Coronavirus: ‘More than 100 Nigerians met with Italian’

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No fewer than 100 people had contacts with the Italian who is Nigeria’s Corona virus (COVID-19) index case, the Lagos State government said on Sunday.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi, told Reuters: “It is around 100 people (that have been identified). He added that the number is increasing every minute.”

Dr. Abayomi explained that many of them have travelled to other parts of the country and some to Europe.

Another suspected case taken to Lagos from Ogun State on Sunday tested negative, Lagos State Governor Babajde Sanwo-Olu announced this last night when he spoke on a television programme.

He declared the facilities at the Isolation centre adequate after his visit.

Sanwo-Olu said: “I was taken around the facility. I saw the entire incident control centre. I was gladly surprised by the level of preparedness of our team. It shows that we have Nigerians that take their jobs seriously.

“Regarding the index case, I did not enter the ward. I was told he was responding to treatment and that he was getting a whole lot better.

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“They are monitoring him closely and everything is under control.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos has a standard testing laboratory.

“The facility is first-class. Both local and international reporters, over 60 of them, were there to see the state of the infrastructure, which is comparable to any other facility we have in the country.”

On reports that the index case complained about the state of the facility, the governor said: “Where the patient was first tested was like a holding bay. It was only when they test positive that they will put them in the main quarantine facilities.

“So, there was a holding bay before you now move into the main quarantine facilities. The patient is well taken care of.”

Sanwo-Olu said more medical personnel had been deployed to entry points, such as the Nigerian Ports Authority and Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

“We are going to have interaction with local government chairmen, members of community development associations, transports owners and workers, market men and women to educate them on symptoms to look for.

“We are going to meet with our brother governors and commissioners for health in the Southwest so as to compare notes, on efforts to control Corona virus,” the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu, in company with his deputy, Dr. Olatunji Hamzat, during his visit to the centre, said he was satisfied with the level of  commitment by professionals  at the centre.

He assured that his government would “continue to scale up advocacy with the various stakeholders” so that the public would be better informed on preventive measures.

The governor added that his government was in constant communication with “medical professionals, both national, international, regional as well as  security  agencies” to  contain the virus.

“We are hoping that all of these will get behind us very quickly since we have all the machinery to deal with it,” he  added.

Sanwo-Olu advised Lagosians to  take both personal and environmental hygiene very seriously.

The governor also lamented that some Nigerians were taking advantage of the Corona virus outbreak to hike  prices of preventive items like  face masks and sanitizers.

He said: “This is not the means to enrich yourselves, people are abusing a rare opportunity, this is not laughable and not what anybody wishes for, people hoarding things and selling 500 per cent above the normal price, we should ask ourselves what kind of people are we? We should be our brothers’ keepers.”

The index case was brought by the Italian who traveled into Nigeria from Milan, Italy on February 25 on a business trip. He visited Eweloro, Ogun State and fell ill.  He tested positive for the virus at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Idi Araba.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night urged Nigerians not to panic but take the precautionary measures as dictated by the Federal Ministry of health and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The Federal Government has extended screening at entry points to travelers from South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. The countries have high number of Corona virus cases.

On Sunday, the Plateau State Government said it had quarantined 43 persons, including four Chinese miners.

Although it said all the people tested negative to the virus, it deemed it necessary to isolate them for at least 14 days.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Larndam, said after the two weeks, those who showed no symptoms of the disease would be allowed to go.

He explained that the four Chinese miners were screened at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on their arrival from China but the government still  isolated them

Larndam said : “As we monitor those 43 we have isolated, at the end of the 14 days, if they did not show any symptom of Corona virus, we will allow them to enjoy their normal life.

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“We also have four Chinese miners who just returned from holidays in China, since they came from a  country that is heavily infected with the virus, they were suspected to have the virus. But the Chinese were screened in Addis Ababa, Euthiopia, they were also screened in Abuja airport, and in those screenings they were proved negative.

“Even though they were not positive, such people were supposed to be isolated for 14 days. So we isolated them between now and 11th of March

“It is not only the four Chinese that we had to isolate; all the people that had contacts with them   on their return to Wase will be identified and isolated too.

“But so far, there no reason to panic, the situation in Plateau is under control.”

In Makurdi, the Benue State Government has set up a treatment centre at the state university teaching hospital and an Emergency Response Committee   to   monitor, supervise and coordinate its  response to the disease.

The committee which is headed by the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Sunday Ongbabor has Dr Samuel Ngise as Secretary,

Governor Samuel Ortom, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, directed that surveillance on Corona virus be stepped up in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

Doctors have urged stakeholders and the general public to adhere strictly to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for preventing and containing the virus.

They called for massive awareness campaigns to educate the general public on actions that could lead to contraction of the disease and the possible preventive measures.

Also, the Nigeria Representative, WHO, Dr Clement Peter, urged the media to ensure dissemination of truthful and helpful information concerning the disease.

Peter said that there was need for creation of massive awareness campaigns, saying that a lot of people have not gotten the right information about the Corona virus disease.

According to him, at a time like this, there are bound to be lots of rumours and false information as already observed in the social media.

“People should be mindful of the information they circulate on the social media; False information that triggers panic should not be encouraged.

“The current medical emergency of Corona virus disease cannot be controlled by fear or panic.

“The media is a vital instrument at this time and it should not allow itself to be used to disseminate false information or information that may be adding ‘salt to the injury’.

“The WHO stipulated preventive measures are clear; everyone should uphold the hygienic practices of regular hand washing with soap and water.

“Both private and public health facilities should conform with expected universal precaution when attending to all clients.

“The general public should ensure that any individual that is sick with fever must promptly seek medical attention in recognised health facilities or report to the government,” Peter said.

The WHO Representative, therefore, urged the Federal Government to ensure the capacity to detect, treat, manage or even refer any case of the disease at any time.

Similarly, a Medical Imaging Scientist, Dr Livinus Abonyi, urged workers at all entry points of the country to be extra vigilant.

Abonyi, a lecturer in the Department of Medical Radiography, Faculty of Clinical Sciences at University of Lagos College of Medicine, urged the government to ensure that anybody entering into the country be quarantined and monitored for at least five days to be sure that he or she was certified free of the virus.

He said the quarantine mechanism should not be limited to people from the established Corona virus index countries but should cut across everyone coming into Nigeria; irrespective of his or her originating  country.

The  Medical Director, MercyWay Medical Centre, Ejigbo Lagos, Dr Omogbohun Patrick, called for grass root sensitization of the general public on the symptoms of   disease.

Patrick said that a lot of people particularly at the rural areas have not gotten adequate information about the symptoms or preventive measures of the disease.

Resident s of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) complained about scarcity of face masks and other items needed to protect against the spread of Corona virus.

A cross section of the residents, who spoke with Leakblast yesterday, also lamented the hike in prices by markers whom they believe hoard the items.

One of them, Mr. Joseph Abiodun, said he had checked for face masks to buy in supermarkets and pharmacies in the area but could not find any.

Abiodun said with an index case of Convid-19 recorded in Lagos, it was expected to that face masks and other protective materials be easily made available.

Zainab Abubakar, another resident, said she used her weekend searching for face masks to buy in order to get prepared for the week but couldn’t get any because it was not available in the markets.

Similarly, Mr Isaac Avoihi, a resident of Federal Housing in Lugbe,  complained of unavailability of face masks in his area.

Avoihi said he was ready to buy the face masks at any price because of its importance owing to the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria.


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