliminary report, most of the deaths recorded of recent and tests carried out indicated that coronavirus is the cause. Hence, before the final reports which would be ready in the next one week or few days, it is necessary for people of the state to wake up from their slumber that this is a serious issue at hand.
“We have five cogent reasons to say that the mass deaths recorded in Kano is associated with Coronavirus.”
Gwarzo said it is however, unfortunate that the despite the situations of things in the state, several residents are still non-compliant with the various directives introduced to combat spread of the virus.
He said: “Awareness is our main problem until when Kano people are ready to accept the reality that COVID 19 is real then we have a long way to go because most of the residents are yet to believe in the seriousness of the pandemic. Until they take precautionary measures against the spread of the disease through community transmission.
“The Presidential Task Force is here to support the state team. We are not re-inventing the wheel and we are not creating a parallel structure, we only have instructions from the Federal government to come and assist by working with the team.
“We don’t look at problems as shortcoming but we look at them as challenges. That is why the Presidential Task force is here to resolve these challenges.
“The major challenges we have I can assure you is not from the government of Kano, it is from the people of Kano, they must have understanding, they must have the clear appreciation of the magnitude and trajectory of the epidemic otherwise if they don’t, whatever is invested will come to a difficult end.
“We have six centres that are ready to take the upsurge. In the next 48hours, Kano will have a new 500 space capacity. In the next two weeks, we will be able to make one thousand to three thousand capacity so that more people are received, given care, and in the process protected from not only getting sick but protected from not transmitting the disease.”
Commenting on testing in the state, he said: “Here in Kano, we have about three centres, one has the capacity of 180 samples and another 80. It is 260 and with the Dangote Foundation bringing another new Mobile Testing Laboratory Centre in the state with 400 samples capacity there will be tremendous improvement.
“It will now reach about 660 within the possible time and that will not be enough and since they said within one week it will accommodate one thousand samples; that will make us to get out of this problem.
“Within no time you will see other states will be bringing their samples here in Kano and that will further ginger us to further expand our scope to achieve maximally.
“No country in the whole world will say that she is free of the virus we have to be proactive in expanding and providing sophisticated equipment that could enable us to be ahead of COVID 19 and if we relent the end result will be destructive.”
The revelation comes against the backdrop of several claims by the state government that the deaths were not caused by COVID-19 but “mysterious causes”.
Kano is currently the second-highest state in Nigeria infected with the virus with 313 COVID-19 cases recorded so far.