The Federal Government may reactivate COVID-19 isolation centers across the country in response to the outbreak of an unknown deadly flu in China, which has resulted in the deaths of residents, including three Nigerians, and the resurgence of Coronavirus in the pandemic’s country of origin.
The “deadly flu portends danger for Nigeria,” according to a memo from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (OSGF) to the Minister of Health, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The leaked memo, dated January 16, 2023, and signed on behalf of the SGF by the OSGF’s Permanent Secretary, Aliyu Mohammed, informed the Minister and agency heads that the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) had raised concerns on December 13, 2022, following the deaths of some residents, including three Nigerians.
“The initial clinical analysis ruled out COVID-19, but the symptoms of the fatal flu include dry throat, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Hospitals in Guangzhou have been inundated with patients having the disease, with seven Nigerians said to be in critical condition as a result of the flu,” the memo stated.
The SGF, therefore, said: “Considering the potential danger of this outbreak to human beings, there may be need to note the development with a view to emplacing measures to reactivate COVID-19 centres across the country.”
It added that the outbreak of the new deadly flu portends danger given the experience of COVID-19, noting that the fact that the new flu has yet to be diagnosed is cause for concern, indicating that the flu could have spread beyond the shores of China, especially as millions of migrant workers who returned home for Lunar New Year celebrations traveled back to their various bases outside China around the world.
When contacted last night, the NCDC and the Office of the SGF declined to comment.
After three years of stress and financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China entered its Lunar New Year on Sunday with millions praying for health, as officials reported nearly 13,000 new deaths caused by the virus between January 13 and 19.
Queues stretched for about a kilometer outside Beijing’s iconic Lama temple, which had been repeatedly closed before pandemic restrictions were lifted in early December, with thousands of people waiting in line to pray for their loved ones.