THE Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says Nigeria is not among the countries that are experiencing community transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Community transmission is a situation whereby many people become infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Ehanire said this while responding to questions from journalists at a news conference on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister told the journalists that the country would not be in a hurry to make a decision to ban social activities or shut down schools and offices because of the virus.
“We are guided by experts, those who understand public health issues so they will guide us appropriately on what to do. We do not have community transmission, we have only three cases, and they are recovering.
“We can be taking decisions like those countries that have outbreak; we are studying the situation day and night to know what measures to take. Many countries that have taken the decision to shut down schools and offices do so based on the need to do so.”
According to him, the ministry will provide an update of the meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 later today (Tuesday) on a decision whether to place ban on flights into Nigeria and social activities.
The minister said that Nigeria would continue to work on its case definition and screen travellers from those countries that recorded community transmission.
The countries are China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, France, Germany and Spain. On the contact tracing of the third and latest case, a Nigerian in her 30s, the minister assured Nigerians that it would follow the contacts properly.
“The individual behaved very well and called the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and she was taken for treatment. It means that our messages have been taken seriously and it is working.
“The ministry is communicating with passengers who flew into those countries. We carry out further screening on passengers if they meet our case definition, we test them. We do not intent to hide anything from you. We have also told you about a suspected case in Enugu who tested negative.”
Asked on the status of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Isolation Centre, he said the centre would be ready for use in April.
Ehanire, however, said that the ministry had made alternative arrangement by preparing an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as isolation centre.
“The isolation centre will be ready next month but meanwhile we are using ICU of the teaching hospital, if we have any case in Abuja,’’ he said.
He appealed to Nigerians to continue to take precautions to protect themselves and their families, stressing:
.Regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water, and use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
.Maintaining at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
.Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep social distance but not mix in-crowd.
.Make sure you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with handkerchief or tissue paper or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose used tissue paper immediately.
.Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
.Call NCDC toll free number, which is available day and night for guidance: 0800 970 0000-0010.”
NAN reports that World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed 273 cases of COVID-19 in 26 countries in Africa and six COVID-19-related deaths. (NAN)
– Mar. 17, 2020 @ 15:25 GMT |