The novel COVID19 virus popularly called Coronavirus, has been discovered in an Italian who arrived the country on February 24, 2020, but the patient is said to be “clinically stable”, Nigeria’s Health Minister, Osaze Ehanire, disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja Friday morning.
According to the Health Minister, the disease was diagnosed in the man in a laboratory in Lagos and that he was being managed in a facility to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
“He actually landed here in the evening of February 24, but by the time he got to his residence it was 25. He was confirmed by the Virology Department of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, which is part of the network of laboratories of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable with symptom and is being managed at the Centre for Infectious Disease Control in Yaba Lagos”.
He assured that “the Government of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure that the outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained immediately”.
“The Coronavirus preparedness group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and it is working with the Lagos state Health Authorities to respond to this case”, he added.
According to Ehanire, government has put in place stringent measures to curb the outbreak. “We want to assure Nigerians that we have been beefing up our preparedness and capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China. We would use all measures and resources made available by the government to respond to this case. We have started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria and even those who were with him in the aircrafts. We have been in touch with the aircrafts owners”.
He used the opportunity to remind Nigerians that “most people who become infected with the illness can recover easily. But it can be more severe in other people, particularly those who are elderly and those with underlying chronic diseases”.
The Health Minister then gave precautionary measures to be adhered by Nigerians to prevent infection.
“All Nigerians should take care of their own health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and their families. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Secondly, maintain 1 and half meters distance and anyone who is coughing or sneezing should stay at home. They should not mix around the crowd. They should maintain social distance. Make sure you cover your mouth and nose with handkerchief or if you have none of this, sneeze or cough into the elbow or use the tissue when you sneeze and dispose of it immediately. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever cough or difficulty in breathing and catarrh. Call NCDC which is available day and night and the number is 0809 7000010. Please do not engage in prolong self-medication. Stay informed about COVID 19 through official channels like radio and TV, Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC or Federal Ministry of Health. Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation and false rumours that cause fear and panic”, he warned.
He concluded that, the “Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC would continue to provide updates on measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Nigeria”.