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Coronavirus can be sexually transmitted, says health minister

Ebunoluwa Olafusi

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says he believes that coronavirus can be transmitted sexually.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Ehanire said the country now has 51 cases of the COVID-19 disease.

“If a person is positive, the virus can be transmitted sexually,” he claimed, rather controversially.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a lot is still unknown about the virus but currently maintains that it is transmitted through droplets from an infected person.

The virus’ known routes of transmission are the mouth, nose and eyes.

Health experts have said there is no evidence to show that the virus can be transmitted via vaginal or anal intercourse but that it can be transmitted through kissing an infected person.

Ehanire said the ministry was grading the coronavirus cases that were presented before it to avoid its facilities being overcrowded.

He said the confirmed cases were in four categories and that about 80 percent who tested positive do not display the symptoms.

He said severe cases that require oxygen support and ventilators will be taken to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, assuring that all cases would be well taken care of.

“We are grading our cases very carefully, that’s why we don’t have overcrowding yet, depending on the severity of the case; otherwise, one isolation centre will be filled up if we mix all the cases together,” he said.

“We have four categories as regards coronavirus response and treatment. It has been established that, in most cases, 80 percent of people who tested positive to the virus don’t display symptoms.

“However, the four categories are; no symptom category, mild symptoms category, moderate symptom category and severe symptoms category, which most times, require oxygen or ventilator for treatment of such patient. But so far, we have not had any such cases in Nigeria.

“It’s patients that are on severe symptoms category that are referred to isolation centre at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, Abuja or elsewhere in the country.

“We have graded the cases and that was why UATH or other isolation centres are not crowded. Other categories are kept at facilities where they are given adequate treatment.”

On reports about the presidential aide that tested positive to the virus, he replied: “He is receiving treatment at a secured government facility somewhere in Nigeria. He is not in any of the known isolation centres because he is not in the fourth category.”

He also said the government may introduce more measures towards curbing the spread of the virus if the need arises.

He called on Nigerians to report cases of people who just got back to the country from high index countries and urged them to also practise social distancing.

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