Nigeria starts tracing contacts of first coronavirus patient

Friday February 28 2020

A security guard gives visitors hand sanitiser at a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28, 2020.

A security guard gives visitors hand sanitiser at a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28, 2020. Lagos residents scrambled for hygiene products after the country confirmed the first case of Covid-19 coronavirus. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP 

MOHAMMED MOMOH
By MOHAMMED MOMOH
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Abuja,

Nigerian authorities said Friday they had started tracking down people who came into contact with the first confirmed case of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Authorities plan to monitor their health to prevent spread of the disease.

Federal Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said more measures have been put in place to prevent an outbreak.

Mr Ehanire said that an Italian citizen, who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan on Tuesday, tested positive for the virus.

“I am assuring Nigerians that all measures have been taken to contain and control the spread of the virus. It happened in Lagos, the state Commissioner was the first we were in touch with.

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“I know the capability of Lagos State; the state has a lot of experience on Ebola so they will be able to handle the case. Also, we have sent a team from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to support the state,” he said.

The minister said the Federal Government has released $2 million to NCDC for contain the virus.

“The government will follow the WHO guideline of screening at the airport, isolation and questioning those with a travel history to countries with outbreak,” Mr Ehanire said.

Meanwhile, Dr Solomon Chollom, a virologist and medical laboratory scientist with the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State, has urged the Federal Government to quickly identify and quarantine other people who had contact with the Italian.

He suggested they be quarantined for 21 days.

Dr Chollom called for preparedness to deal with a viral outbreak and vigilance in public places including schools, places of worship, markets and motor parks.

He also urged citizens to “limit handshakes and undue contact with surfaces and individuals.”

“People should be informed to cough into tissue papers and disposed into alcohol-based solutions,” Dr Chollom said.