The national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, has said there is no scientific proof that the infection is sexually transmissible.
Mr Aliyu, while responding to questions at the PTF daily briefing on Wednesday, said although the world was still in the early days of the disease, no research had proven that it could be transmitted through sex.
”At the moment, there is no evidence of sexual transmission when it comes to COVID-19, but of course, we are still in the early days of the disease,” he said. “The same thing happened in the case of Ebola when subsequently it was proven that it was sexually transmissible.”
Mr Aliyu’s statement came days after the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said there is a high possibility of the virus being transmitted sexually.
”If a person is positive, the virus can be transmitted sexually,” Mr Ehanire had said.
Meanwhile, a scientist has claimed that the virus cannot be transmitted through sexual intercourse except via oral sex.
Jessica Justman, who spoke with The Guardian UK, said “they are not seeing patterns that indicate sexual transmission.”
She, however, advised that when a partner is a COVID-19 case, “it is better to steer clear of each other as much as possible.”
As of Wednesday morning, Nigeria had recorded 782 cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths. Majority of the confirmed cases are people who have come in contact with positive patients.
‘Too early to conclude’
Meanwhile, Mr Aliyu noted that the disease is still in its early stage hence too early to conclude if it can be transmitted through sex.
He cited tests carried out on some women who had tested positive for COVID-19, but whose genital secretions tested negative for the virus.
”There was a small test case series of ten women who had severe COVID-19 and genital secretions were negative of the virus.
”I think it’s still in the early days, I’ll just say, watch this space,” he said.
Mr Aliyu explained that the task force is experiencing some difficulties in the area of operational efficiency and testing sites.
He said the task force was already working on solving that through more collaboration with appropriate partners.
“Yes, we are looking at every possibility of expanding testing, but there are a lot of bottlenecks. Some of the bottlenecks are less to do with the laboratories, but more to do with the operations efficiency and also the availability of easy sampling sites,” he said. “For example, in Lagos, they have a lot of centres where people can go to get tested and we are looking at that model.”
”We also have the Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, is part of the task force now. We are working with him closely to see what we can do to expand testing,” he added.