The Federal Government traced no fewer than 100 contacts of the first reported Coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the country, Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, said.
He disclosed this at News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja that the ministry is also working toward tracing other contacts of the coronavirus index patient to prevent spread of the virus.
NAN reports that the virus was brought into the country by an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on Feb. 25 from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.
The minister said “yes, the contact tracing is going on well, it started from the manifest of the airline that came with the Italian, and I think about 157 or thereabout were on that flight.
“We got the manifest and 54 on the manifest have been traced, then moving from there to the hotel where the man (Italian) went, I think we have about six identified as contacts with him, then to the company he went to in Abeokuta.
“We have about 30 to 35 identified contacts that are being followed up; then there are other members of staff like the ambulance and taxi driver; all in all, about 100 contacts have been established.
“It is also important to say that some of these contacts either those in the airline that arrived the country with the index case have left the country but the fact still remains that there was documentation.
“I am aware that WHO has been contacted so that those contacts that left can be traced to wherever they left to, so they have been notified and will get in touch with these contacts no matter the country that these people have gone to,’’ he said.
Mamora assured that the ministry would continue to monitor identified contacts in Lagos and Ogun.
He explained that the identified contacts have been placed on supervised self-isolation by asking them to stay at home and monitor themselves.
” It is supervised because we are also reaching out to them through health officials in the states, we make calls to them and visit them to make sure they do not go out to do business.
“We also told them that if they develop fever, headache, lethargy, body aches, sneezing or cough; they should reach the numbers given to them.”
On the suspected cases reported in Plateau, the minister said they tested negative; adding that every state was supposed to have emergency operation centres.
He said “we have centres in all the states and a national centre activated at the highest level because it is the coordinating body.
“So, we monitor and we collaborate, we share information and then we follow up on whatever we need to follow up on.”
The minister noted that it is in the interest of the contacts to stay away, self-isolate from the public and loved ones, saying “it is important not to just protect yourself but to protect members of the public and your family because they are the first contact.”
In addition, he told NAN that the ministry had also been engaging private hospitals as part of efforts to build the capacity of health workers to manage COVID-19.
He said “the engagement we are doing is not just with government hospitals, we are also engaging private hospitals because they are also part of the system.
“They also have sizable number of patients they attend to, so we are working with them, it is a collaborative effort.”