Saturday, 14 March 2020

44-Year-Old Italian Coronavirus Lagos Index Case May Be Released Next Week

The Federal Government has said that the 44-year-old Italian, who first tested positive for the coronavirus disease in Nigeria, is clinically stable. It added that the medical team in charge would determine his release early next week.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, while giving an update on the virus in Abuja on Friday, also said that despite the spread, there would be no ban on airlines or foreigners, adding that the ministry would continue to monitor all incoming travelers and those marked for secondary screening.

The first of the virus in Nigeria was confirmed in Lagos on February 27 when the Italian, who arrived in Nigeria on February 24 onboard a Turkish Airline, having transited through Istanbul, Turkey, tested positive for the virus, known as COVID-19.

The patient, who has since then been quarantined at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, had after spending his first night in a Lagos hotel visited Lafarge Africa Plc in Ewekoro, Ogun State, the following day where he developed fever and showed symptoms of the virus. He was then transferred to Lagos where he tested positive for the disease.

The second case of the virus, who was one of those who had contact with the Italian, was confirmed by the Health Minister on Monday.

As of the time of filing this report, the virus, which was first confirmed in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, has spread to 136 out of the 195 countries in the world. The number of cases had risen to 142,897, out of which 70,920 had recovered from the disease while 5,375 deaths had been recorded.

But speaking on Friday, the minister said, “Between January 7 and March 12, 2020, a total of 42 people who met our case definition have been screened for COVID-19 in Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers and Kano states, and the Federal Capital Territory. Forty tested negative and two were confirmed positive. These two are the index case and a contact with the index case. No death has been recorded.

“The index case is clinically stable and much improved. Steady progress till early next week will guide the medical team in discharging him. The second case is testing negative for the virus now, meaning he has cleared the virus and will be allowed to go home.”

The minister stressed that the second case no longer had the symptoms of the COVID 19 adding that he had not been sick while in isolation.

Ehanire also reiterated that despite the declaration by the World Health Organisation that coronavirus is now a pandemic, Nigeria would not ban any airline or any national from the critically affected countries from flying into Nigeria. It said it would rather maintain high degree of screening at all ports of entry.

He added, “The WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic but it is not a call for fear or panic. COVID-19 cases in China have continued to decline which is a sign that the virus can be controlled.

“The Ministry of Health continues to monitor all incoming travellers and select those that fit definition for secondary screening. Following the declaration by the WHO and the increasing spread, we have begun review of our own case definition. However, Nigeria has not placed a travel ban on any country passport or flight.”

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