Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said the Italian businessman who became Nigeria’s first index case of Coronavirus, COVID-19, after testing positive to the disease in Lagos, is clinically stable but showing mild symptoms.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC’s Director-General, stated this in the Centre’s fourth public health advisory on COVID-19 which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Health, FMoH, last week announced the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria following laboratory confirmation that the Italian who flew into Lagos had been infected.
However, Ihekweazu noted that prior to the laboratory confirmation, the patient had travelled to Ogun State for a business meeting.
“The index case is clinically stable with mild symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” he explained.
That notwithstanding, he said NCDC’s national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated at the highest level and was leading the national response.
“Currently, there are four laboratories in NCDC’s molecular laboratory network, with the capacity to test for COVID-19 in Nigeria. These laboratories are sufficiently equipped with reagents and supplies for testing.
“NCDC is in contact with all states to increase the index of suspicion to ensure cases are detected early,” Ihekweazu said.
While stressing that surveillance for returning travelers with travel history to countries with ongoing transmission of COVID-19 had been strengthened at points of entry in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and FCT, Ihekweazu said the World Health Organisation has not recommended any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
He added, “An intensive communications campaign has begun to provide regular updates and accurate information to Nigerians on protecting themselves.
“In Nigeria, the Port Health Services of the FMoH has heightened screening measures at points of entry.
“This also includes temperature checks and provision of accurate information on preventive measures at airports.
“In addition to automated temperature screening at points of entry, travelers are given a contact form to fill and asked questions upon arrival about symptoms of illness and travel history.
“Travelers without symptoms on departure but become unwell in transit are advised to self-report to the Port Health Services on arrival.
“Travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission, but who show no symptoms on arrival should self-isolate at home for 14 days after arrival.
“If travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission feel ill with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, please: Observe self-isolation immediately by staying indoors and avoiding contact with people and call the NCDC 24/7 toll-free line IMMEDIATELY on 080097000010.”
The NCDC DG also advised travelers to China and other countries with local transmission to postpone all non-essential foreign trips until the outbreak is contained.
“Travelers from Nigeria to China and other affected countries are advised to avoid contact with sick people,” he stressed.
Ihekweazu also urged health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19, advising them to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if they have a case that fits the national case definition.
He also called on Nigerians to avoid self-medication.
For schools and busineses, Ihekweazu said that the current situation in the country does not warrant a shutdown of daily activities.
“If there was sustained community transmission in Nigeria, various additional measures may be instituted.
“For now; schools are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all staff, students and parents.
“Businesses are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all employees, clients and visitors.
“Encourage sick employees and students to stay at home if they are unwell. Ensure routine cleaning of high contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones, etc.
“Provide facilities and emphasise the importance of hand washing,” the public advisory read.