Lagos State Government on Monday called on Nigerians to be calm and not panic, assuring them that both the state and Federal Governments are well prepared to ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) did not spread and that no Nigerian is infected with the virus.
Addressing a joint Ministerial press briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Health on development concerning the disease, state Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, affirmed that there has only been one case of imported Ebola resulting in the death of a Liberian diplomat in Lagos.
He added that health authorities were being very proactive about the detection of the Ebola Virus in the Liberian who was on his way to Calabar for a conference by ensuring that all contacts are being actively followed.
Idris said part of the measures taken after the death of the Liberian was the demobilisation of the private hospital where he was admitted and elimination of primary source of infection, adding that the decontamination process in all affected areas has begun.
He added that the corpse of the victim has since been cremated, and that the ash was awaiting further directives from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria and commended the role of the management of the hospital and their ability to detect a high-risk patient within 24-hrs.
"Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10 per cent sodium hypochlorite and cremated, with the permission of the government of Liberia. A cremation urn has been prepared for dispatch to the family. The vehicle that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated," he added.
In terms of contacts tracing, Idris informed that so far a total of 59 contacts was registered consisting of 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 airport contacts comprising three ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol officers, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five airport passenger handlers.
He explained that out of the number, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50 per cent are of the type one contact and another 50 per cent had type two contacts, adding that the airline manifest has not been provided yet.
The passengers manifest has not been provided by the airline at the time of this report and therefore, the precise number of passenger contacts is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos). There was no report of a medical incident filed.
The commissioner added that an isolation ward was designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, for case management while the designation of three other health facilities is underway.
A total of 100 PPEs was procured by the NCDC/FMOH and distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of health. WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.
The commissioner also said a call-in team was established for the public to dial in and obtain information on the Ebola Virus Disease while Toll-free lines were obtained from a telecommunication service provider to be used for answering questions, creating awareness, and receiving notifications of any suspected case just as public awareness creation through social media such as Twitter and Facebook's accounts was also activated.
He stressed that in recognising of the importance of involving the community early in the response, traditional and religious leaders were alerted about the disease and requested to report promptly to health-care workers.
Special Adviser on Health to the Governor, Yewande Adeshina, also appealed to operators of traditional health care centres to be wary of patients with fever symptoms who show signs of extreme weakness and diarrhea and immediately alert health authorities about such patients.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori, who was also at the briefing said all the contact persons are being screened on a continuous basis to look for any possible signs of the disease.
He commended the timely action taken by the Lagos State Government and the private hospital, adding that there is absolutely no need for people to panic as the golden rule is to observe the personal hygiene of always washing the hands regularly with soap. Meanwhile, Liberia closed most of its borders on Monday in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola virus.
The authority decided to close the borders after a third doctor, who was working to contain the virus in West Africa, contracted the disease.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said only five entry points, including James Spriggs Payne Airport in Monrovia and Roberts International Airport - 50 kilometres further east, remained open.
"Preventive and testing centres will be established at the five entry points for all outgoing and incoming travellers," the President said.
Johnson -Sirleaf also announced restrictions on public gatherings and requested hotels, restaurants, entertainment centres and video clubs to show educational Ebola prevention videos.
According to the President, Liberia is planning to install facilities to wash hands in government facilities and public places across the country.
"Communities seriously affected by the Ebola outbreak will be quarantined," she stressed.
In Liberia, Kent Brantly, an American doctor working to stop the outbreak, was infected with Ebola and is being treated at an isolation centre.
Brantly became the third doctor in less than a week to fall ill with the virus.
A Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, died on Saturday at a clinic in Monrovia, while Sierra Leone's leading Ebola specialist, Sheikh Umar Khan, became ill last week.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said the current Ebola outbreak in three countries in West Africa - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - is the deadliest ever.
A report said as of July 20, the WHO says 1,093 cases have been confirmed while 660 people have died.
Ebola causes massive haemorrhages and has a fatality rate of 90 per cent, while it is transmitted through blood and other body fluids.