Nigeria: Coronavirus - Nigeria Not Ready for Voluntary Self-Quarantine - Tomori

27 February 2020

Renowned professor of virology, veterinarian and infectious disease researcher, Professor Oyewale Tomori, has faulted the practice of voluntary self-quarantine as part of the preventive measures for coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Passengers arriving in Nigeria from China and other countries where cases of coronavirus have been reported are requested to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days and to report any symptoms to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

But Tomori, who frowned at the instruction, said Nigeria was not ready for such

In an interview, Tomori told Vanguard that there wasn't enough discipline to compel the average Nigerian to be subjected to voluntary self-quarantine.

"It will be suicidal to call on us to do voluntary self- quarantine because we are totally and completely indisciplined as a nation. Majority of us - 99 out of 100 - are not disciplined enough to handle self-quarantine. Even when that one person is, his or her family members, neighbours, friends, etc will ensure that the quarantine is broken."

Recalling that Nigeria did not embrace self-quarantine during the 2014 Ebola Disease outbreak, Tomori said such is not yet attainable in the country.

"If we feel someone should be in quarantine, then it must be official and such a person must be kept strictly in quarantine. I am not asking for China style, but for Nigeria to forget self-quarantine, it is a joke and evidence that should the disease (COVID-19) come here we will be unable to bring it under control. So as long as the disease threatens to be a pandemic, we are not yet free, so forget self-quarantine.

"Any suspect case from any affected country should go straight to official quarantine for 14 days or until confirmed negative by the laboratory," Tomori noted.

Algeria confirms 1st case of COVID-19

The World Health Organisation, WHO, on Tuesday, confirmed the first COVID-19 infection in Algeria. The case, reported by the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria is the country's first case of COVID-19 and the second in Africa.

Health authorities report that tests indicate that an Italian adult, who arrived in the country on the 17th of February 2020 tested positive for coronavirus disease.

This follows Africa's first COVID-19 case which was reported earlier in Egypt.

Algeria is one of the 47 countries in the World Health Organization, WHO, African region.

"This is the first case in the WHO African region," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "The window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing. All countries must ramp up their preparedness activities."

Algeria, like Nigeria, is one of 13 countries WHO identified as a top priority for preparedness measures due to their direct links or a high volume of travel to China. The WHO has deployed experts to support Algerian health authorities.

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