Investigative Journalist and former Editor of The Cable, Fisayo Soyombo has said Nigerians may start seeing higher figures of Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) disease from Kano as the State COVID-19 testing lab at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) resume operations.
He also said the collapse of the Kano State COVID19 response team and shutdown of testing facilities in the State due to contamination may have been the major reason for the mass death recently recorded in the State.
Soyombo made this know in a series of tweets on his official twitter handle, Thursday.
His tweets read, “There’re at least four major reasons for the recent mass deaths and slow COVID-19 response in Kano: Three classes of ppl tested +ve for the virus, then the state govt played needless politics.”
“But it’s not all gloom; there’s some good news, too.
1. At least three lab scientists at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) got infected with the virus, so the lab was closed down.
That you already know. But you probably didn’t know that:
2. Some members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT)— answering calls and going from house to house to retrieve patients with a mobile ambulance & convey them to the hospital for testing & subsequent relocation to the isolation centre — also tested positive for the virus. The RRT collapsed as well.
3. Some members of the Kano State Government Task Force on COVID-19, including the Co-Chairman and the Secretary, got infected with the virus and went into isolation.
The committee also collapsed. All of this in less than two weeks.
As these 3 arms shut down, the mysterious deaths started happening. Since the lab was shut, there was no way to test other than to move the lab to Abuja.
“But to do that moving, they needed the RRT to touch different locations in town to collect samples & forward them to Abuja.”
“This was no longer possible. Testing was summarily impeded.”
4. The state govt began denying the deaths until the figures rose so high that denial became untenable.
The Federal Ministry of Health offered to come into Kano to take over the COVID-19 response, but the state government initially refused, not wanting to be seen as a weak state.
However, with pressure from all corners, plus the rising deaths, they had no choice but to allow them.
Finally, on Tuesday, a team from the Federal Government and the NCDC came into Kano to partner with what was left of the Kano COVID-19 task force.
They’ve been taking samples a lot this week. But the samples had to be taken to Abuja — a time-consuming process cos it takes one day to get to Abuja & another to return to Kano.
In btw, the test result itself takes 12 to 18 hours to process. All these amount to 3 to 4 days. In that time, the virus would have struck.
Some good news, though: Yesterday, the lab at AKTH was reactivated to resume testing, so samples won’t go to Abuja any longer. Yesterday and today in particular, lots of samples were taken.
But there are no results yet because, as I said earlier, it takes 12-18 hours to get the result.
From tomorrow or Saturday, you’ll start seeing the impact, which will definitely mean higher COVID-19 figures for Kano than you’ve seen in the last week.