To deal with an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases, the Federal Capital Territory Administration on Monday unveiled a 500-bed capacity isolation and treatment centre at Idu district of the territory.
The FCT minister, Musa Bello, while commissioning the centre said the facility is by far the largest in Abuja. He said with an additional 500-bed capacity, the capital territory can now cater for at least a thousand victims of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
About a week after the gradual lifting of total lockdown in Abuja commenced, the Nigerian capital is still getting daily alerts of infections.
As of Tuesday morning, the FCT reported 359 confirmed cases, 53 recoveries and six deaths.
The minister said residents are still flouting established guidelines of social distancing, face covering while in public and physical hygiene, warning that the 1000-bed spaces available in the FCT will not be enough to contain the spike that might follow.
“The new facility means we have enough redundancy of bed space but if we do not continue with a lot of restrictions, a thousand bed space will not be enough when the infection rates hit the sky,” he said.
New Isolation Centre
The 500-bed capacity facility used to be an unoccupied railway school facility located at the Abuja-Kaduna railway terminal at Idu. It was however converted to an isolation centre by the FCT expert advisory committee on COVID-19 on March 24 under the chairmanship of Aliyu Umar.
A tour of the centres showed well-spaced treatments beds in the four-storey building. Some of the rooms contain three to five beds that are eight feet away from each other. Others has only two beds.
The green building also has well equipped recreation facilities, Intensive Care Units (ICU) and staff corners.
Aliyu Umar, the chairman of the committee, said the equipping of the facility was made possible through donations from companies located in Abuja, political figures and well-meaning residents.
He explained how the committee mobilised human and financial resources that transformed the railway facility into an isolation centre.
Mr Umar, a former minister of the FCT, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, donated and equipped 100 beds while 150 equipped beds were catered for by Julius Berger, a construction company.
He said 100 beds and accessories were provided by Polaris bank and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) assembled and fixed all toilet and cooling facilities.
The Abuja Electrical Distribution Company (AEDC) provided electrical fittings and wirings. HIS towers provided ventilators.
Mr Umar said he and Mohammed Jibril donated 258 flat screen television sets for the facility.
Other donations include emergency vehicles, salaries and allowances for staff and health workers.