Nigeria experiencing influx of imported COVID-19 – Minister

Nigeria experiencing influx of imported COVID-19 – Minister

Friday, March 20, 2020 5:59 pm

Abuja airport:

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has raised alarm that Nigeria is experiencing an influx of imported COVID-19 by travelers.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at a news conference on Friday in Abuja while announcing the reduction of arrivals from four to two international airports for effective monitoring and surveillance, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

He emphasised on self–isolation for minimum of 14 days for the travelers coming in to the country, even when they were feeling very well.

“Eight of the 12 cases are travelers from Italy, U.S., UK and France; three of the cases however, are contacts of the index.

“ One case confirmed yesterday does not have travelling history, may be the case must have met with foreign visitors.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is working closely with Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti to carry contact tracing of the confirmed cases.

“I emphasise that contact tracing is extremely important.”

Ehanire said for better control of new arrivals; international travels to Nigeria had temporarily been limited to the two international airports.

The two airports are Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

“Other airports shall be closed to international traffic but open to domestic traffic; this decision will be reviewed as the situation demands.

“Travelers from all countries shall be requested to self- isolate for 14 days following the guidelines provided to them; non-compliance put your families and country at risk,“ he said.

The minister, however, confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 in Lagos, bringing the total number of cases to 12.

“On March, 19, four additional cases of COVID 19 were confirmed in Lagos, this brings the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 12.

“Of the 12 confirmed cases, nine were reported in Lagos, two in Ogun state and one in Ekiti,’’ he said.

Ehanire said following the declaration of COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and increase in recorded cases, the Federal government had continued to improve on its detective measures.

“Our strategy is to detect and isolate new cases to interrupt and stop the spread of the virus.

“To this end, we have scaled up our response effort, and to reduce the spread, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has placed restriction on travelers from 14 high risk countries.

“The Federal Government will restrict entry into Nigeria of persons from listed high burden countries with effect from Friday March 20, for a period of four weeks,’’ he said.

Giving an update on the index case, the minister said the patient was stable and had improved greatly, saying; “the first negative test was recorded yesterday, we will discharge him if his next test is negative.

“Therefore as at March, 20, Nigeria has recorded 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19; one case has been discharged from the hospital, the other cases are mild and stable.

“Contact tracing is ongoing to trace those that have had contact with confirmed cases and it is estimated that they are about 1,300 and they are going to be traced,“he said.

Responding to questions on whether Nigeria will adopt the use of Chloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients as approved by the U.S, Ehanire said the country would consult and follow the advice from Nigerian experts.

He said the Federal Government would upgrade the existing five laboratories to boost testing of the virus in the country.

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