CORONAVIRUS: 39 quarantined as anxiety spreads -


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Sunday, 1 March 2020

CORONAVIRUS: 39 quarantined as anxiety spreads

By Our Reporters

Following last Friday’s quarantining of 28 people who had contacts with the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria, 11 more people were identified and isolated yesterday in Ogun State.
Those quarantined include people, who had contact with the Coronavirus patient when he visited Lafarge Africa facility, Ewekoro, include the driver who picked him from a hotel in Ikeja and those who served him food and drink.
This came as Lagos State government relocated the Italian, who imported the disease into the country to a renovated facility at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba.
Reports that the 44-year-old had attempted to abscond over the state of the facility where he was isolated, were debunked by the state government.
Responding to treatment
Briefing newsmen yesterday, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said the Coronavirus patient was responding to treatment, comfortable and not complaining.
Meanwhile, across the country, some state governments activated measures to respond to any eventuality even as they allayed growing fears of the populace.
Specifically, Delta, Oyo, Ondo, Delta, Rivers, Imo, Plateau, Anambra, Osun, Bayelsa, and Edo states took various cautionary steps on the matter.
Also, as part of preventive measures, the Catholic Church suspended handshakes and the use of holy water indefinitely.
New symptoms
Giving an update on the condition of the patient in Lagos, Prof Abayomi said the Italian had not developed new symptoms, adding that he was in a stable condition.
His words: “He has not expressed any desire to leave the facility to the doctors looking after him and I have spoken to him myself. He is comfortable, he was comfortable yesterday and he is comfortable today. We have moved him to the general isolation ward. He hasn’t complained. He is comfortable as far as I know. I would see him again in another 30 minutes from now (2.30 pm yesterday). He has also been seen by other doctors. Of course, he is bored because he is in isolation, but he is okay.
“He has not developed any new symptoms but he still got a mild fever and we will be running tests to see what the situation is with the virus in his body and as soon as we get a negative screen, we will keep him for another 2-3 days, repeat the tests and make sure there are no more virus particles in his saliva, and that means that he will no longer be contagious and we will release him back into the community.”
Renovated isolation ward
He, however, explained that to ensure his comfort, the index case was moved into a renovated isolation ward which was equipped with air-conditioning facility and fans.
Abayomi added it was done to enable him to get needed comfort while undergoing the care.
“We were renovating part of the facility. We kept him in a single isolation room but we have subsequently moved him to one of our completed rooms recently renovated. He is right there now, he is comfortable as of this morning and his condition has improved.
According to the Commissioner, the state has put in place an advanced Biosafety Diagnostic Laboratory.
“We have been building isolation capacity. The isolation is different from other wards that we have. We have two of them and they were going through quick renovations just to make sure that the air conditioners are working. We did that last week, we moved new furniture into the new place.
Isolation ward
“One ward is complete and it can hold 20 patients. When the second and third are completed they can hold another 20 patients each. The fourth will be completed in another two days and they can hold 14 patients each. The refurbishment is ongoing because we do not know how long the situation would go on. We just want to make sure that anybody we bring here is comfortable.”
Speaking on a television programme earlier in the day, the Commissioner, who said he could only speak for Lagos said following the 2014 Ebola outbreak experience, Lagos had put in place a biosecurity unit at the infections hospital where the index case was kept.
Protective Equipment
Dismissing report that he met the patient without Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, Abayomi explained: “I did not meet him. He was in his room and I was talking to him a few metres away. I was inspecting the facility and he was there. The doctor that was accompanying me was a Physician. If I was to approach him, I will enter the facility and I will wear the PPE.”
On why the patient was not detected at the airport, he said: “The issue here is the changing dynamic of the outbreak.”
On the contacts that were being traced and under surveillance, he said the number is going up.
“The contacts include people from the factory in Ogun State, the hotel and people on the aircraft. We are deciding whether it is the whole aircraft or just the cabin that should be considered.”
ANAMBRA: Two hospitals ready in Onitsha, Awka
In Anambra, the state government said it has put in place necessary measures to checkmate the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.
Commissioner for Information, Don Adinuba, said: “Government realised that Anambra people are the most travelled in Nigeria and therefore did not waste time in preparing for any possible spread of the disease to the state. Government has prepared two hospitals in Onitsha and
Awka. We trained doctors and other medical personnel long before the first case was recorded in Lagos.”
Besides the preparations, the Commissioner said the state has intensified its enlightenment campaign.
Uzodinma orders procurement of Equipment  Imo State government has ordered the procurement of personal protective equipment. It also instructed the Public Health Department and Primary Healthcare Agency to step up actions, including aggressive community sensitisation exercise.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Oguwike Nwachukwu, said: “As part of measures to contain the disease, Imo State Ministry of Health, through the Public Health Department and the Primary Healthcare Agency has instituted robust emergency response measures with the procurement and pre-repositioning of personal protective equipment, enhanced border surveillance.”
Edo:  State govt seeks manifest of airline
The management of Benin Airport said the screening of passengers would commence next Monday.
The development has created fears among residents given that many Edo indigenes reside in Italy.
Meanwhile, Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia said a team has been deployed to the Benin Airport to get information on the manifest of the aircraft that brought the Italian into the country.
He said it has also sensitised staff at the Benin Airport on the screening modalities of air travelers.
Chairman of Red Cross in Edo State, Festus Alenkhe, told Sunday Vanguard that the screening of passengers at the airport would begin on Monday.
DELTA: Warri, Sapele, Koko, Oghara designated as centres
Delta State Government said it has placed all health institutions and disease control mechanisms on red alert in readiness for any possible case of the dreaded disease.
Briefing newsmen in Asaba, state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, said the state was prepared to curtail the disease if there is an outbreak.
Ononye said the seaports in Warri, Sapele, Koko, and Oghara have been designated as holding centres for any possible outbreak.
“All hospitals across the state have been mandated to designate an isolated area as a detention centre for any case of Convid 19,” he added.
OYO: Personnel on high alert
In Oyo State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashiru Bello said: “At this point, the state has put its facilities on high alert.
“In the same vein, the public is hereby implored to remain calm and ensure strict adherence to personal hygiene.”
The Commissioner implored the public to wash their hands regularly with soap and water.
“We also enjoin private health facilities to conform with expected universal precaution when attending to all patients,” he added.
ONDO: State govt holds multisectoral meeting
Fear has gripped residents of Akure following the outbreak of Coronavirus.
People were seen in groups discussing the outbreak of the disease in Lagos.
To douse the tension, state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, urged residents to take precautionary measures.
The statement reads: “Following the outbreak of Coronavirus in Lagos, It has become imperative to sensitise the public on this looming danger, which is threatening the entire mankind
“The state government has swung into action, by calling an emergency multi-sectoral stakeholders’ meeting to quickly outline of actions, action points and necessary precautions to be taken to prevent the outbreak in the state.’’
PLATEAU: ‘State not at risk’
Doctors in Plateau State have said there are ready to combat Coronavirus, in case the disease breaks in the state.
This is even as three Chinese citizens were said to have been quarantined in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The Chinese Nationals, Sunday Vanguard gathered were in the state for mining activities.
Calls and text messages sent to the state Commissioner for Health, Nimkong Ndam, for confirmation were not responded to.
However, the State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Chairman, Titus Dajel, told Sunday Vanguard that: “Currently, Plateau State is not at risk.”
RIVERS: In-flight
Assessment begins
Rivers State government said it is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum surveillance at all international entry points in the state.
A statement by the Director Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Health, Dr. Chinwe Atata, said: “Surveillance at the International Airport Omagwa has been strengthened with multiple layers of screening from in-flight assessment and thermal cameras for early detection of  suspected cases as well as secondary screening for selected passengers.’’
BAYELSA: Residents calm
Despite the panic triggered by the confirmation of the first case of Coronavirus in the country, Bayelsa is calm with residents going about their normal businesses.
Though Governor Douye Diri is yet to constitute the state executive council, many residents, including private and public institutions are being cautious.
Also, Team Leader of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, Ibrahim Mamadu, lauded internal processes undertaken so far by Lafarge Africa to contain the deadly disease.
He, however, advised the company to acquire digital thermometers to check body temperatures instead of infrared thermometers for accurate body temperature readings.
On the prospects of vaccines, world’s richest man, Bill Gates, said Coronavirus vaccine could be ready for large-scale trials by June 2020.
Gates, who is the co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also said the virus has started to behave like a once-in-a-century pathogen.

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