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Enugu case still undergoing medical test, minister declares

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- Children, Africans may have special protection against COVID-19

Contrary to reports that a woman in Enugu who just returned from the United States (U.S.) has tested positive to coronavirus, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said, “The Enugu case is not confirmed but still undergoing medical tests.”

However, the Enugu State Ministry of Health has quarantined a 70-year old woman suspected to be infected with the coronavirus. She was said to have travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) five months ago to see her children.

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She came into the country on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 with fever, cough and mild respiratory distress and was flow from Lagos to Owerri Airport in Imo State where she was moved to Enugu and isolated at the Colliery Hospital, where doctors collected oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal swab and sputum samples.

Ehanire said there was no new confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria as at Saturday, March 14, 2020.

“Cumulatively, Nigeria has recorded two confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no death and apart from the index case, 48 people including five new suspected cases have been screened for COVID-19 in Edo, Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Yobe states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of which 46 tested negative and have been ruled out, while the result is being awaited for one case,” he said

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Meanwhile, there are indications that children and people from Africa may have special protection against coronavirus. While a recent study has backed up claims that the virus was less severe in children and less likely to kill them compared to adults, there was yet any scientific evidence supporting the latter notion.

The debate was fuelled by the fact that the first Nigerian patient was cured of the virus in less than five days compared to the Italian index case still battling with the disease 17 days after.

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The Guardian recalled that the index case in Nigeria, a 44-year-old Italian that tested positive to the virus on February 27, 2020, was yet to be cured, while the second confirmed case, a 40-year-old Nigeria tested positive on March 8, 2020, but was discharged on March 13.

Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “The index case is clinically stable at the designated treatment facility for COVID-19, the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) Yaba, Lagos. An additional sample has been collected for retesting.

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“The second confirmed case, who was in contact with the index case, has tested negative twice, has cleared the virus and was discharged on March 13, 2020.

“All other contacts of the index case completed their follow up period on Friday 13th of March 2020 and have been allowed to re-integrate into the society and resume their normal lives.”

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He, however, insisted that there is no scientific evidence that black people have any advantage, adding, “For now we cannot explain what happened. It does not mean that Africans or blacks have special protection against the virus, because that can’t be determined with one case.

“We need more cases and evidence to determine that, but what is available shows that the virus has affected both whites and blacks globally.”

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