The confirmation of the third coronavirus case in Nigeria on Tuesday woke the Federal Government from its slumber as it rolled out a number of measures to stop the spread of the disease in the country.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, at a press conference in Ikeja on Tuesday morning, said the third case was a 30-year-old woman, who returned to the country on Friday from the United Kingdom.
The announcement of the third coronavirus case triggered a flurry of activities by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government postponed the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival, tagged ‘Edo 2020’, scheduled to start on Friday.
The National Open University of Nigeria put off its 9th convocation, which was slated from March 21 indefinitely.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, on its part, issued health advisory to religious organisations and other groups that could attract mass gatherings.
It said they should not allow people who had cough, fever or other coronavirus-like symptoms into their mass gatherings.
In the United Kingdom, the Nigerian High Commission suspended the processing of passports until further notice as a proactive measure to curb coronavirus.
Also, the Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated a task force on coronavirus, whose members were named on March 9.
Nigeria recorded its first coronavirus case on March 27 when an Italian businessman, who was on a visit to Lafarge Africa Plc, Ewekoro, Ogun State, was diagnosed with the disease. The Italian is currently receiving treatment in Lagos.
A few days later, a Nigerian, who had contact with him and was isolated in Ogun State, was diagnosed with the disease.
Unlike other African countries, such as Egypt, South Africa, Sudan and Ghana, the Federal Government has consistently rejected travel ban on nations with high number of coronavirus cases. Also, passengers from high-risk countries are not being isolated on their arrival in the country.
On Tuesday morning, Abayomi disclosed that a 30-year-old woman had been diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the country to three.
Abayomi said the woman returned from the UK on Friday via a British Airways flight BA75 after spending 10 days in the European country.
He said the woman had been in self-isolation before developing fever and high cough.
Abayomi said the patient had complied strictly with isolation principles which made contact tracing less cumbersome, adding that she had been admitted to the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.
The commissioner stated, “She developed high fever and cough during her self-isolation period which she started immediately she arrived in the country. She tested positive and was admitted last night (Monday) at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.
The commissioner added that the immediate family members of the newly confirmed case had been isolated in a family suite with separate rooms at the IDH.
He said contact tracing for all passengers on the flight that the patient boarded had commenced.
He, however, advised the passengers on flight BA75 to isolate themselves in their various residence and contact the ministry of health on the dedicated toll free and emergency lines for assistance.
“If you are a passenger on British airline flight BA 75 that arrived in Lagos on 13th March, 2020, stay at home and isolate yourself for 14 days and call the Ministry of Health Toll Free and Emergency lines,” Abayomi said.
On the second case, the commissioner said the patient who had contact with the index case in Lafarge factory was tested negative twice and had been discharged from hospital.
Nigerian with coronavirus attended summit with Canadian prime minister’s wife
More facts on Tuesday evening emerged about the third case. It was gathered that the woman contracted the virus while attending a summit in the UK.
The friend of the victim, who identified himself only as Ayobami, told The PUNCH that the victim spent a few days at the conference.
According to him, the same conference was attended by the wife of the Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Trudeau, who also recently tested positive for the infection.
He said, “She went for a programme in the UK. It was a commonwealth event. It lasted for two to three days. That was the same place that the Canadian prime minister’s wife got it.”
The WE Day summit, an annual youth programme, was held in London on March 4 and was attended by top celebrities, including the Canadian prime minister’s wife and an actor, ldris Alba, who also recently tested positive for the virus.
The Canadian prime minister’s wife was reported feeling unwell following her return to Canada and diagnosed with the disease.
Third case picked by parents at airport, taken to their Ogba home
Ayobami said when his friend arrived in Lagos aboard the British Airways flight, she was picked by her parents and taken to their home in Ogba, Ikeja.
He explained that the victim, who had started showing signs of the flu, isolated herself and was not in contact with anyone.
He stated, “She did not get in contact with any other person apart from her parents. Her parents took her at the airport and she was driven to their home at Ogba. She then went to isolate herself.”
“She did not feel anything serious until on Sunday. From the time she landed at the airport we had been communicating and I told her to go for a test immediately,” he added.
Ayobami had, in a series of tweets on Friday, said when the friend arrived, raised the alarm on her condition, lamenting her inability to get tested on time despite calls and messages to officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
He also decried the shortage of test kits, saying the country was not prepared for the infection.
On Sunday, he said she was eventually tested and the result returned positive.
Source: The PUNCH