Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon toured the Presidential Villa beginning from the office of the Chief Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
It is believed that the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, who was not in the office on Tuesday, might have gone into self-isolation. Also on self-isolation is the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye.
Osinbajo and Kyari sat close to each other at the last Federal Executive Council meetings held in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
Their seats were separated by that of the Secretary to the Government.
Osinbajo had also presided over the National Executive Council
Kyari, on Monday tested positive to COVID-19.
Kyari who was on a trip to Germany on March 7, to meet with officials of Siemens in Munich on Nigerian electricity expansion programme, returned to the country on March 14.
According to a top government functionary, Kyari “is in self-isolation where he’s being monitored by medical personnel because he’s not showing severe symptoms of the disease.”
Asked if he had been moved to Abuja University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada where victims of COVID-19 are being treated, the source replied: “it is not compulsory that everyone who tests positive must be taken to the hospital.
“If the patient is not showing severe symptoms of COVID-19, he can merely be given a bed rest”, noting that most of the victims of the disease naturally recover.
The source added that over 80 per cent of victims recover without any intervention.
“He may test positive and not show severe symptoms and so be in self-isolation. The symptoms in over 80 per cent cases are mild as they manifest modestly. Most people will recover without intervention. Fatality is common in old people.
“They only have to be monitored to find that the situation is not deteriorating. He can be on bed rest and be given drugs related to the symptoms he’s showing. If the symptom is fever, he can be given paracetamol.
“He will be given water to help him hydrate. His blood sample will be taken to know that he’s not showing any sign of deterioration. The treatment given to them is just to support the immune system,” he said.
According to him, most of the victims of the disease who die are those who show respiratory symptoms like pneumonia and that is why ventilators are needed.
Also, Kyari’s staff as well as presidential aides who had had contact with him have been asked to self-isolate.
The source disclosed that no tests would be done on them unless they show symptoms of the virus, explaining that this is because there is limited number of test kits. “Tests are done if only people are showing symptoms. If they are not showing symptoms, they will only be told to self-isolate. They will not be tested until they are showing symptoms.
“It’s on account of limited kits that this is done. Ideally, everybody should be tested because there are some people that are not showing the symptoms and are positive. We have people from high-burdened countries but there are no kits. It is not prudent to use the kits for those that are not showing the signs.”
The committee led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, all wore face masks.
They went in through the permanent secretary’s wing and came out from the chief of staff’s wing, in a tour that lasted almost 40 minutes.
When approached to comment on the purpose of the visit, Mustapha said “you will be briefed later,” as he led his team members out of the office.
Other members of the committee were Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator for the fight against COVID19, the Ministers of Health, Interior, Aviation, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and Education.
Others were Minister of Information and Culture, Minister of Environment, Director-General, Department of Security Service, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organization Country Representative.
Meanwhile, as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the media department of the presidential villa has reduced the number of accredited journalists covering the villa to 20 for the next two weeks.
Accredited journalists who are over 100 in number, will now take turns to cover the Presidential Villa.
Meanwhile President Buhari met separately with the Governor of Katsina, Aminu Masari; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.); Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.
Journalists were not briefed at the end of the meeting.