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Coronavirus: Numbers of some passengers on plane with Italian patient unreachable

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The Federal government Monday said there have been few challenges in tracing the contacts of some of the passengers on board the same Turkish Airline flight which brought the Italian citizen confirmed with Coronavirus in Nigeria last weekend.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Abuja said that information available from the manifest of the airline showed that there were 156 passengers on board the aircraft but that phone numbers provided by some of the passengers did not work while some were switched off.

"19 persons are the ones we have identified so far," Ehanire said. "Contact tracing Is a specialised activity done by experts epidemiologist who knows exactly what questions to ask and how to track people down and they find both primary and secondary contacts.

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"We have identified 19 persons who are already under observation and 39 in Ogun state but we can't give you a fixed figure because it is a work in progress but the only one we know for sure is that the number of people in the aircraft was 156 and those ones are being tracked and talked to.

"There have been a few challenges in that some people gave telephone numbers that didn't work or said to be switched off, there are some of them who probably don't have telephone or are new arrivals in Nigeria and are not yet registered with a telephone service provider while some have left the country again because they are here for a day or two but the manifest gives you a document to start with.

"The owner of the aircraft has been notified, the Embassy has been notified and the Embassy of the index case is being notified and the World Health Organization has been notified because international health regulations require that if you find something like that, you inform the WHO so we are in a clean slate."

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The minister explained that the name of the Italian patient has not been released to the public because "the convention in medicine requires that you don't disclose the name of a patient to the public except with the persons permission and I am not sure if he has been asked but there is no need since it is not a matter of public knowledge. You do not give out a patient’s name without his permission. If someone has a problem, you can talk about the problem and not his name".

The minister noted that though he did not see the taxi driver that drove the index patient the taxi driver has been identified and is under observation and would be monitored for the next 14 days

He said the airline that brought in the patient has been notified and had been asked to place their crew on observation.

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