The Nigerian Federal Government on Friday said that there is no new fresh case from 61 contacts of the index case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said at a media update on COVID-19 in Abuja that the 61 contacts had been monitored since the announcement of the first confirmed case.
The virus was brought into the country by an Italian who entered Nigeria on February 25 from Milan for a business visit.
The index case was confirmed on February 27, and presently being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos and is responding to treatment.
According to the Minister, 21 contacts of the index in Lagos and 40 contacts in Ogun State are being followed up.
“The contacts of the index case are currently under supervised self-isolation and the states have provided them with the temperature tools,” he said.
“Of the 148 passengers on the manifest of the index case flight, 55 are actively being followed up. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Port Health Services are in touch with them to monitor their temperatures and possible appearance of COVID-19 symptoms. We are tracing out others. I urge any passengers of the Turkish Airlines Flight to Lagos on February 24 listening to me to contact us on 080097000-10,’’ he said.
He assured Nigerians that the government was working to prevent the spread of the virus through the activities of the multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by NCDC.
The Minister told the journalists that they were five laboratories with capability for in-country testing for COVID-19.
Dr. Ehanire, however, advised citizens to discourage the spread of misinformation that causes fear and panic.
“We continue to monitor closely, the global situation, with cases spreading quickly in other countries; as at March 2020, a total of 93,090 confirmed cases reported, 88.4 per cent in China, 3,198 deaths. While the outbreak in Wuhan and more broadly in China is reducing, case numbers are increasing outside of China. Over 90 per cent of case reported in last 24 hours reported outside of China.
“We also continue to closely compare our infection prevention and control measures with what obtains in other countries and I can confirm that our standing in Nigeria is among the best. Number of countries affected within the last 24 hours increased by five (Argentina, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Ukraine) making total of 77 countries with seven of these Africa. Algeria, Egypt, Tunisa, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria,’’ he said.
In addition, the Minister advised Nigerians to remain calm and avoid panic at this time and also abstain from rumour mongering.
Dr. Ehanire noted that between January 7 and March 5, a total of 21 suspected cases have been identified across four states in Nigeria.
“The States are Lagos, Ogun, FCT and Kano, there is only confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, which is the index case and no death. There were three new suspected cases on March 4, two cases were negative; l repeat that there is only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Please, disregard all rumours of new cases in Nigeria. Verified news will come from the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Clement Peter, the Officer-in-Charge of World Health Organisation (WHO) commended the minister for holding frequent briefings to ensure that Nigerians are kept safe from COVID-19.
Mr. Peter said the frequently of holding the briefing would help to keep Nigerians informed, saying the “biggest enemy is now misinformation.
“We need to support the government because the government cannot do it alone. It is our responsibility because a case in the country is threat to everyone,’’ he said.
Mr. Peter, however, assured of the WHO’s support to Federal Government to contain the spread of the virus.