The Federal Government has confirmed five new cases of Corona virus (COVID-19) in Nigeria, bringing the total number to eight.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed this during the press briefing on update on COVID-19, held at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, today March 18, 2020. He stated that out of the five new positive cases, three arrived from the United State, while two came in from the United Kingdom.
The Minister further said that two out of the three from US are Nigerians, a mother and child, making the six weeks old baby the youngest COVID-19 patient Nigeria has. He said the third is an American national, who crossed the land border and becomes the first COVID-19 not arriving by air. The two cases from UK are Nigerian.
Dr. Ehanire informed that a detailed travel history of each person is being compiled and contacts currently being traced, to identify persons who have recently been in contact with any of them. He said the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and supported by partners, is supporting response in states, while the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health is conducting risk assessment to help guide decision making.
The Minister urged citizens not to panic, but allow experts in public health to guide response in a calculated, scientific manner. False information and rumour to cause fear and panic must be avoided. He said ‘’The COVID-19 cases so far appeared to have mild symptoms and are in recovering’’, he added. He further advised citizens to protect themselves and families, while cautions care and cautions should be maintained as advised by the Federal Ministry of Health.
Dr. Ehanire further disclosed that the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Corona virus (Covid-19) announced the following interventions on March 17, 2020 which includes, the prohibition of all travel by public servants; suspension of the visa on arrival policy till further notice; a firm travel advisory against non-essential travel to high burden countries, especially in view of the number of Nigerians who arrived from US and Europe and diagnosed in the past 48 hours with corona virus infection.
Continuing, he said that, a requirement that all persons returning from overseas self-isolate for observation for 14 days, even if they feel well. NCDC will disseminate information on the practice; supervised self-isolation, including testing of persons returning from nations with community transmission of more than 1,000 cases cumulatively, for 14 days by the NCDC and Port Health Services; Federal Government will restrict entry to Nigeria of persons from the listed high burden countries with effect from Friday, March 20, for a period of 4 weeks. He reminder that citizens maintain hand hygiene and standard respiratory etiquette.
The Minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will continue to provide accurate and reliable updates, as and when they are available, and take available measures to control spread of infectious disease outbreak in Nigeria.
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