Public Health Advisory To Nigerians On Coronavirus Disease (#5) for 15th March 2020
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This is an updated advisory on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This advisory will be updated frequently to reflect new information and research emerging on the disease and its impact on populations.
As at the 14th of March 2020, Nigeria has recorded two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The first case was an Italian traveller to Lagos and Ogun. The second case was a contact of the first case in Ogun.
On the 13th of March 2020, the second case was discharged having cleared the virus and tested negative twice. Identified contacts of the index case in Ogun and Lagos have completed their 14-day follow up period.
The Federal Ministry of Health, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has activated a national Emergency Operations Centre at the highest level and is leading the national response. A National Rapid Response Team has been deployed to support Lagos and Ogun State Governments with response activities.
Currently, there are five laboratories in NCDC’s molecular laboratory network with the capacity to test for COVID-19 in Nigeria. These laboratories are sufficiently equipped with reagents and supplies for testing.
The Federal Ministry of Health has also intensified surveillance at points of entry (Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and FCT) particularly for returning travellers with travel history to high risk countries with widespread community transmission*. Presently, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
An intensive communications campaign has begun to provide regular updates and accurate information to Nigerians on protecting themselves. This can be found on www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
To reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap under running water for at least 30 seconds or use alcohol-based sanitiser if water is not available.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness. Maintain at least 2 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing repeatedly.
- Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use. You may also cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available.
- Do not mingle with people or congregate if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough, sneezing or difficulty breathing.
Exit and entry screening has been intensified across several countries. This includes temperature checks and provision of accurate information on preventive measures at airports.
In Nigeria, the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening measures at points of entry. In addition to automated temperature screening at points of entry, travellers are given a contact form to fill and asked questions upon arrival about symptoms of illness and travel history.
TRAVELLERS TO NIGERIA
- Travellers without symptoms on departure but become unwell in transit should self-report immediately to the Port Health Services on arrival
- Travellers from countries with widespread community transmission* will:
- Undergo secondary screening at the point of entry
- Self-isolate for 14 days after arrival
- Be followed up by NCDC and Port Health Services
- If travellers from countries with widespread community transmission* feel ill with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, please:
- Observe self-isolation immediately by staying indoors and avoiding contact with people
- Call the NCDC 24/7 toll-free line IMMEDIATELY on 080097000010
- Avoid self-medication
TRAVELLERS TO COUNTRIES WITH ONGOING TRANSMISSION*
We strongly advise that all non-essential travel to countries with widespread community transmission should be postponed until the outbreak is contained.
Travellers from Nigeria to these countries are advised to avoid contact with sick people.
ADVICE FOR HEALTH WORKERS
Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history. All health workers are strongly advised to maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19. Health officials are advised to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if you have a case that fits the national case definition.
ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES
The current situation in the country does not warrant a shutdown of daily activities. If there is sustained community transmission in Nigeria, various additional measures may be instituted. For now:
- Schools are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all staff, students and parents.
- Businesses are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all employees, clients and visitors.
- Provide facilities for hand washing and emphasise the importance of this.
- Encourage sick employees and students to stay at home.
- Ensure routine cleaning of high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones etc.
ABOUT CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)
COVID-19 appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. From current evidence, about 98 persons out of 100 persons with the disease will recover.
In about 10- 15% of cases, it will cause a severe illness. It appears that death is not a common outcome and occurs mostly in elderly patients with underlying health issues.
There is no specific treatment yet for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition but supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is the government agency with the mandate to lead the prevention, detection, and control of communicable diseases. Its functions are to prevent, detect, investigate and control communicable diseases of national and international public health importance.
NCDC Toll-Free Number: 0800 9700 0010
Mobile number: 07036708970