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Lagos State denies coronavirus patient attempted to escape

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Media reports that the Italian isolated at Lagos Biosecurity Centre in Yaba attempted to escape over harsh condition at the centre were false, Lagos State Government said on Saturday evening.

The 44-year-old Italian, arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday from Milan and was reported ill on Wednesday. He was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing on Thursday morning.

Lagos State commissioner for health Professor Akin Abayomi said on Saturday that the facility at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, where the patient is being managed “by our well-trained staff” was good enough to handle the demand of the situation.

Media reports on Saturday morning, however, claimed that the Italian wanted to abscond because of the heat and exposure to mosquitoes.

“One of the stories alleged that the patient became angry and attempted to escape from the isolation ward due to what it described as the unsuitable condition of the Infectious Diseases Control Hospital in Yaba,” said the state commissioner for information Gbenga Omotosho.

“Another said that an individual, who claimed to have driven the Italian to Ogun State, escaped from hospital and has threatened to spread the virus all over Nigeria. He is said to be seeking N100m for his family to deter him from the ‘suicide mission’.”

The Guardian fact-checked the latter claim and found it to be untrue.

Omotosho urged residents to disregard any piece of information that does not emanate from official sources such as the Federal Ministry of Health, the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control.

“This situation calls for vigilance and soberness, not wicked jokes and frivolities,” he said.

“The Lagos State Government, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ogun State Government, remains focused on entrenching measures to contain the infection and will not be distracted by activities of those who seem to be unconscious of the gravity of the situation.

​”This is not a time for intrigues. Every Lagosian is required to support the government’s efforts at fighting this situation and taking precautions required to prevent an epidemic.


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