Lagos State Government has confirmed the first case of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria, in an Italian Businessman who arrived the country through Lagos on Wednesday February 25.
Commissioner for Health Professor Akin Abayomi broke the news early hours of Friday in a statement stating that the incident has been officially reported to the Federal Ministry of Health.
By this news, Nigeria becomes the first country in sub-Saharan Africa and the third after Egypt and Algeria to report the outbreak of the pandemic disease in Africa.
According to Abayomi, “The Italian citizen entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.
“He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.
“COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control”
Abayomi however said that the patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
The Commissioner in the statement assured Residents that since the coronavirus outbreak was reported in China, the State under the Governor as the COVID-19 Incident Commander, through the ministry has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos is controlled and contained quickly in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said the ministry since the case was confirmed has immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to the case and implement firm control measures.
“I wish to assure all Lagosians and Nigerians that we have been strengthening our preparedness since the first confirmation of coronavirus cases in China. We will use all the resources made available by the State and the Federal Government to respond to this case”, stated Abayomi.
He noted that the mechanism put in place has been immediately activated to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he arrived in Nigeria.
“Please, be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only a mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses”
He urged all residents in the state to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- People coughing persistently or sneezing should stay indoors or keep a social distance, but not mix with a crowd.
- Ensure that you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing. You can also sneeze or cough into your sleeve at the bent elbow.Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay indoors if you feel unwell with symptoms, such as fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call Lagos State Emergency hotlines 08023169485 or 08033565529 or 08052817243 which are available day and night.
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, the Social Media, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
The Commissioner appealed to Nigerians not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic.
He said the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Lagos
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been reported in 50 countries as at February 27th with China recording 78,630 cases including 2747 deaths. In 44 countries deaths have risen to 54 out of 3474 cases.