The first reported case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria was confirmed late on Thursday in Lagos State by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports the identity of the patient as an Italian national who, according to the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, “works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February…”
The patient is said to be clinically stable and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos. The case was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LSUTH), part of the laboratory network of the NCDC, the Minister said in a press statement issued a little after midnight on Friday.
The COVID-19 disease has spread from its initial epicentre in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak was first reported in January, to other parts of the world, including Europe, the United States and other parts of Asia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has since raised concerns of the disease assuming pandemic proportions, with national health authorities taking active measures to monitor and contain its spread, including quarantining suspected victims.
“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 health minister said in the statement.
“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.”
He further advised Nigerians to take the following precautions, adding that the ministry “will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Nigeria.”
Precautions recommended by the Ministry of Health to forestall COVID-19 outbreak:
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 the 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.