Nigeria: Coronavirus - '58 Under Watch in Lagos, Ogun - Italian 70% Stable'

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.
3 March 2020

The health condition of the index case for COVID-19 in Nigeria is not a cause for concern as the 44-year-old Italian is said to be 70 per cent stable.

Minister of State for Health, Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora, who disclosed this to Vanguard yesterday, said he was not exhibiting any signs of complications.

"The index case is stable. That means the patient is not manifesting fresh symptoms, and is not getting worse. He is not having undue pains. His condition is not giving cause for concern.

"It is not a situation where his condition is deteriorating. His vital signs are within limit. He is doing well and is about 70 per cent stable. He is not exhibiting any sign of complications."

On contacts tracing, Mamora said: "It's a continuous process. The ones that have been tracked are under supervised isolation, that is, they are being monitored by health officials.

"Officials of Lagos are in touch with them to find out their state of health from time to time, whether they are exhibiting any symptoms or feeling uncomfortable and volunteer information on their state of health. That's what we mean by self-isolation.

"So far, there is no cause for alarm. That's why we appeal to the media to help us disseminate the right and accurate information so that we can dispel rumours and spread facts and not spread fear. That's what we need to do.

"We should not panic. The call to close down schools is an unnecessary overkill, totally unwarranted. That thought should be perished."

58 persons under watch in Lagos, Ogun - NCDC

Similarly, Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said yesterday that a total of 58 contacts of Nigeria's index case for COVID-19 have been identified and placed under watch in Lagos and Ogun states.

He noted that from the second national situation report on COVID-19, 19 of the contacts were identified in Lagos State, while 39, including five health workers, were identified and put under follow-up in Ogun state.

"As at 1st March, there is no new confirmed case in Nigeria. There were 156 passengers on the manifest of the flight that brought the index case to Nigeria. So far, 13 samples have been tested in Nigeria. Only one case is confirmed. State-level coordination mechanisms have been instituted in both states," the NCDC noted.

Ihekweazu, who said the centre was currently developing guidelines for schools and businesses on how to prepare for likely Coronavirus outbreak, said from the global trend of the outbreak, it has the capacity to disrupt business.

He said: "We are developing guidelines for schools and businesses for them to be able to continually carry out their activities. Since we have recorded index case in the country, the risk of re-introduction into Nigeria continues, so we have to continually strengthen our preparedness.

"Like we have seen across the world where this incident has been noticed, shows that it has the opportunity and potential to disrupt businesses, so we need to be prepared. A group of scientists is working on diagnostic, prevention, awareness and all aspects that can help in control and adapt guidelines."

Chinese in Plateau test negative -- FG

Also yesterday, four Chinese nationals suspected of contracting the COVID-19 disease have tested negative.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this while briefing reporters yesterday in Abuja, said no new confirmed case of COVID-19 has been recorded in the country since an index case was reported in Lagos last week.

According to Ehanire, 14 tests have been done on contact tracing of the index patient with all of them testing negative.

He said in addition to tracing contacts linked with the index patient, the Federal Government has also activated other response activities to contain the spread.

"Plateau State Government reported four suspected cases among Chinese nationals but they have tested negative. The state has placed them on 30 days supervision and we will continue to monitor global situation to prevent the spread of the virus.

"The Federal Ministry of Health is also working with the Lagos and Ogun state governments to carry out contact tracing and other response activities. Currently, the contact tracing of the index case has identified 19 contacts in Lagos, 39 contacts in Ogun, including the driver that picked him from the airport.

"We are in touch with these contacts who are under self-supervised isolation and the states have provided them with temperature monitoring tools."

Nigerians should worry about weak health system -- AMLSN

Reacting to the development yesterday, the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, said Nigerians should not only worry about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, but also the nation's failed health system.

Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Casmir Ifeanyi, the association said the weak health system in the country called for concern, adding that it was impacting on the capacity of the nation to cope with the situation at hand.

"Nigerians do not only need to worry about Coronavirus but should be worried about our failed health system. We should be concerned about the fact that when people go to the hospital from the primary health centres, they have no functional laboratory facilities.

"It is unacceptable that Ogun State did not have capacity to test for Coronavirus; they had to bring patients to Lagos for testing. That shows that we are treating issues of disease outbreak with kid-gloves."

Ifeanyi, who said the 2019 Global Health Security index score clearly showed that Nigeria's health system was comatose, said enough had not been done.

"People ask me: should Nigerians be worried? I say yes. The 2019 Global Health Security Index scored Nigeria 19.9 per cent. If we judge by this rating, it shows that Nigeria's health system is comatose.

"A health system that is rated 19.9 out of 100 cannot say it is ready for the protection of health service delivery to its citizens, let alone an outbreak that is shaking the entire globe to its roots."

According to Ifeanyi, majority of the PHCs do not have full time medical laboratory human resources.

"You go there, they pack drugs and give you with no form of testing and diagnosis. That is the state of our primary healthcare. If you go to state hospitals, the laboratories are in disarray, infrastructure is not provided, human resources are not trained and retrained or recruited in right numbers. These are issues Nigerians should worry about."

On Nigeria's preparedness for COVID-19, he said: "I think they are saying so with expectation that, since it is a global outbreak, there will be resources coming from international and development partners in that regard.

"One may say government has put forward N384 million towards preparation for this Coronavirus infection, but if you convert that amount to dollars, it's about one million dollars."

Sanwo-Olu summons 57 LGAs to emergency meeting

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to further step up awareness and disseminate information on Coronavirus, COVID-19, among residents, Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu yesterday met with 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Area, LCDAs, chairmen and various stakeholders in the state on the need to be pro-active on the deadly disease.

Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who addressed journalists after the meeting at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, said the purpose of the meeting was to disseminate pamphlets to the society to further create awareness on the virus.

He said over a hundred contacts of the index case of the Italian being treated for the virus had been established, adding that they were being monitored in the state's isolation medical facilities or their homes.

According to the commissioner, the state government is intensifying efforts to establish some of the Italian man's contacts, and that two people from Ogun State that were tested on Sunday were negative.

The commissioner stated that the government was being proactive to prevent spread of the virus in the state, adding that up-to-date information could be accessed from his personal social media platforms and the Health Ministry.

Abayomi, therefore, urged residents to desist from spreading fake news on the virus especially on any platform on the social media, advising health workers to be careful when treating patients with symptoms which included diarrhoea, cough, sneezing among others.

Abayomi urged residents to reduce the amount of body contact s and maintain high level of personal hygiene.

Coronavirus death toll more than 3,000 worldwide

Meanwhile, the global death toll has exceeded 3,000. South Korea said Monday it has confirmed 599 new cases, far higher than the daily tally reported in China.

With 4,335 confirmed infections and at least 22 deaths, South Korea has the second-largest national caseload. However, it has tested more than 100,000 people far more than have most nations.

Samsung, LG close factories

The spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) to an industrial complex in South Korea forced Samsung and LG Electronics to temporarily shut factories, with the impact on smartphone and component supplies unclear, The Korea Herald reported.

Samsung closed the assembly line at a handset factory where it said four employees had been diagnosed. The line is expected to restart operations next week, the newspaper said.

The facility, which produces handsets, including the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip, mostly for the domestic market, was closed for three days last week after an employee was found to be infected.

With both the Galaxy S20 and Z Flip scheduled to be available in stores on 6 March, the stoppage could cause shortages. But since the vast majority of Samsung's smartphones are produced in Vietnam, the outage is expected to have limited impact outside of Korea.

LG Innotek, a supplier of camera modules for Apple, suspended operations at one of its sites on 1 March after an employee tested positive for the virus, The Korea Herald wrote. A representative said the factory would be closed today (2 March) for disinfection.

The factories are located in Gumi industrial complex, which is near Daegu, where more than 70 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in the country were found.

SK Telecom and LS Group, a major electrical equipment maker, closed their headquarters in Seoul after employees were found to have the virus.

Analyst company IDC forecast global smartphone shipments in the first half of 2020 will decline 10.6 per cent compared with the same period in 2019, with a return to growth partly dependent on the virus being brought under control.


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