The Nigerian government has recognised the sudden loss of the senses of taste and smell as a valid symptom of COVID-19.
“If you feel you are having sudden loss of the senses of taste and smell, you should know it’s now a common symptom of COVID,” Chikwe Ihekweazu, the head of Nigeria’s Infectious Disease agency, NCDC, said during Thursday’s President Task Force Meeting on COVID-19 pandemic.
“These symptoms have been recognised globally as that of COVID-19; there are very few other diseases that would cause a sudden loss of smell and taste especially in normally otherwise healthy people,” the official noted.
This is coming several weeks after many Nigerians took to social media to complain of losing their senses of smell and taste especially during or after treating a fever.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported how the increasing complaints triggered a coronavirus scare among Nigerians especially because there was no official response from health authorities about the symptoms.
On Monday, the NCDC updated its case definition of common symptoms of COVID-19 to include “sudden loss of sense of smell and or taste”.
“A sudden loss of taste and smell with fever, headache or runny nose may be #COVID19. Please do not ignore these symptoms. Call your state hotline immediately to arrange for a test,” the NCDC twitted on its official handle.
During Thursday’s PTF meeting, the NCDC boss said the agency has been following the complaints about the strange symptoms trending on social media.
“Over the past few weeks, there have been a lot of discussions over the loss of smell and taste as symptoms of COVID-19.
“It is most likely this is linked with an increasing incidence of COVID-19 so we would expect that this should also lead to increased presentation at clinical facilities and increased testing.
“If you feel you are losing your sense of smell or taste, you should be presenting yourself for testing in the clinical facilities to determine whether or not you have COVID-19.
“I will also like to advise. Face shields are great but they should be used in addition to face masks and not in place of face masks. We are learning everyday, new technologies is emerging.”
Meanwhile, health experts have questioned the government’s ability to increase its testing capacity and also include those having these new symptoms.
On April 28, the Nigerian government announced its target of testing at least two million people within the next three months.
Almost halfway into the ambitious 90 days’ target, the country is yet to cover 10 per cent of the two million.
Nigeria still conducts only about 900 to 1,400 tests per day across 26 molecular laboratories in the country, a source confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES.
As of June 22, Nigeria has conducted a little over 115,760 tests of its estimated 200 million population and found more than 20, 000 infected persons. Out of these, over 7,000 have been treated and discharged and over 500 fatalities recorded.
APC’s Loss in Edo is Still a Mystery to Me – El-Rufai
Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said that he was optimistic up to three weeks ago that his party, the All Progressives Congress, would win the Edo State governorship election.
El-Rufai on Monday expressed shock at the election result because, according to him, opinion polls before the election indicated a win for the APC and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The governor, who spoke on Monday morning while featuring on Channels Television, said the election was “reasonably decent”.
He said, “We (APC) would have loved to win and quite frankly, I was optimistic up to three weeks ago; the polls indicated that we were going to win. I don’t know what happened in the last three weeks of the campaign.
“As you know, a large number of voters make up their minds in the last two weeks of the election. Many voters decide no matter what happens, this is how I am voting but most people want to wait and make up their minds in the last two weeks.
“Three weeks ago, the polls clearly showed that APC was going to win but the result came out differently from what we expected. Obaseki has won, that’s it. You can’t go into an election without the possibility of losing.
“The election was reasonably decent. We were all worried about violence but there was very little violence or none at all.”
Edo 2020: There’s No More APC, Okorocha Laments
A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Sunday congratulated the people of Edo State for fighting against alleged injustice in the just-concluded election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Okorocha, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, described the loss suffered by the party as a “revolution of the masses against injustice”.
He added that respect for the President Muhamamadu Buhari was all the party had left.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, ahead of his 58th birthday on Tuesday, Okorocha noted that “there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari”.
During the event, Okorocha’s in-law and 2019 former governorship candidate in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, blamed the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for the party’s defeat, saying “all he did was to try to muzzle people to accept a candidate they never wanted”.
“This is not what APC was built on, we expect things to be done the right way but the former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, believes that anything can come from anywhere without going through the due process,” he said.
Jubilant Edo Residents, Melaye Mock Oshiomhole As Obaseki Wins
Jubilant residents of Benin City on Sunday trooped out to celebrate the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party over the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the Saturday poll.
Some of the residents mocked a former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, who was the major promoter of Ize-Iyamu.
This was as a former member of the National Assembly from Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, also mocked Oshiomhole and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Obaseki polled a total number of 307,955 votes to emerge winner of the poll while Ize-Iyamu scored 223,619 votes.
Obaseki had contested on the platform of the APC in 2016 governorship election against Ize-Iyamu who was then the candidate of the PDP and Obaseki won.
However, Obaseki and Oshiomhole, who is also a former National Chairman of the APC, fell apart and the crisis cost Obaseki the APC governorship ticket. Ize-Iyamu, who had defected to the APC ahead of the APC governorship primary election, was given the ticket.
While celebrating Obaseki’s victory on Sunday, Melaye said Oshiomhole had been reduced.
“Fellow countrymen and women, I salute you once again. I am reaching you directly from Edo. What we used to have as Osho Baba has now been reduced, downgraded and degraded to Osho pikin. Nobody should call Osho Baba again, never! The only thing you now have is Osho pikin…..
“How can you expect that a man with the umbrella will not win during the rainy season? Definitely, the PDP won. APC, how market? Oshiomhole, how market?” Melaye said before bursting into a song to mock Oshiomhole and Tinubu, who had released a video ahead of the election, urging the people of Edo to reject Obaseki.
“The dollars brought in a bullion van to Edo have gone down the drain,” Melaye added.
Also, some of Obaseki’s supporters said Oshiomhole should relocate to Lagos to join Tinubu to help him cope with the shame of the defeat.
Obaseki’s supporters called Oshiomhole many unprintable names, saying he became too arrogant after the people of Edo State compensated him to win the 2007 governorship in the state.
While dancing and singing, some of the youths said, “He (Oshiomhole) should relocate to be living with his godfather in Lagos.”
A driver, who identified himself as Lucky Godwin, said, “Edo no be Lagos; we told Oshio and his father that they will be humiliated and that has happened.”
A Lady among the supporters, who identified herself simply as Rose, said “This victory is sweet; e dey pepper Oshioo.”