Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says COVID-19 patients who show no symptoms can be discharged 14 days after they tested positive for the disease.
Speaking at the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 media briefing on Thursday, he said the decision was taken in line with the new guidelines the agency issued for the management of COVID-19 patients.
According to him, asymptomatic patients do not necessarily need to wait for a test confirming them negative before they are discharged from isolation centres.
However, for patients showing symptoms, they may be discharged 10 days after showing symptoms and an additional three days without exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
“For symptomatic patients, they may now be discharged at least 10 days after symptoms onset and at least three days without symptoms,” he said.
“So, if you are symptomatic, you can be discharged if you had three days without symptoms in addition to at least 10 days of symptoms. Of course, if your symptoms last for longer, we will wait for longer while managing you supportively.
“If you are asymptomatic, you can be discharged 14 days after your first positive test. So, we no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge. You can be discharged 14 days after your first positive with confidence that you can go home. You’re not at risk; you’re not putting your family or friends or anyone else at risk if you’re asymptomatic.
“These have come out of science and we’re confident of its impact. Change is difficult because we’ve been saying you have to have a negative test. So even though we publish these results, many physicians are still hesitating to use, but we can assure them, assure everyone managing cases that 14 days after, in fact, 10 days is what the evidence says, but we’ve added 14 days to make it a neat two weeks for people to then implement for these patients that are asymptomatic.”
As of June 4, 2020, out of 11,516 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 35 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), a total of 3,535 patients have been discharged.