By Ahuraka Isah And Sunday Isuwa, Salifu Usman Abuja George Okojie And Odiri Uchenunu-Ibeh Lagos
Abuja (Precise Post) – First case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lagos by the state’s Ministry of Health and has also reported same to the Federal Ministry of Health.
The case, according to the ministry, which was confirmed yesterday, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January this.
The statement asserted that, ’’The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.
‘’He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos. The Government of Lagos State, under the Governor as the COVID-19 Incident Commander, through the Lagos State Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos is controlled and contained quickly in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“We have immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to this case and implement firm control measures. I wish to assure all Lagosians and Nigerians that we have been strengthening our preparedness since the first confirmation of cases in China.
‘’We will use all the resources made available by the State and the Federal Government to respond to this case. We are working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he arrived in Nigeria. Please, be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only a mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses.
“All Lagosians 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 you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
“3. People coughing persistently or sneezing should stay indoors or keep a social distance, but not mix with a crowd.
“4. Ensure that you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing. You can also sneeze or cough into your sleeve at the bent elbow.
‘”Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.5. Stay indoors if you feel unwell with symptoms, such as fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call Lagos State Emergency hotlines 08023169485 or 08033565529 or 08052817243 which are available day and night.
“6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, the Social Media, 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 statement added that Lagos State Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Lagos.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia yesterday suspended arrivals by foreigners for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourists from countries where the new coronavirus has spread.
However, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said that the temporary action was a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 and would therefore not stop its ongoing preparations for the 2020 pilgrimage.
The holy fasting month of Ramadan begins in late April, when visits by Muslim pilgrims accelerate for Umrah. More than 7.5 million people performed the minor pilgrimage – as opposed to the hajj – in the birthplace of Islam in 2019, according to official figures.
“It all depends on the duration of the ban. If it’s a long one, it can have more of an impact as Ramadan is two months away,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Gulf Research Centre.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe. Entry is also suspended for visits to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.
“Protecting the pilgrims and the sacred sites from the arrival of this disease is very important,” Health Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Abdelali said after government officials met to discuss preventative measures.
“Saudi Arabia feels a sense of responsibility, therefore, we took these temporary decisions which will constantly be reviewed,” he said.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have not reported any coronavirus cases, but the other four Gulf Arab states have.
In the hours after the announcement, there was confusion at airports abroad with flights to Saudi Arabia about who was eligible to travel. In Beirut, passengers without Saudi residency were barred from boarding.
UAE-based Emirates and Flydubai, citing Saudi directives, said they would no longer carry passengers with tourist visas from China, Japan, Italy, Iran, India, Pakistan and a number of other countries.
Qatar postponed the Doha Interfaith Dialogue Conference due on March 3-4, without giving a reason. (Leadership).