Monday, March 9, 2020 10:15 pm
By Jethro Ibileke
The federal government of Nigeria says it has released about N1 billion to combat the spread of the dreaded coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Monday during a media parley held at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Edo State, where he announced the second case of the disease in the country.
“The government of Nigeria has committed about N1 billion to this response and every amount that was requested by NCDC has been granted by the President [Buhari] with no delay at all.
“The money is available and is being used and utilised. We also have promises of donations from several of organizations, private sectors and we got a letter the other day that we can apply for the global fund that has been allocated to Nigeria for this response.
“It is my duty, therefore, to announce a new case if Coronavius disease (COVID-19), in Nigeria. The newly confirmed case is an Ogun state contact of the index case, but he has no significant clinical symptoms. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria today to two.
“As you know, 40 persons in Ogun and 20 in Lagos are under island and have remained free of any symptoms since.
“Nevertheless, the federal ministry of health, following best practice, decided to test these persons for possible presence of Coronavius in their system. On 8th of March, scientists confirmed the presence of Coronavius in one of the contacts,” Ehanire said.
He noted that the newly confirmed case in Nigeria “is not a new importation, but a contact of the index case,” and “does not have any clinical symptoms, is comfortable and in Carr of Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos.”
He disclosed further that the Italian engineer who was diagnosed of the disease on February 27, has since been in isolation and was under clinical follow-up and is diligently and conscientiously being treated in Lagos.
According to Ehanire, one of the important response strategies deployed at the containment stage has been to identify all contacts, ensure their strict isolation and to follow up daily with checks for any symptoms of the disease.
“All other contacts of the index case in Ogun and Lagos will remain in isolation and testing will be carried out on those not yet tested, including some in other states,” he stated.
The Minister also announced that “a team of researchers from various institutions in Nigeria, led my scientists of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NMR), Lagos, combined their efforts to successfully performed the genome sequencing of the coronavirus strain that the index case brought to Nigeria and proved it to be a match with the virus circulating in Italy and Wuhan.
“It is the first time the sequencing of this virus has been performed in Africa .
“The result has been shared with international authorities and the Director General of the World Health Organisation(WHO) has extended congratulations to Nigerian scientists for this achievement.”