Nigeria may be just a few steps away from containing the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) from further spread as the country’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire announced that the second suspected case has tested negative.
The minister’s announcement comes a day after the Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS) disclosed in a statement that the outbreak which had been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is possible.
NAS, in the statement by its President, Professor Mosto Onuoha stated that the quick diagnosis of the imported case in Nigeria, and the subsequent response by the government institutions responsible for dealing with such matters have been very commendable.
In pursuit of her mission to help solve national problems through the instrumentality of science, The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) wishes to state the following:
The academy stated with the strict control measures that have been instituted in China, the number of new cases outside China now exceeds those within that nation.
“Some countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka with imported cases of COVID-19, have not reported any new case, for. These tell us that it is possible to arrest the spread of the disease if the right steps are taken,” Onuoha stated.
According to the NAS president, the known measures already in place, like regular and proper washing of hands, screening at the ports of entry, quarantine/isolation, contact tracing, public enlightenment, use of personal protective equipment, and equipping and training of health workers are effective in containing the spread of the virus, adding that these should be strengthened in Nigeria.
While calling people to guard against panic, the NAS president stated that, “With outbreaks of new, or relatively unknown diseases, it is important to guard against the spread of rumours and scientifically unfounded stories, including those of cures and of preventive measures. Some of these include the claim that chloroquine is a drug of choice for treating COVID-19, and the use of alcoholic drinks to wash hands to prevent the infection.”
This warning comes as the academy said it going to investigate all claims of cures by local scientists, one of which is from Professor Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of Nigeria’s electoral body.
On what could work, Onuoha said, “Recommended effective measures are the regular washing of hands with soap and water; the use of sanitizers being only an alternative where this is not readily available.”
Other measures he recommended include keeping a safe distance from someone coughing or sneezing, saying face masks are more effectively used by the person who is sick and not the healthy.
“With the spread of the disease to 113 countries, it is imperative that screening at our ports of entry must be stringent and more comprehensive,” the academy stated, whuiile urging transparency, strengthening of evidence-informed containment measures, and the need to engage local experts in ensuring that Nigeria is spared the socio-economic disruption that an uncontrolled outbreak could unleash on our nation.
Details of the 14th national situation report on COVID-19 released by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed that no new confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria as at March 13, following confirmation of the first case of coronavirus disease in the country on 27th February 2020.
Cumulatively, Nigeria has recorded two confirmed cases of COVID-19. Apart from the index case, a total of 43 people have been screened for COVID-19 in seven 7 States of Edo, FCT, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Yobe out of which 42 tested negative and have been ruled out, while one, a contact of index case was confirmed positive with no death.
According to the health minister, the index case is clinically stable at the designated treatment facility for COVID-19 at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) Yaba, Lagos, while the second confirmed case who was a contact of the index case, has tested negative twice, just as he has been cleared of the virus and discharged to go home. All other contacts of the index case have completed their follow up period and have been allowed to rejoin their loved ones and resume their normal lives.
“The index case is clinically stable and is much improved. Stable progress until next week will guide the medical team in discharging him,” Nigeria’s health minister said.
Meanwhile the government of Nigeria has activated a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), at level 3 for continuous coordination of the national response activities.
As at 12th March 2020, a total of 125,048 confirmed cases were reported, 65% of which are in China and with 4,613 deaths. This is as the number of countries and territories affected within 24 hours increased by 4 countries including French Polynesia, Turkey, Honduras and Côte d’Ivoire, making a total of 118 countries.
As of 12th March, 12 of 54 countries in Africa have reported cases. These include Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia,
Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cote D’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, Ehanire said a group of four teachers from the United States, along with their two students are currently quarantined in Lagos State.
The new coronavirus was introduced to Nigeria on February 25, 2020, by an Italian engineer traveling from Milan (a European center of the virus outbreak) via Istanbul to Lagos on Turkish Airlines. After an overnight stay in a Lagos hotel, he proceeded to his place of employment, a cement factory in Ogun state. Federal and state authorities have moved quickly to quarantine him and to trace all of those with whom he had come into contact, including is 156 fellow airline passengers. Screening procedures were established at ports of entry, and the Federal government is moving to make testing for the disease free.