Nigeria: Coronavirus - Over 100 Quarantined, As Italian Recovers in Lagos - Commissioner

Images combined from a 3D medical animation, depicting the shape of coronavirus as well as the cross-sectional view. Image shows the major elements including the Spike S protein, HE protein, viral envelope, and helical RNA.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, on Monday said over 100 people, who have had one sort of contact or the other with the Italian national diagnosed with the new coronavirus infection, have been identified and quarantined.

According to him, there were 159 passengers on the aircraft with the Italian, six people came in contact with him at the hotel in Lagos, 35 people had contact with him at the factory in Ogun state, two drivers and an ambulance driver.

Professor Abayomi, who addressed newsmen shortly after the stakeholder's meeting on Coronavirus held at Lagos House, Ikeja, said the state is exercising extreme caution by finding where all his contacts are - from the airline to the hotel that he stayed up to the factory that he went to work in Ogun state.

"Most of the contacts have been identified except a few who had either gone back to Europe or gone back to other States or country or had given false information on their forms. We are still trying to find the remaining passengers in the aircraft.

"Our contact list is over 100 and it is increasing everyday. We are quarantining them to check them for 14 days.

"They are staying either in medical facilities or at home and we are calling them twice a day just to check that they are okay. If they develop symptoms, we will bring them to our facility in Lagos to run the test.

"We are doing this because we don't want to give the virus opportunity to spread from person to person, which will then be the beginning of an outbreak," he said.

The Heath Commissioner also disclosed that the Italian national who is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) is doing very well and responding to treatment.

"We are very satisfied with his condition and as soon as he has recovered, he will be released to go back to his country, Italy," he added.

The Professor further disclosed that the two suspicious cases sent by Ogun state to Lagos state on Sunday tested negative.

"We are very much on the look-out, our index of suspicion is very high; we have alerted all our facilities including private and public to be very cautious about anybody who presents fever, cold, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea or body pain.

"We have a very sophisticated laboratory in Yaba mainland hospital; we have a large number of beds dedicated to coronavirus; we have increased our capacity, so we are ready in Lagos," he assured.

He, however, said the essence of the stakeholder's meeting was to disseminate information as much as possible through pamphlets to the Local Governments, Community Development Associations (CDCs) down to the grassroots so that everyone can be aware of the typical features of coronavirus.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state revealed that two additional containment centres have been created with 80 bed spaces and medical equipment to manage cases.

Sanwo-Olu, who is the Chief Incident Commander for the counter measures against coronavirus outbreak in Lagos state, added that there are two mobile isolation wards of 15-bed capacity each stationed in the hospital.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke after his visit to the state-owned bio-security and containment facility at the IDH in Yaba, Lagos, said he was highly confident in the response approach initiated by the State's Incident Command Centre in the wake of the outbreak of the virus, expressing optimism that the nation would survive the epidemic and put it behind.

He re-assured Nigerians that the state remained committed to every effort geared towards preventing the human-to-human transmission of the virus, noting that the State and Federal Government healthcare officials had been working round the clock with infectious disease control professionals from the international agencies to ensure the counter-measures being deployed to contain the virus achieved the desired results.

While he frowned at misinformation trailing the COVID-19 case being managed at the IDH, he said that the public deserve to get accurate information about the management of the patient in isolation.

He therefore urged the media practitioners to approach the appropriate quarters for updates and developments on the case being managed.

Reacting to the report of scarcity of sanitary materials at pharmacy shops across the state, the Governor condemned the action, saying it was wicked for people to take advantage of emergency situation to hoard and jerk the prices of face masks and hand sanitizers.

"This should not be the means for anyone to enrich themselves. It is unfortunate that people are hoarding these important sanitary materials. We need to speak to ourselves.

"People are just abusing a rare opportunity, because the outbreak is not an event everybody wishes for. I think it is unacceptable for people to sell above the prices they used to sell before the outbreak," he said.

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