The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said a negative test is no longer required to discharge a confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patient from an isolation centre.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, who disclosed this at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, said it is one on the new changes in the guidelines of clinical management of COVID-19 in the country.
The current protocol is that a COVID-19 patient is discharged after one negative test, which replaced the initial protocol of a patient having two negative tests before being discharged.
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Ihekweazu said the revision of the guidelines in the discharge of COVID-19 patients was prompted by data from Singapore, which shows that ”viral RNA detected beyond 10 days is no longer infectious as no viable virus is grown by viral culture”.
According to the new guidelines published on the NCDC website, asymptomatic patients will now be discharged 14 days after the initial positive result (date of collection of sample).
On the other hand, symptomatic patients can only be discharged 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least three days without symptoms such as fever and respiratory symptoms.
Ihekweazu also stated that physicians managing cases at isolation centres have been told not to administer on COVID-19 patients drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and anti-virals, including remdesivir and lopinavir/ritonavir, as well as plasma therapy.
He, however, stated that the clinical trial of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the country will continue.