As Nigeria confirmed first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State, the Federal Ministry of Health said it has already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he entered Nigeria.
The ministry also cautioned against the abuse of social media and spread of misinformation that causes fear and panic.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in a statement, said that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, adding that it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses.
The case which was confirmed on the 27th at February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.
According to the minister, “the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Logos, on 25th at February.
“He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the lnfectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Logos.”
Nigeria is now the third African country to confirm coronavirus, after Egypt and Algeria.
Recall that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified Nigeria and 12 others as high risk countries in Africa, and nine states, including Lagos as high risk states in Nigeria.
However, the ministry of health has reaffirmed that it has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly.
According to the minister, “the multi-sectorial 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 Logos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that 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.
“All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families.”
He therefore advised Nigerians to “Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Maintain at least 1.5 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 handkerchief or tissue or into your sleeve 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 970 40-0010. Do not engage in self-medication.
“Stay informed on the latest developments about COVlD-l9 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Logos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health,”