The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that the newly confirmed COVID-19 in Nigeria is not new importation, but a contact of the Index case, who has since been in isolation and was under clinical follow up, presently does not have any clinical symptoms, is comfortable and in care at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos.
He disclosed this on Monday while announced the new case in Nigeria, he said 40 persons in Ogun and 20 in Lagos are under isolation and have remained free of any symptoms since while the newly confirmed case is an Ogun State contact of the index case. Following best practice, the Federal Ministry of Health decided to test those persons in isolation for possible presence of coronavirus in their systems, On 8th March 2020, scientists confirmed the presence of coronavirus in one of the contacts.
This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria today to two. Since beginning of the outbreak in China and subsequent spread to other countries, one of the important response strategies at the containment stage, has been to identify all contacts, ensure their strict isolation and to follow up daily with checks for any symptoms of the disease.
Following recent experience from other countries and evidence from newly published studies on non-symptomatic infections, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, advised that samples should be taken from all contacts of the Index case for testing.
It is in this process that this new case was detected. ”Recent studies in China have shown that increased surveillance, self isolation and in particular, contact tracing do reduce risk of spread, because further opportunities for transmission of the virus by the infected patient in the community are limited. ”All other contacts of the index case in Ogun and Lagos will remain in isolation and testing will be carried out on those not yet tested, including some in other states.
On the case reported in the US of Nigerian origin, we are in touch with colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and here in Abuja. The case visited Lagos in February 2020. However, given the timelines between the time he was in Nigeria briefly and when he became ill, the likelihood that he was infected in Lagos is very low. The Federal Ministry of Heath, and Lagos and Ogun States Health Ministries assure citizens of our commitment to do all needed to control spread of this outbreak.