Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Africa’s most populous country.
The country’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the case involved an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and just returned from Milan, Italy, on the 25th of February 2020.
This was confirmed in a statement issued in the early hours of Friday, February 28, 2020.
The Italian was confirmed positive by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
But the patient, the ministry of health said, was clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State, Nigeria. 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,” the statement from the ministry read.
“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.
“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.”
The statement noted what the public should do to avoid the virus.
1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
2. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in-crowd.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
He also said that “citizens must not 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 any outbreak in Nigeria.”
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