The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on Saturday confirmed 10 new cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria, less than 24 hours after the discharge from hospital of the COVID-19 index case.
Government immediately placed a ban on international flights in and out of the country.
The Lagos State Government pegged attendance at social, religious and other gatherings at 20 people as against the 50 announced earlier in the week.
The new rule sparked confusion especially in churches which had re-ordered their services to accommodate not more than 50 at a time.
The police said they had deployed adequate resources across the state to ensure enforcement of restriction on social and religious gatherings.
Seven of the new coronavirus cases are in Lagos State, and three in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to bring the total number in the country to 22.
Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in Abuja that all 10 new cases are Nigerians.
Of the total of 22 cases Lagos has 16; FCT, three; Ekiti, one ; and Ogun, two.
Nine of the 10 new cases, according to the minister, “have travel history to Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom,” and returned home over the last one week.
He said the 10th case, who is in his 50s is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.
His words: “The three cases in the FCT are being treated at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada while the seven new cases in Lagos are being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba. All 10 new cases have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving treatment.
“As of March 21, 2020, 22 cases have been confirmed, two cases have been discharged and there has been no death from COVID-19 in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria remains committed to working with states to provide optimal care for all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.”
He said contact tracing was ongoing to “identify all persons who have been in contact with the new confirmed cases. The Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening at all air, land and sea points of entry into Nigeria and adapted the protocols to reflect the travel guidance issued by the Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) supported by partners continues to coordinate response activities and strengthen preparedness capacity across states nationwide.”
He added: “An intensive national risk communications campaign is ongoing to inform Nigerians about COVID-19. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) working closely with states and the Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to review response activities and institute measures to protect the health of Nigerians.
“It is important that Nigerians strictly adhere to social distancing and other necessary precautions in place. These measures include taking the following precautions below to protect yourself and your family.”
Dr. Ehanire advised people to wash hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if no water and soap is available, maintain social distancing as it is crucial to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through; use of no-touch greetings, maintaining at least 2 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
He also advised people to stay home if they feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Immediately call NCDC’s 24/7 toll-free number 0800 9700 0010.
“Do not self-medicate, and avoid or postpone events with large gatherings of people including schools, workplaces, places of worship, crowded supermarkets and pharmacies, social and sporting events
“Persons with a persistent cough or sneezing, should stay at home until they recover. Make sure you and people around you observe hand and respiratory hygiene by: Covering your nose with tissue when sneezing or coughing.
“Immediately dispose of tissue in a covered bin and wash your hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available. Cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your bent elbow if no tissue is available, and avoid all non-essential travel to all countries.
“The Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control will maintain a real-time update on new cases through the website: covid19.ncdc.gov.ng. We will continue to provide updates as and when they become available. The Federal Ministry of Health reiterates its commitment to ensure the control of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria,” he said.
Culled from The Nation