Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, and Steve Agbota
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), at the weekend, disclosed that 23 suspected cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified in Edo, Lagos, Ogun, FCT and Kano states, out of which one was confirmed positive “index case,” with no death.
Director-general of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated this on Sunday in Abuja, adding that, as at March 7, there was no new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country.
Ihekweazu said a total of 219 contacts were identified, including contacts from hotel, workplace and healthcare workers.
“No new contacts have been reported in Lagos and Ogun states,” he stressed.
He said the confirmed case was clinically stable at the designated treatment facility for COVID-19 at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) Yaba, Lagos.
Ihekweazu said 219 contacts were identified, including healthcare workers, adding “No new contacts have been reported in Lagos and Ogun states.”
The global situation, by March 6, 2020, was 98,192 confirmed cases.
The nine countries in Africa with reported cases are Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Togo.
Ihekweazu stated that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) activated at level three had continued to coordinate the national response activities, led by the NCDC.
He also explained that field investigations were ongoing and all contacts were undergoing daily symptom monitoring.
According to him, while the index patient was being managed at IDH, Lagos, passenger screening was ongoing at all international airports.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President’s personal assistant on photographs (Presidency), Mr. Sunday Aghaeze, who confirmed the development via pictorial reports, dsiclosed that the governor updated President Buhari on the index case of COVID-19 in the state.
An unnamed Italian, tested positive for the virus on arrival in Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on February 25.
Three persons suspected to be infected with the virus in Lagos were at the weekend confirmed negative.
In a related development, the International Chamber of Shipping has issued new guidelines for the global shipping industry to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus across seaports in the world.
Among a raft of measures highlighted in the document was advice on managing port entry restrictions; it offers practical protective measures gainst COVID-19 for seafarers, including an outbreak management plan.
The document also provides information around important topics such as port entry restrictions, pre-boarding screening, education and what to do in suspected cases of infection.
There is also straightforward advice on hygiene measures for seafarers on ships, managing high risk exposure, case handling, isolation and cleaning, disinfection and waste management.
The guidance also comes with posters that can be printed out and placed onboard ships as well as a sample pre-boarding passenger locator form and a WHO COVID-19 support and logistics supplies list.
According to the secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping, Guy Platten, “with no vaccine currently available to tackle the Coronavirus, all industries and governments must take appropriate steps to contain the spread.
“Shipping is responsible for 90 per cent of global trade and recognises its responsibility in helping tackle this global health issue while ensuring that the wheels of global trade continue to turn.”
He explained that the guidance document was the result of careful and considered collaboration with international partners.
Platten said: “It is intended to be comprehensive, but also easy to understand and implement, providing ship owners and operators who are dealing with the sharp end of the crisis with the reassurance and guidance needed to continue to carry out their operations.
“We are, however, conscious of the fluid nature of the situation, and will continue to work with international bodies to ensure our guidance is in line with the most up-to-date developments.”
The document has been designed to support all types of ships that operate in international waters with up-to-date and effective information to limit the spread of Coronavirus.