The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said disclosing the status of those that have undergone the coronavirus tests and where they are kept is not part of the brief of the Presidential Taskforce Committee on COVID-19.
He was responding to a question on the whereabouts of the president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, at the daily press briefing of the committee.
Kyari had said in a statement on Sunday that he had been infected by the disease and that he would be seeking treatment in Lagos State but would not be using taxpayers’ funds to treat himself.
The health minister said Kyari’s location was not important, adding that the president’s chief of staff like any other Nigerian has a right to privacy.
Ehanire said: “I want to repeat that every person, including each of you here, has a right to privacy. Each of you has the right to tell anyone whether you have been screened or whether you have tested negative or positive and that right is also granted to those who are in public office or VIPs.
“Some VIPs have chosen to disclose by themselves; some have authorised that their own result can be announced and I announced mine; the SGF gave me the permission to announce his; the vice-president also gave us permission.
“For those who didn’t give us the permission, we don’t announce their results and we don’t tell you who is positive or negative and we don’t go into the fact of whether they are in treatment or not because it is not part of what the public needs to know.
“But let me tell you that all those who were screened and found positive, whether VIP or common man, are all in good care and in custody and are being properly taken care of.”
He admitted that some VIPs had refused to be screened at the airports before the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.
The minister, however, said since the appropriate authorities had been informed there had been cooperation from the VIPs.