WHO Identifies Abuja Other States As High Risk, As Contact Tracing For Infected Patient Begins

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Following the Ministry of Health's confirmation of the Coronavirus, (Covid-19) case in Lagos, after an Italian national tested positive to the virus, the federal government declared it has already begun processes to identify all persons that came in contact with the patient, beginning from the aeroplane he flew in through to the hospital where he was tested, assuring Nigerians that it has all the necessary capacity to manage the situation to halt any possible spread of the deadly disease.

According to information, the infected patient had earlier visited the Ewekoro community in Ewekoro Local Government area of Ogun State, for a business transaction with a private manufacturing company.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, made this known on Friday, February 28, at a press conference. She, however, urged residents and visitors to the state to remain calm, as the facility he visited had been quarantined.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire had revealed that, despite the confirmed case, Nigeria will still follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and will not put restriction on international travel or begin quarantine, but will continue screening at Port health services, encourage self-isolation of suspected cases and question those with trave history to China.

Ehanire added that Nigeria will continue working with WHO, while training and capacity building will be ongoing to be abreast with the virus. The Minister, however, said the identity of the infected Italian patient will not be identified or his company without his prior permission. 

Technical Officer on Health Emergency Programme of WHO, Dhamari Naidoo, has identified Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Delta and Bayelsa States as top priority states for preparedness against the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria.

“Nigeria was self-assessed as high in a risk assessment by the World Health Organisation, primarily because of the frequent travel between China and Nigeria.” She said WHO, was working on strengthening surveillance at ports of entry and supporting temperature screening, and visual observation," she said.

Naidoo said airlines had also been informed about travel forms to enable monitoring of travellers coming in from China. She added that WHO had deployed a surge team composed of experts from the Africa region to support the work of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Federal Ministry of Health in planning and preparing the country against the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus outbreak has reached a "decisive point" and may be considered as a pandemic says WHO head, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.