The Federal Government on Thursday declared that the much talked about "Madagascar COVID-19 herb syrup did not show any evidence that it had real curative properties against COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made the disclosure in Abuja at the 52nd Joint National Briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19.
According to him, the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), has shared its final report on the evaluation of the COVID Organics from Madagascar.
He said the initial report showed that its main ingredient is the same as Artemisia annua.
"While the preparation at high dose showed activity in reducing the frequency of cough, it did not show any evidence that it has real curative properties against COVID-19.
"However, we shall continue to support all genuine efforts toward finding local COVID-19 cures," Mr Ehanire said.
The minister also said the COVID-19 cases recorded daily over the past weeks now fluctuate within the 500 to 700 bracket, with 543 new cases in the past 24 hours.
"Accordingly, the nation's confirmed total number in Nigeria so far is 38,344, of which 15,815 were successfully treated and discharged.
"We have regrettably recorded 813 fatalities, mostly with co-morbidities and tested a total of 247,825 persons in all.
"We can rightly assume from the exponentially increasing numbers that the pool of potentially infectious persons in the community is rising.
"And with that, the risk of infection for citizens at all levels of society, since a very significant number of persons testing positive is not in observation or treatment," the minister said.
He, however, commended persons of influence in society, who tested positive for COVID-19 and came out publicly to declare it and entrust themselves to prescribed treatment.
He noted that those concerned did the nation a lot of good by showing that there was no shame and nothing to hide about COVID-19, and they also contributed immensely to building confidence in the health system.
While commending the nation's health care providers for their efforts, the minister said that in spite of this, the focus was still on prevention, being better and cheaper than cure.
Mr Ehanire said the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), now had 59 molecular diagnostic laboratories for COVID-19 tests activated.
He added that with a little improvement in logistics, lack of availability of testing capacity should not be a tenable excuse any more.
He also disclosed that all states of the federation, including the FCT , were receiving support from the COVID-19 response through the Regional Diseases Surveillance Enhancement (REDISSE), Project.
"With this support, all states of the federation will receive N100m to enhance high impact priority response activities. The soon-to-be-reactivated BHCPF will join the funding pool," Mr Ehanire said.
The minister said that July 21 was the reporting day of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19, when the leadership of the Ministry of Health's Agencies and Departments received the second report from the Chairman, Oyewale Tomori.
According to him, its findings are highly instructive and will be shared with agencies, the PTF and stakeholders.
Speaking on the Eid-el-Kabir Sallah celebration, Mr Ehanire urged Muslims and Nigerians not to forget the precautions that had been prescribed, so as to reduce the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
He said: "All over the world, mass gatherings have been linked with the mass infections and casualties in other countries, which we see in the media each day, and which we are trying to avoid, in order not to overwhelm the capacity of our health system.
"Since the risk of crowding cannot be ruled out in places of worship and pose a serious hazard for COVID-19 transmission, it is very wise that persons over 60 years, the obese and those in treatment for hypertension, diabetes, cancer, HIV, among others, or have had a transplant, should stay at home, pray at home.
"I also strongly advise that travel be avoided in this period, except for a critical reason."
Speaking on some of the seemingly confused symptoms of COVID-19, the minister said that although COVID-19 could present with symptoms like fever, similar to malaria, "it is not malaria".
"Symptoms like cough, sore throat, fever, loss of sense of taste or smell, difficulty in breathing, headache, and less commonly, diarrhoea, body pain, catarrh, shivering, fatigue, especially when several symptoms occur together, are suggestive of COVID-19.
" A test is required," the health minister advised.(NAN)