Chi Chi Izundu |BBC News|
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed “deep concern” over “mysterious deaths” in the northern state of Kano.
President Buhari said he has sent a team to help with investigations and ordered the state into “total lockdown” for two weeks.
His comments came after grave diggers in the state said they had been burying a higher than normal number of bodies.
Officials say they don’t think it is related to the coronavirus outbreak. They say it could be complications from either hypertension, diabetes, meningitis or acute malaria.
Kano state has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country. Private health care centres which provide more than half of all healthcare in the state have closed.
“It’s not unconnected to the coronavirus pandemic. And it might likely be due to the shut down of private hospitals. Because there are a lot of hypertensive patients, diabetic patients, asthmatic patients, cancer patients, and they have not much access to the hospitals,the lockdown affects everybody,” said Nagoma Sadiq, a doctor at the Aminu Kano Hospital.
Testing for coronavirus in the state started two weeks ago, but was suspended briefly after the contamination of a laboratory.
Officials are hoping to have it up and running again this week after fumigation, and have a second testing centre operational from next week. But in the meantime samples are being sent to the capital, Abuja.