Coronavirus disease which originally broke out in Wuhan China and already claimed the lives of more than 2,800 individuals (and still counting) and infected over 83,000 individuals worldwide have been reported in Nigeria yesterday by the Federal Ministry of Health has it confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State.
The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.
Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa — in Egypt and in Algeria — a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent’s close economic ties with China.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that African health systems were ill-equipped to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak should cases start to proliferate on the continent.
The Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire stated; The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
He further said; The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case.
We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses. All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below:
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through;
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, facial contamination
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in-crowd.
- Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
The Federal Ministry of Health encourages Nigerians not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of an outbreak in Nigeria.
Stay safe and maintain good hygiene.