By Bright Nwogu

Nigeria has confirmed its first case of deadly coronavirus (COVID 19) disease in the country.

By this, it now makes it the second case of the disease in Africa.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire who  disclosed this on Friday noted that the virus was detected on an Italian by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has however assured Nigerians that there is no cause of alarm  as the patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health 

Ehanire also assured that “we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case.”

“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,” said the statement.

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He further assured that the Nigerian government was strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak is controlled and contained quickly.

He said, “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.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case.

“We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses. All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below,” said the minister.

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The health minister urged members of the public to endeavour to “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 yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

“Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd.

“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.

“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

“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.

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“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.”

COVID-2019 is an infectious disease that first broke out in Wuhan China and has spread to over 25 countries.

The virus was said to be caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans.

As of February 23, 2020, coronavirus deaths had hit 2,442 in China with the total number of confirmed cases in the country pegged at 76,936.

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