THE federal government has said the Italian man, Nigeria’s index case in the Coronavirus disease and his contacts will soon be released from quarantine centres. The government also said the second confirmed case, a Nigerian, who contracted the virus via contact with the Italian Index case in the country, has now tested negative.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made the disclosure on Friday while briefing newsmen, said the index case might be discharged early next week if he maintains steady progress, even as all contacts of the index case who have shown no symptoms of the virus after 14 days of isolation could likely be allowed to return to their normal lives. He also noted that a group of four children and their teacher who were confirmed to have been in same space with a confirmed case before flying into Lagos from the United States, have been placed on isolation. Prior to their arrival, the US Centre for Disease Control had alerted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of their exposure to the Coronavirus. Although results of tests conducted on them returned negative, they would continue to remain in self isolation for the next 14 days for close monitoring and follow up. “Between 7th January and 12th March 2020, a total of 42 people who met our case definition have been screened for COVID-19 in 6 States- Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers, Kano and FCT, out of which 40 tested negative and two were confirmed positive: the index case and a contact of index case, with no deaths. “The index case is clinically stable and is much improved. Steady progress till early next week will guide the medical team in discharging him. The second confirmed case, a contact of the index case is testing negative for the virus, meaning he has cleared the virus and will be allowed to go home. “As at today, 13th of March 2020, Nigeria has recorded still just two confirmed cases of COVID-19. One case is now negative and will be discharged from care, while the other will follow in a few days. “After 14 days of follow up with no symptoms, all contacts of the index case will be permitted to go home and rejoin society.”
Commenting on the National Sports Festival holding in the country soonest, the minister noted that every participant and spectator at the festival would undergo a strict screening to avoid a possible spread of the Coronavirus. Ehanire who reiterated there was no need to place a travel ban on flights from any country, said every state has identified a location that could be used to manage possible cases of Coronavirus. “We continue to monitor all incoming travelers, and select those that fit our case definition for secondary screening. Following declaration of a pandemic and increasing spread in countries, we have begun a review of our case definition. However, Nigeria has not yet placed a travel ban on any country, passport or flights.” Meanwhile, the Minister has disclosed the need to activate Nigeria’s Point of Entry Policy on Prevention and Control of Cross Border Transmission of Yellow Fever for all international travellers, 9 months and older, arriving in areas with evidence of persistent or periodic transmission of yellow fever. The policy which falls in line with WHO recommendation since the COVID-19 outbreak, “allow passengers without Yellow Cards or proof of vaccinations to board their flights to Nigeria, with the understanding that they will be given a Yellow Fever vaccination, on arrival at our Points of Entry. ” The vaccination is free of charge and the yellow card is at a nominal cost. This is in the interest of the health security of the public and all passengers. The effective date of the revised policy implementation was 11th March 2020. The revised policy was also communicated to NCAA for airlines to be so informed. “However, other surveillance and prevention activities, including the implementation of the policy on prevention and control of cross border transmission of yellow fever, are still very important. Nigerians are required to obtain a yellow fever vaccination if they have not done so, and to show their yellow card or proof of vaccination before any international travel and upon arrival.”