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Minister urges proper hygiene as Nigeria records second case of disease

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Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora, has urged Nigerians to prioritise their personal and respiratory hygiene, insisting that the call became necessary due to discovery of a second case of coronavirus in the country.

Confirming the case, Mamora explained that it was one of the contacts already established with the index case through the Italian man who came into the country.

Speaking at Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) yesterday in Lagos, he assured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm, noting however, that it was the ministry’s duty to update members of the public on the status of COVID-19.

“We are trying to emphasise the need to avoid panic and hysteria. We should spread facts and not fear. People should do what they have been advised to do like hand washing with soap and running water, use of alcohol-based sanitisers and maintaining a safe distance from whoever is coughing or sneezing and for the doing so to cover up so as to protect others,” he said.

Mamora, however, disclosed that the new case was not manifesting any serious symptoms and that it was just suspicion that led to the screening to which the patient tested positive.

“If you have travelled to a high burden area, China, Italy, and you come back, self isolate yourself if you are having any symptoms, we have toll numbers to call.

“There is the need to check for surveillance of new cases, because COVID-19 is no respecter of anybody and then the fact that people can carry it without knowing. Asymptotic cases do not manifest the symptoms that lead to suspicion,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has successfully performed the genome sequencing of coronavirus strain that the index case brought to the country, which matched the virus circulating in Italy and Wuhan.

Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu said the feat was the first of its kind in Africa since the outbreak, noting that the result has been shared with the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which had congratulated Nigerian scientists for the achievement.

He explained that the centre has been doing contact tracing and monitoring of the coronavirus and that the index case receiving treatment in Lagos has been pursued since February 27, 2020 when the case was first diagnosed.

“A total of 217 contacts were linked to the index case. Of the 217, 45 travelled out of Nigeria and 172 are in the country and of the 172 contacts, 69 are in Lagos, 40 in Ogun and 52 in other states, while 11 are in unknown locations.

“Nevertheless, the Federal Ministry of Health, following best practice, decided to test these persons for the possible presence of coronavirus in their systems and on March 8, 2020, scientists confirmed the presence of coronavirus in one of the contacts. It is my duty, therefore, to announce a new case of coronavirus 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,” he said.


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