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Coronavirus: Nigeria Confirmed First Case of Novel Virus



  • Coronavirus: Nigeria Confirmed First Case of Novel Virus

The Nigerian Ministry of Health on Thursday confirmed the very first case of coronavirus in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Health, the said infected person, an Italian who works in Nigeria, travelled from Milan, Italy, the most affected nation in entire Europe, to Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020.

“He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

The patient is said to be clinically stable with no serious symptoms, according to the ministry of health statement.

Italy, one of the nations with the highest number of infected persons outside the outbreak nation, China, has reported over 400 cases as of Thursday, up from 80 cases reported on Tuesday.

Accordingly, about eleven towns with a combined population of 55,000 people have been quarantined and shut off to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus as the nation’s economy nosedive.

Similarly, the Nigerian Stock Exchange closed in the red on Thursday and opened even lower on Friday as Nigerians struggle to digest the implications of the very first case of the virus in their nation.

It should be recalled that the Federal Government had approved N386 million to the nation’s health agencies last week to enable them prepared for coronavirus ahead of a situation like this.

However, the Senate president on Thursday said the nation is not prepared and blamed the health ministry for taking things for granted.

Ahmad Lawan, the President, Senate said: “While the Federal Ministry of Health and the associated agencies may be doing their best, this best is not good enough and we should not take anything for granted.“We must be prepared. We must take all the necessary measures at our ports – airports, seaports. If someone is coming from China, he should be quarantined, not self- isolation.

“I urge the committees on primary healthcare and health to engage with the Federal Ministry of Health once again. We want to see every possible effort done in our airports or seaport.”Opening the debate on the matter earlier, Boroface, who introduced the motion through Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule, narrated his experience on a visit to South Africa and compared it to Nigeria, submitting that Nigeria was yet to wake up.

“I was in South Africa on Friday, I came back yesterday. Because of the issue of coronavirus, every country in the world is taking preventive measures because the wisdom is that prevention is better than cure. In South Africa, we were not allowed to leave the aircraft for good 30 minutes. Officers of the medical corps came into the aircraft and screened everybody before we were allowed out, but I arrived yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport and there was no screening.

“All we were given is a sheet of paper to indicate whether we were sick and whether we have been to one country or the other and how we will be contacted if there is an emergency. How will you try me? How do you know if I have fallen sick? This is very frightening.“Something has to be done to ensure that we do not give way to a situation which we will not be able to control. Countries that have adequate medical facilities are working hard to ensure that they contain the spread of coronavirus. From what I saw yesterday, I am afraid.”

Despite the US and other nations, planning to ban flights from Italy, South Korea and other nations with known coronavirus cases, Nigeria continues to welcome flights from affected nations without any quarantine measures as stated by the Senate President.

In Japan, public schools have been shut to contain further spread of the virus, while President Trump is already contemplating likely flight restriction from Italy and South Korea and has already warned American citizens to call off travel arrangements to affected nations.

In Nigeria, while the level of preparedness is in question, the government and all the health agencies need to be proactive to contain the spread of the virus and assure the people and investors of total control.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya