About 20 Generals have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, about one week after the death of the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Maj. Gen. John Irefin, who died of complications from the disease.
The infected military officers were believed to have had contact with the deceased during the Chief of Army Staff’s annual conference 2020, in Abuja, last week.
The conference was cancelled following Irefin’s passage and the participants, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and GOCs from nearly all the army divisions nationwide, were directed to go on self-isolation.
Following the development, the COAS did not attend the wedding of his son in Abuja on Friday.
It was gathered on Sunday that some of the infected GOCs and principal officers were being treated at the COVID-19 isolation centre, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Some of the patients were also being quarantined at other isolation centres in the Federal Capital Territory.
The development, it was learnt, has sparked panic among top military brass who had yet to take the COVID-19 test.
A source said, “The report is true; I know about four generals who returned positive and are being treated for the disease.”
The Nigerian Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, could not be reached for comment as he did not respond to calls. He had yet to react to a WhatsApp message as of the time of filing this report.
SGF Boss Mustapha goes into isolation
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has gone into self-isolation after some members of his household tested positive for COVID-19.
Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, made this known in a statement Sunday.
The statement was titled, ‘Some members of SGF’s household test positive to COVID-19.’
It read, “I would like to inform the general public that some members of my household tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday evening.
“Although they are currently asymptomatic, they have been isolated and are receiving care in one of the government treatment centres.
“My wife and I tested negative, but will remain in self-isolation and work from home according to protocols by the health authorities.
“I would like to remind all Nigerians that COVID-19 is real. As the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced last week, we are recording an increase in cases across several states.”
“Please stay safe and protect yourself. Adhere to all public health and safety measures so that we do not lose the gains we have made in the fight against COVID-19.
“As a family, we covet your prayers.
“Please Take Responsibility for yourself and to protect our country!”
Expert urges more research into viral diseases
The Proprietor of the Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre in the United States, Dr Godwin Maduka, has advised the Federal Government to support local research initiatives into tropical diseases and other viral infections.
At a news conference on Saturday in Abuja, Maduka lamented the worsening state of health care in the country, noting that Nigeria must develop its capacity to respond to future pandemics.
He said, “Health care in Nigeria is something we have to take very seriously. For that to happen, we need to go into research in terms of the tropical diseases and viral infections as we have seen with the COVID-19 so that in future if something like this happens, we will not be caught napping.
“It is about time we put our heads together and changed the direction of health care in the whole of Nigeria. That was why we put up a 17-storey building to be able to conduct research and training of health workers. It might not be a hospital for everybody but those diseases which need experts from all over the world to work there. We already built hospitals to take care of the local community.”