Coronavirus: Confirmed cases hit 40 as FG warns Nigeria heading for crisis faced by China, Italy

Coronavirus: Confirmed cases hit 40 as FG warns Nigeria heading for crisis faced by China, Italy

The number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Nigeria swelled to 40 on Monday; even as the Federal Government has warned that Nigeria may be heading for the same crisis faced by China and Italy.

Earlier on Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had pegged the number of confirmed cases at 36. However, this figure was revised to 40 by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday night.  Also, one death has been recorded so far.

Equally important, this was disclosed via its official handle on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Specifically, the NCDC revealed that four new coronavirus cases had been confirmed; three of them in Lagos and the other in Abuja.

‘Four new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria. 3 are in Lagos State and 1 in FCT. Two of these cases are returning travellers. As at 11:00pm on the 23rd of March, there are 40 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria. 2 have been discharged with 1 death recorded.”

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Meanwhile, the Health Minister, Dr. Enahire has revealed that Nigeria may have been free of the dreaded coronavirus; after the discovery of the index case of the Italian; if not for the new cases from returnee Nigerians to high-burden countries.

Consequently, he has warned that Nigeria may encounter the same fate faced by China and Italy; especially if the country fails at identifying those who have already contracted the virus and isolate them for immediate treatment.

Coronavirus - Osagie Ehanire
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

In fact, he noted that 179 persons had contact with the Italian who represented the index case. Further, he revealed that all those contacts had been traced and monitored.

“In less than 48 hours, the Italian who came to Nigeria (index case) was identified. The contacts we found for him were 179. They were all traced and monitored. Out of the 179, one was positive and put in isolation with the Italian. Both were cured and discharged.

“If other cases had not come to Nigeria, that would have been the end of COVID-19 in Nigeria. But other cases came that were not part of the first one. That is why we are saying that you do not compare what we have now with what they have in China or Italy. If we do not act fast, we could be heading in something dangerous like that (in China and Italy). They now transmit, among themselves,’’ he warned.

Further, he claimed that some infected Nigerians are presently hiding; noting that this portends a dangerous situation for the country.

“We have to get those who have been infected now. If we don’t, it may be a serious burden in the system. I am sure some are hiding. They will not report for whatever reason. Nobody will be arrested or asked to pay anything. Those who are returning now are Nigerians. With the closure of our airports, we will reduce inflow of new cases and deal with the ones we already have.”

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