Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government has confirmed five new cases of the novel Coronavirus, bringing to eight the total of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire confirmed the development at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that, of the five new positive cases, three arrived from the United States, while two came in from the United Kingdom.
Related: COVID-19: 5 new cases confirmed
“We are collating information on the travellers. Two of the three from the US are Nigerians, a mother and child, making the six-week-old baby the youngest COVID-19 patient we have, and the 3rd is an American national, who crossed the land border and becomes the first COVID-19 case not arriving by air. The two cases from the UK are Nigerians.
“A detailed travel history of each person is being compiled and contacts currently being traced to identify persons who have recently been in contact with any of them.
“The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and supported by partners, is supporting response in the states. The Federal Ministry of Health is also conducting a risk assessment to help guide decision making,” the minister said.
He urged citizens not to panic, but to allow experts in public health to guide response in a calculated, scientific manner. False information and rumours intended to cause fear and panic must be avoided, he added. The COVID-19 cases so far appear to have mild symptoms and are in recovery.
Nigeria had its first case of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in February. Shortly thereafter, someone who had contact with the index case tested positive. The minister said last week that both index and contact cases have improved clinically and would be discharged within the week.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday took some decisions in response to the increasing spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The task force announced the prohibition of all travel by public servants, suspension of the visa on arrival policy till further notice, and placed a firm travel advisory against non-essential travel to high burden countries, especially in view of the number of Nigerians who arrived from the US and Europe and diagnosed in the past 48 hours with coronavirus infection.
It advised persons returning from overseas to self-isolate for observation for 14-days, even if they feel well. The task force also announced that the Federal Government will restrict entry into Nigeria of persons from the eight identified high burden countries with effect from Friday, March 20, for a period of 4 weeks.