COVID-19: Is Kano’s Mega Isolation Centre operational?

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: 

On Sunday, May 23, 2020, a video made by an unidentified individual circulated on WhatsApp claiming that the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano had no Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Following a tour of the isolation centre located inside the Stadium, the individual in the video claimed that the construction of the facility had been abandoned. The claim is contrary to the claim by the Kano State Government that the facility was already in use.

He also said that citizens were being lied to by the state Government on the exact situation of the Coronavirus pandemic in Kano State.

According to the person, the data released by the Federal Government on the number of COVID-19 patients in the state is false as he claimed that there was no case of Coronavirus in Kano or Nigeria as a whole,

FACT: 

Checks by CDD fact-checkers show that the government has handed over the proposed isolation centre in question to the Dangote Foundation in the wake of the pandemic. The government tasked the Foundation to erect a 213-bed capacity space for the isolation of positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

Reacting to the claims, the Special Adviser on media to the Kano state government, Salihu Yakasai, said isolation centre has never been commissioned for use as claimed by the man in the video.

Yakasai confirmed that the Centre was one of the isolation facilities donated by CACOVID-19 yet to be ready for use.

He said the delay in the activation of the facility is; “because they had to change the design from a normal event marquee like the one they did in Lagos to add wood panels by the sides and floor to prevent the spread of Covid-19 like they figured out was what was happening in that of Lagos.” 

A statement from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on the matter confirmed that the isolation centre is still under construction.

The statement signed by Zouera Yousoufou, the Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, and sent to CDD fact-checkers said the video was produced in sheer mischief.

Yousoufou, who doubles as the administrator of CACOVID, said the coalition had launched its intervention in the fight against Coronavirus in Kano with the establishment of a two-tents facility as a 500-bed Isolation Center, situated at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata, in the metropolis. 

He said the coalition also provided all the needed equipment, including respirators, lab equipment, oxygen equipment, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other consumables for the facility that are presently warehoused in the Kano State Ministry of Health stores and other locations pending the completion of the construction work. 

“However, given the Infection Prevention and Control Protocols required, and with advice and guidance from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Kano State Ministry of Health, the Isolation Center in question had to be redesigned in order to effectively serve the purpose for which it was established,” Yousoufou said.

According to him, the Kano State Government advised that more centres be set up using some of the 500 beds initially procured for the Kofar Mata center.

The statement added that an ongoing redesign project at the Centre includes: introduction of donning and doffing areas at the entrance and exit points of each tent, a cleanable wall and suspended ceiling to create air-tightness, the introduction of insulation, ACs and air extractors in the wards to maintain temperature and keep a negative pressure in the wards.

Others are the introduction of patient toilets and showers away from staff areas in the red zone; a laboratory and PCR be able to test on-site all the patients; a dedicated testing area away from the staff areas (green) and the wards (red) in order to test potential cases; a laundry in order to treat all the wards contaminated linen on-site; a morgue among many others.

He also noted that the medical storage, food preparation, pharmacy, laundry, exercise areas, toilets, and showers are containerized units which only started arriving on site from Lagos on May 22, 2020.

According to him, the units arrived two weeks behind schedule, which is the major reason for the delay in the completion of the redesign project.

“The heavy and complex redesign has taken longer than we expected, given the challenges due to the various lockdowns and related slower pace of work. Our expected handover date of the Centre will duly be communicated,” he added.

Also, a review of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 dashboard shows that contrary to claim by the man in the video, as of Monday, May 25, 2020, there were 919 confirmed positive cases in Kano State.

The available NCDC data also shows that Kano is the second state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases after Lagos with 3595 cases.

CONCLUSION

The claim that the Kofar Mata Isolation Center located inside Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, is operational without COVID-19 patients is false.

The claim that there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state is also false.

The CDD urges the general public to desist from disseminating such disinformation and always verify reports from authorised sources.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter: @CDDWestAfrica.