As Nigeria heightens preparedness and response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has assured that measures have been put in place by the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to halt the spread of the virus particularly to barracks and military communities.
This is just as Nigeria recorded its first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Lagos. The index case is an Italian businessman who arrived in Nigeria from Milan, Italy on February 25 and was confirmed at the Virology Laboratory of Lagos University Teaching Hospital on February 27, 2020.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Onyema Nwachukwu, on Saturday told PRNigeria that medical services of the AFN are on alert and are daily monitoring patients who report sick in any of the medical facilities for detection of any probable carrier, in addition to awareness campaigns.
“Just as we are already doing to prevent outbreak of Lassa fever in barracks communities, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has since commenced vigorous sensitization and awareness campaign in military cantonments and barracks to enlighten personnel and their families on preventive sanitary and hygienic measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.
“Hand sanitizers are already being installed for use by guests as well as personnel in office complexes,” Nwachukwu said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has assured all Nigerians that the country has the capacity to respond to the disease and called for calm.
Mr Ehanire explained that the inability to detect the Italian citizen at the port of entry was not due to the failure of screening but because the virus was still at the incubation stage when he arrived.
The minister said there will be no travel restrictions whether on Nigerians going out or foreigners coming into the country.
He confirmed that the government was tracing all the people who made contact with the Italian, who is currently being treated in a Lagos hospital.
He said the Italian patient has already been isolated and is stable.
Also, the Nigeria Centre for Disease (NCDC) on Saturday issued a new advisory. According to the fourth advisory, travellers to Nigeria without symptoms on departure but become unwell in transit are advised to self-report to the Port Health Services on arrival, while travellers from countries with ongoing local transmission, but who show no symptoms on arrival should self-isolate at home for 14 days after arrival.
Travellers from countries with ongoing local transmission who feel ill with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, are advised to observe self-isolation immediately by staying indoors, avoiding self-medication and contact with People or Call the NCDC 24/7 toll-free line immediately on 080097000010.
Travellers from Nigeria to China and other affected countries are advised to avoid contact with sick people.
The NCDC strongly advised that all non-essential travel to countries with ongoing local transmission be postponed until the outbreak is contained.
The NCDC stated that the current situation in the country does not warrant a shutdown of daily activities, adding that additional measures may be instituted if the transmission is sustained in Nigeria.
But, businesses and schools are however advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all employees, clients, visitors, staff, students and parents; Encourage sick employees and students to stay at home; Ensure routine cleaning of high contact areas such as toilets, door handles, and telephones amongst others as well as provide facilities and emphasise the importance of hand washing.
All health workers are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19 and all health officials are advised to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if a case that fits the national case definition is identified.
To reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, members of the public are again advised to adhere to the following measures:
“Wash your hands frequently with soap under running water or use alcohol-based sanitizer if water is not available
“Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use. You may also cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available.
“Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
“Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.”
The NCDC said screening has already been heightened at Port health services in Nigeria.