By Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The third case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Lagos. The patient is unconnected with the index case, the Italia who came to Nigeria from Milan, Italy.
The latest case is a Nigerian national in her 30s, who returned from a short visit to the United Kingdom on March 13th.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made this known on Tuesday at a press briefing in Abuja on updates on Coronavirus.
According to him, “The stringent surveillance efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) have identified a new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within our borders, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to three.
“The latest case is a Nigerian national in her 30s, who returned from a short visit to the United Kingdom on March 13th.
“Fortunately, she decided, upon returning home, to go into a 14 day self-isolation, but subsequently developed symptoms of fever and cough on March 16th, at which point she voluntarily called the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) toll-free call line, to report her condition.
“Officials from the Lagos State Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) were immediately dispatched to her home to collect samples, which upon testing came out positive for the coronavirus.
“The lady is currently at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba, where she has remained clinically stable and is responding to treatment”.
He further added that: “Intensive contact tracing has begun, to help identify all persons who the patient has been in contact with since her return. We expect the number to be small, because of her sensible decision to go into self-isolation from the time of her arrival. We commend her for following the recommended guidelines to the letter.
“The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) will continue to assess the situation and adjust response accordingly. The inaugural meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus will hold later today.
“With regard to banning flights into Nigeria or social activities and festivals, I will provide an update after the deliberations of the Inter-Ministerial meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus, scheduled for later today, headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria will make further announcements later today. The Federal Ministry of Health continues to carry out the necessary risk assessments on a daily basis. The National Emergency Operations Centre and partners will work with Lagos State Health authorities in their response.
“It is important to note that many people who are infected with coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms and recover without incident. Of great concern are those with existing underlying medical conditions and senior citizens, who are known to be more vulnerable. We strongly advise these citizens to stay more at home”.
Concerning the index case, the Minister said he should be due already for discharge because as at yesterday, his viral load was almost zero.
Dr. Ehanire, therefore, advised Nigerians to continue to maintain hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, which has been repeatedly advised.
“All Nigerians are required to continue taking necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families. These measures include taking the following: Wash hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available.
“Maintain at least 2 metres distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
“Persons with a persistent cough or sneezing, should stay at home and maintain a distance in gatherings.
“Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, which means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing. If none is available, you can cough into your elbow or the sleeve of your dress. Dispose of the used tissue properly, into a dustbin.
“Stay more at home and avoid congregating, especially if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Call the NCDC toll free number 0800 9700 0010, which is available 24 hours a day, Monday to Sunday for guidance.
“Do not self-medicate. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through the official Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health and other State health department official channels on TV, radio and social media platforms
“I wish to strongly advise citizens against relying only on social media, as pranksters tend to abuse this medium for misinformation and disinformation that cause fear and panic,” he added.