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The Italian confirmed to have been infected with coronavirus, had earlier visited Ewekoro community in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State for a business transaction with a private manufacturing company.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker, made this known on Friday at a press conference. She, however, said residents and visitors to the state need not entertain any fear, as the facility the Italian visited had been quarantined.
She said further that epidemiologists and infectious disease consultants are already handling the situation in collaboration with the Lagos State Government and federal government. According to her, efforts are in top gear to get in touch with the established index case.
The commissioner advised the public on the need to always wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, and endeavor to report to the nearest public health institutions at the notice of any sign of cold, cough and respiratory difficulty.
Government releases money
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary, ministry of health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said the government, in preparation for surveillance and response to an eventual outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, has released N386 million to two health agencies.
The fund, released to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Port Health Services, is to strengthen Nigeria’s preparedness to combat Covid-19.
He said the fund was part of the N620 million budgeted by the government to curtail Covid-19 from entering into the country.
The virus, which originated from China in December, has spread to about 30 countries across the world.
Africa in the past 14 weeks of the outbreak has been largely spared, “but the window seems to be closing”, officials said.
The World Health Organisation, in preparation for an eventual importation of disease, had listed 13 African countries (Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Sudan, Angola,Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Tunisia) as having the highest ‘importation risk’.
These countries have been WHO’s top priority for preparedness measures due to their direct links or high volume of travel to China.
The respiratory disease, which has killed over 2000 people, is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects.
Symptoms of the disease can include a sore throat, runny nose, fever or pneumonia and can progress to multiple organ failure or death, in some severe cases.
Senate committee wants FG to set up ‘war room’
Following the discovery of a case of the fast-spreading (COVID-19) Coronavirus disease, in Nigeria, the Senate health committee has asked the Federal Ministry of Health to set up a ‘Health War Room’.
The news of the first recorded case of the virus was made known early on Friday, following confirmation from the Lagos State Government.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that an Italian national, who came into the country on Tuesday on a business trip, had tested positive at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, and was taken to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba.
This discovery comes barely 48 hours after Algeria confirmed a case of Covid-19. A case has been confirmed in Egypt earlier this month.
Chukwuka Utazi, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Health, also urged Nigerians not to panic but be conscious and observe all the safety and precautionary measures issued by the Ministry of Health in order to avoid contracting the ailment.
“I enjoin citizens to be confident of the Federal Government’s capacity and readiness to contain any spread of the disease through the Ministry of Health’s National Centre for Disease Control.
“On the same breath, I implore Federal Ministry of Health, as a matter of urgency, to put up a ‘Health War Room’ with trained health personnel that will coordinate and man all the entry points into the country, with a view to screening on board, all passengers even before permitting them to disembark from any of their chosen means of transportation. In addition, isolation and quarantine facilities must of necessity, be in place in case of emergency,” he said.
Prior to the discovery, the health minister asked Nigerians to remain calm as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is coordinating surveillance activities in the country.
He advised all airlines to report any case of a passenger falling sick on-board before the plane lands.