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Coronavirus: Lagos health commissioner reveals patient’s employer, how he entered Nigeria

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi has narrated how the patient with the index case of COVID -19 got into the state and efforts put in place to prevent further spread of the case.

WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that the patient is a consultant with Lafarge Cement Company, Ewekoro, Ogun State.

According to Abayomi during an emergency press briefing at the Lagos State House, Marina, led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, “The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, was the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.

“The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

“The patient, a traveller, started his journey from Milan on Monday, 24th, he transmitted through Istanbul onboard a Turkish Airline and arrived in Lagos on Tuesday night, and spent the night in a hotel near the airport. And on Tuesday morning, he moved on to his business in Ogun State, a corporate entity. (name withheld).

“He carried out his business within Ogun State within the confine of the company. And on Wednesday he spent the night in their accommodation, a guest house.

“By the afternoon, he started to develop symptoms of high fever and body pains. He presented through the company medical facility, where the investigation began. Of course, he gave a history of his origin in Italy, where we know there is a young outbreak.

“It was astute of the medical personnel to keep him overnight in an isolated environment. They contacted us at the biosecurity unit in Lagos for assistance and we immediately asked them to transfer the case to Lagos.

“He was brought to our high containment facility in Yaba on Thursday morning. Immediately, he arrived, he was put in strict isolation and appropriate tests were ordered.

“Within hours we received signals that the test in the laboratory was showing signs of positivity. At that point, we informed the Federal Minister of Health, the incident commander in the state, Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the minister informed higher authorities in Abuja.

“It was self-important at that time to put together information for the public. The patient remains in strict isolation at our containment facility in Yaba and he is doing well with supportive therapy.

“As of now, we have started to trace the movement from the airport through Lagos to Ogun State. And we are busy identifying any possible person that may have come in contact with him so that we can start our isolation and containment exercise to ensure we break the circle of transmission.

“In Lagos, we have been building capacity steadily, fortified support at the airport and sending state health personnel to support federal authorities.

“A form has been developed and all travellers are to fill the form as they arrived. At our infectious facility, we have ramped up our capacity to isolate cases.

“We are in constant contact with the National Centre for Disease Control and the Minister of health and we are exchanging information continuously.

The commissioner gave the following as symptoms of COVID-19 patient:

  1. Running nose
  2. Headache
  3. Dry cough
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Fatigue
  6. Sore throat
  7. Fever
  8. Kidney failure
  9. Feeling of being unwell

“Symptoms are more severe and fatality is higher in persons that have medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or diseases that impair the immune systems.

“For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there is a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis.

He gave the following precautions:

1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

2. Maintain at least 1 and a half metres (5 feet) distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

3. People coughing persistently or sneezing should stay indoors or keep a social distance, but not mix with a crowd.

4. Ensure that you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing. You can also sneeze or cough into your sleeve at the bent elbow. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

5. Stay indoors if you feel unwell with symptoms, such as fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call Lagos State Emergency hotlines 08023169485 or 08033565529 or 08052817243 which are available day and night.

6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, the Social Media, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.”

The governor, while appealing for calm, urged citizens not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic.

“The Lagos State Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of an outbreak in Lagos,” he assured.

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