..Says no case has been identified in Lagos or Nigeria
… FAAN explains prevention activities at Airport
The Lagos State Government has alerted the public to a new virus, the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) which is currently raging in China and have been reported some countries of the world including United States of America and have caused no fewer than nine deaths.
The State Government through a press statement issued by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Abayomi explained that the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans adding that Coronaviruses are primarily infections of animals that can be transmitted to humans.
“On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO), China Country Office was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause, detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. A novel Coronavirus was identified as the causative virus by Chinese authorities on the 7th January”
“As of 22nd January 2020, a total of 471 cases have been confirmed in South East Asia and USA with 9 deaths. There is evidence now that the infection is able to spread from person to person”, the Commissioner said.
He disclosed that the common signs and symptoms of the infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing adding that in more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
While noting that no cases of the virus have been identified in Lagos, Nigeria or anywhere in Africa, the Commissioner stated that the State Lagos is ramping up its level of preparedness considering the large commercial trading traffic between Nigeria and China and Thailand.
“The Lagos State Biosecurity team in collaboration with Lagos University Teaching Hospital is currently working on building urgent capacity to identify the virus in our Biosecurity facility and isolation wards located at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba in the event of any suspected case arriving in Lagos State”
“We are in touch with Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja to align our strategies. Importantly we are also collaborating with the Federal Ports Authority at air, land and sea border posts to elevate screening and surveillance of incoming travelers”, he said
Abayomi urged citizens to adopt and practice high standard of personal and environmental hygiene including regular hand washing, covering of mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing and practice good biosecurity precautions with domestic and wild animals as measures against the transmission of any kind contagious infection, nCoV inclusive.
The Commissioner advised citizens travelling from South East Asia or any country where the infection have been reported or who have had contact with travelers from that region and experiencing above outlined symptoms associated with the disease to go to the nearest health facility for immediate assessment and treatment or call 08023169485, 08033565529 or 08052817243 for assistance.
“The Lagos State Government is committed to the health and safety of her citizen and so, there is no cause for panic or alarm. This alert is just to assure you that we are preparing for any eventuality as directed by Mr. Governor”, Abayomi said.
Meanwhile, following an outbreak of CoronaVirus in China, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said steps were being taking to checkmate its possible infiltration into the country through passengers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
This is coming as the World Health Organisation on Wednesday convened an emergency meeting to determine whether it should be declared a Public Health Event of International Concern.
Victoria Shina-Aba, FAAN’s Regional Manager, South West, gave the assurance on Thursday in Lagos.
Shina-Aba said breakdowns of activities were meant to control the Coronavirus if detected at the Port of Entry (MMIA), adding that the primary screening was ongoing.
She advised passengers and airport users to comply with all quarantine procedures and submit themselves for routine quarantine checks whenever they were asked to do so at the nation’s airports.
The FAAN official explained that the airport authority, along with health personnel, were monitoring the temperature of all arriving passengers and also carrying out enhanced visual observation for obvious signs of communicable disease.
She said: “Passenger with any of the following fever such as temperature above or equal to 38 degrees Celsius, jaundice, skin rash, persistent diarrhoea and persistent cough would be referred to secondary screening.
“Others are difficulty in breathing, complains of headache, neck stiffness, decreased consciousness, lethargy, unexplained bleeding, as well as persistent vomiting.”
Shina-Aba said passengers would be referred to secondary screening, where the secondary screening form was used.
She noted if there was an obvious public health threat, the passenger would be transferred to the designated hospital (Lagos State Mainland Hospital) following appropriate protocols (SOP) for further evaluation.
Shina-Aba said collaboration and observance of basic infection prevention and control measures by stakeholders was important and being strengthened.
Commenting, a Medical Official at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Wilfred Haggai, explained that the areas for enhanced surveillance included the Point of Entry on board the aircraft and the Passenger Handling Service on the arrival queue.
Haggai added that others were within the terminal building and within 400 metres radius of the POE and outside the POE.
He said, at the state and local government levels, health facilities must be informed to always take travel history of patients and the state must do a lot of work with the health facilities.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are normally transmitted between animals and people.
Some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient.
The first case of a novel (new) coronavirus (2019nCoV) strain was confirmed in China on January 7, 2020 while several people have died from the virus in China following an outbreak in the Central City of Wuhan.
NAN also reports that the NCDC had advised Nigerians to protect themselves from the risk of this disease by washing their hands regularly under clean running water.
People were also advised to cover their mouths and noses properly with handkerchief or tissue paper while sneezing or coughing; or also, cough into the elbow if handkerchief is not available.
For a better society