CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: NIGERIA'S MINISTER OF HEALTH CONFIRMS SECOND CASE OF COVID-19 IN THE COUNTRY

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH

OFFICE OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER
09th Mar., 2020

UPDATE ON COVID-19 IN NIGERIA

Two new developments have taken place since the last briefing in Abuja on the coronavirus situation in Nigeria.

The first is that a team of researchers from various institutions in Nigeria, led by top scientists of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Lagos, combined their efforts to successfully perform the genome sequencing of the coronavirus strain that the index case brought to Nigeria and proved it to be a match with the virus circulating in Italy and Wuhan. It is the first time the sequencing of this virus has been performed in Africa. The result has been shared with International Authorities and the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has extended congratulations to Nigerian scientists for this achievement.

The other development is that contact tracing and monitoring in respect of the coronavirus index case presently receiving treatment in Lagos, has been diligently and conscientiously pursued since the 27th of February when the case was first diagnosed. As you know, 40 persons in Ogun and 20 in Lagos are under isolation and have remained free of any symptoms since. Nevertheless, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), following best practice, decided to test these persons for possible presence of coronavirus in their systems. On the 8th of March, scientists confirmed the presence of coronavirus in one of the contacts.

It is my duty therefore to announce a new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria. The newly confirmed case is an Ogun State contact of the index case, but he has no significant clinical symptoms. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria today to 2 (two).


Since beginning of the outbreak in China and subsequent spread to other countries, one of the important response strategies at the containment stage has been to identify all contacts, ensure their strict isolation and to follow up daily with checks for any symptoms of the disease. Following recent experience from other countries and evidence from newly published studies on non-symptomatic infections, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), advised that samples should be taken from all contacts of the index case for testing. It is in this process that these two cases were detected.

I repeat that the newly confirmed case in Nigeria is not a new importation, but a contact of the index case, who has since been in isolation and was under clinical follow up. He presently does not have any clinical symptoms, is comfortable and in care at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos.

Recent studies in China have shown that increased surveillance, self-isolation and in particular, contact tracing, do reduce risk of spread, because further opportunities for transmission of the virus by the infected patient in the community are limited.

All other contacts of the index case in Ogun and Lagos will remain in isolation and testing will be carried out on those not yet tested, including some in other states. The Federal Ministry of Heath, and Lagos and Ogun State Ministries of Health, assure citizens of our commitment to do all needed to control spread of this outbreak. Since the first case was confirmed in Nigeria on the 27th of February 2020, the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Abuja, continues to work closely with Lagos and Ogun State EOCs to coordinate response activities.

I again strongly advise against spreading misinformation to cause fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC will continue to provide prompt and reliable updates and initiate oil measures required to protect our people.

A globally emerging lesson here is that some people who contracted COVlD-19 appear to experience zero symptoms or only mild illness and will recover; however, other patients develop more severe symptoms, especially if they have other underlying illnesses, or are weakened by old age. I urge Nigerians to take care of their health and protect others by
continuing to do the following:

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, if not possible use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Maintain at least 2 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing repeatedly
  • Be sure you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning, to cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief if coughing or sneezing and disposing of used tissue immediately. Alternatively, use your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze, and no tissue is available
  • Not to mingle with people or to congregate, but instead stay at home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough, sneezing, difficulty in breathing


Please call NCDC toll-free number which is available 24/7 for guidance: 0800 9700 0010.

Do not engage in lengthy self-medication.

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels including Lagos State Ministry of Health. Ogun State Ministry of Health. Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Federal Ministry of Health.

Signed:

Dr. E. Osagie Ehanire MD, FWACS
Honourable Minister of Health

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