The Federal Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
Minister of Health, Doctor Osagie Ehanire in a statement said the case, confirmed in Lagos State was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos on the 25th of February.
He said: “He was confirmed by the virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital , part of the laboratory network in the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”
Dr Ehanire said the patient was being managed by the Infectious Disease Hospital , Yaba , Lagos and was clinically stable , with no serious symptoms.
This makes Nigeria the third country with the disease in Africa. Algeria had confirmed its first case on Wednesday while Egypt reported Africa’s first COVID-19 case earlier this month.
As at Friday morning, 82, 294 cases of the disease have been confirmed globally . The disease has also spread to Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, and North Macedonia.
The health minister said the federal government through the ministry had been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria was controlled and contained quickly.
He said the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and would work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to the case and implement firm control measures.
He assured Nigerians that the government had been strengthening preparedness capacity since the confirmation of the first cases in China, and that government would use all available resources to respond to the case.
He advised Nigerians to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene by following these precautions:
-Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
-Maintain 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 a 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 or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
-Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
-Stay informed on the latest developments about COVlD-l9 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
The health ministry also advised Nigerians not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic.