In the late hours of February 27th, just two days after a previous suspected case of the Coronavirus was cleared as negative, the Federal Ministry of Health announced that it has discovered a single, isolated case of the feared Coronavirus in Lagos state.
According to reports from the Federal Ministry of Health, the sufferer was an Italian who had returned to Nigeria from Milan on the 25th of February. Italy has been the epicenter of an outbreak of the Coronavirus in Europe as visitors to the historic Milan Fashion Week have been exposed to sufferers and spread the virus back to their home countries. The origins of this strain of the Coronavirus are unknown, but we do know it is a new strain of the common cold (also called a Coronavirus) and we do know that Wuhan in the Huabei province of China was the ground zero for the spread of the epidemic.
As far as we know, this Italian is an isolated case, even though he might have interacted with and infected others before he was quarantined on the 26th of February 2020. The federal government has encouraged Nigerians not to panic, and has set out guidelines for managing the spread through personal hygiene, avoiding physical contact with strangers and general better health practices, especially with handling food.
There is as yet, no real reason to panic, and the country has in the past proven effective in quarantining deadly diseases, even though at great cost in form of loss of life of medical health professionals. Here’s what the Federal Ministry of health had to say on prevention:
“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:
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 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.
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.