The Lagos State Government says no cases of the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) have been identified in Lagos or Nigeria, saying it has increased preparedness against the virus.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the State Commissioner for Health, made this known on Thursday in Lagos, saying that the state was ramping up its level of preparedness considering the large commercial trading traffic between Nigeria, China, and Thailand.
Abayomi said in a statement that the virus was currently raging in China and had been reported in some countries of the world including the U.S, which had caused no fewer than nine deaths.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The common signs and symptoms of the infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
Abayomi said: “As of Jan. 22, a total of 471 cases have been confirmed in South East Asia and the U.S with nine deaths.
“There is evidence now that the infection is able to spread from person to person.
“The Lagos State Biosecurity Team, in collaboration with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) is currently working on building urgent capacity to identify the virus in our Biosecurity facility and isolation wards located at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba in the event of any suspected case arriving in Lagos State.
“We are in touch with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja to align our strategies.
“Importantly, we are also collaborating with the Federal Ports Authority at air, land and sea border posts to elevate screening and surveillance of incoming travelers.”
The commissioner urged citizens to adopt and practice a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene, including regular hand washing, covering of mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
Others are: avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing, practice good biosecurity precautions with domestic and wild animals as measures against the transmission of any kind of contagious infection, nCoV inclusive.
He advised citizens traveling from South East Asia or any country where the infection had been reported or who have had contact with travelers from that region and experiencing the above-outlined symptoms associated with the disease to go to the nearest health facility for immediate assessment and treatment.
“The Lagos State Government is committed to the health and safety of her citizens and so, there is no cause for panic or alarm.
“This alert is just to assure you that we are preparing for any eventuality as directed by Mr. Governor,” Abayomi said.