The Lagos State government has announced that it would commence the tracing of all the passengers in British Airways Flight BA75 from London, on which the third confirmed case of the novel coronavirus traveled to Nigeria.
“We would be reaching out to every member of the flight. We are going to be repeating what we did with the contact of the index case,” said the state’s commissioner for health, Akin Abayomi.
The commissioner added that public health officials are already working towards identifying every member of the flight.
He said the third confirmed case, who self-isolated after she developed symptoms of the disease upon arrival from the United Kingdom, has been admitted, alongside her family, to the isolation centre.
While she is being kept at a separate room, her family who had close contact with her while she was self-isolating at home have been put into a family suite at the isolation centre.
“I spoke to her this morning she is doing well. She needs supportive care,” the commissioner said.
He said the rooms and the suites at the isolation centre are of the recommended standard and that people who suspect to have come in contact with an affected person should not worry about the standard of the suites and rooms at the isolation centre.
“They are on a standard that is comparable to anywhere in the world,” he said.
Also responding to the reported delay in admitting the third confirmed patient and her family to the isolation centre, Mr Abayomi explained that the process of admitting a person into isolation is elaborate and takes time.
“We have done our bio-containment responsibility,” he said. “It takes a lot of time to admit a patient. Samples are taken through an elaborate process that the whole process can take up to two hours or longer. It is a very detailed standard procedure.”
PREMIUM TIMES learned that the third confirmed patient upon developing symptoms self-isolated herself, but it took several days and repeated calls before officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control could get to her residence to test her.
This newspaper also learned that she and her family were kept outside the isolation centre waiting in an ambulance and there were no officials at hand to attend to them up to the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Mr Abayomi also denied that there were no reagents to conduct tests for suspected coronavirus patients in the country.
Number of cases may increase
The number of novel coronavirus cases in Nigeria may increase from the three by the end of the day, as the Lagos State government has commenced the testing of three other persons with visible symptoms of the flu-like disease.
Speaking to journalists at the state’s secretariat in Alausa, the state’s commissioner for health, Akin Abayomi, told journalists that the state is currently holding the three suspected cases at the isolation centre in the Yaba area of the state.
Mr Abayomi said one of the suspected cases being held at the facility is a traveller from the United States, who arrived in Nigeria through one of the high-risk countries in the Middle East. He explained that the traveler was admitted on Monday night and was in stable condition while the test result was being awaited.
“His sample has been taken this morning and the result will be announced later today,” Mr Abayomi said.
He said the second suspected case with visible symptoms of the disease, is from the United Kingdom and would have his test done later on Tuesday.
The third case is another man who travelled from the Indian sub-continent through Cairo.
“His fever is quite high, and he has been coughing,” Mr Abayomi said. He further explained that the result of the sample taken from the man is being expected to come in later today.
Meanwhile, Mr Abayomi said people coming from high-risk countries who are exhibiting symptoms of the diseases should call a new toll-free number 08000CORONA or 08028971864, 080 35387653, and 0805975886.