On February 27, Nigeria's health minister, Dr. E. Osagie Ehanire, confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria.
At a press conference, Dr. Ehanire reported that the first patient detected is “an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria” on February 25, 2020. Taking into account the diagnostic report submitted by The Virology Laboratory of the University Hopspital of Lagos, the minister also said that the “patient is clinically stable, has no serious symptoms and is treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yarba, Lagos.”
Consequently, the Nigerian government launched the multisectoral coronavirus preparedness group, led by the Nigeria Disease Control Center (NCDC). This “will work together with the authorities of the Public Health of Lagos to deal with the present case and for the implementation of firm control measures,” according to Dr. Ehanire.
As of February 27, China had reported a total of 78,630 cases of coronaviruses and 2747 deaths.
The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, reported that the world is at a “decisive moment” regarding the pandemic because the “number of new cases reported in the rest of the world has been higher to the number of new cases in China ”:
Outside China, there are now 3,474 cases in 44 countries, and 54 deaths. … And in the past 24 hours, seven countries have reported cases for the first time: Brazil, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania.
Outside of China there are 3474 cases and 54 deaths in 44 countries. (…) And in the last 24 hours, seven countries have reported their first cases: Brazil, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania.
The BBC reported that as of February 26, Italy had reported a total of 400 cases of coronavirus. It represents an alarming increase in the 80 cases reported the previous day. Although the outbreak is centered in a couple of small cities, Lombardy (near Milan) and Veneto (near Venice), “the outbreak has killed 12 people,” the BBC reports.
Italy has also been a source of contagion to “a list of rising countries around the world,” Reuters also reported. Israel recently banned “the entry of non-Israelis who have visited Italy in the last two weeks.”
Is Lagos a time bomb for the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lagos, with an estimated population of 21 million people, the largest city in Africa and the seventh fastest growing city in the world, is an epidemiological nightmare.
– TheCable (@thecableng) February 27, 2020
VIDEO: Travelers go through the coronavirus review process at Lagos airport.
The quick response of the Nigerian Health Minister is admirable. However, the laboratory's diagnostic report on the zero case in Nigeria was available on February 27 – two days after the infected Italian traveler arrived in Lagos. The port medical service should have been more agile in spreading the news, taking into account that the coronavirus has been increasing exponentially in Italy for a few weeks.
Fast and precise work in contact tracing is essential if one takes into account that Lagos is the commercial center of Nigeria. The possibility that contagion to other parts of the country is rapid is imminent.
Dispel misinformation, quell panic
Cybernetters are already doing their best to prevent any misinformation from generating unnecessary panic after the coronavirus arrived in Nigeria:
Everybody's now an epidemiologist & infectious diseases expert.
Please, just practice good hygiene. Spread facts, not panic. Let the experts do their job. Share only verified information.
COVID19 is a flu virus with very low mortality.
Stupid people are deadlier than the virus
– To Fokken Queen! 👑 (@ cremechic11) February 28, 2020
Now they are all epidemiologists and experts in infectious diseases.
Please, just have good hygiene. Spread facts, don't panic. Let the experts do their job. Spread only truthful information.
Coronavirus is a flu virus with a low mortality rate.
Idiot people are more lethal than the virus.
It is better to spread sanitation tips than to induce mass panic:
– Ondo First Born® (@OndoFirstBorn) February 28, 2020
Because Nigeria confirms the first case of coronavirus in Lagos, this is all they need to know about the virus and how to stay safe. Do not panic!
Another cybernaut also warned of panic:
Coronavirus confirmed in Nigeria. 😭😢
To be honest, Nigeria did a good job monitoring so far as I expected it sooner.
But now I am afraid of the panic, fake news and hysteria among our older citizens.
Times like this I wish I still did Reason Am.
Abi make I quick voice sontin? 🤔
– Ruona J. Meyer (@RGAMeyer) February 28, 2020
Case of coronavirus confirmed in Nigeria. 😭😢
To be honest, Nigeria did a good follow-up job so far since I expected the virus to arrive earlier.
But now I'm worried about panic, fake news and hysteria among older citizens.
At times like this I would like to continue working on the Reason Am radio program.
Abi, can I do something fast? 😭😢
Déjà vu of the case of Ebola in Nigeria
In July 2014, Nigerians panicked similarly when the country recorded the zero case of Ebola. Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian who was caring for a relative with Ebola in Liberia, passed out at Lagos airport upon arrival in Nigeria. He was rushed to the hospital where he was initially treated for malaria. He died days later but was diagnosed with Ebola days before he died.
However, on October 20, 2014, WHO declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Nigeria managed to defeat the most explosive outbreak of Ebola, which began in Lagos, through work at the epidemiological level. It was such an unusual case that even the moderate WHO announced the achievement “it is a first level epidemiological research work”.
Nigeria kicked Ebola, that gives so much hope we'll handle Corona virus too. Wishing all the health workers involved safe operations. Can't be easy knowing you can be infected with just one slip.
Nigeria beat Ebola, which gives us great hope that we can against the coronavirus as well. I want all the health workers involved to be safe. It should not be easy to know that if you make a single mistake you can get infected.
Empowered to respond
The Nigerian Disease Control Center (NCDC), an institution empowered to respond and monitor infectious epidemics in Nigeria, is prepared for the outbreak.
Nigeria has its first Coronavirus case. My prediction: their experience with Polio and Ebola are going to result in them handling this more competently than most Western democracies. https://t.co/PFmVGLKZw1
– Shelby Grossman (@shelbygrossman) February 28, 2020
What is Nigeria doing to prepare for COVID19?
* Daily evaluation, development of guidelines, training of health workers
* Intensified review in polio and ebola.
* Establish testing capacity in three laboratories
* Frequent communication with the public
And much more.
For more questions: https://ncdc.gov.ng/news/221/frequently-asked-questions-%E2%80%93-03%2F02%2F20
Nigeria has confirmed the first case of coronavirus. My prediction: previous experience with polio and Ebola will make it possible to deal with this disease better than many western democracies.
Amy Maxmenm, a correspondent for the scientific journal Nature, said that in the past two years, the president of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, has “more than doubled the number of NCDC staff, created a network of molecular biology laboratories at throughout the country ”to“ eliminate the threat of an epigemia in Nigeria spreading to the rest of the world ”.
We are dealing with a new virus. There are 47 countries that have reported at least 1 case
A case is not a sign of failure. Our @NCDCgov was set up for situations like this. We are working 24/7 with the relevant state governments
– Chikwe Ihekweazu (@Chikwe_I) February 28, 2020
First case of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) confirmed in Nigeria.
We face a new virus. There are 47 countries that have reported at least one case.
A case is not a sign that they failed. Our NCDC was created for situations like this. We are working 24 hours a day with the corresponding state governments.
Please avoid rumors and panic.
Time will tell if Nigeria can overcome and reduce the coronavirus pandemic as it did with the Ebola outbreak.
Review the Global Voices special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19.