The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) says state governors have initiated surveillance and emergency responses in all states to tackle an outbreak of coronavirus in the country. The forum said the measures would ensure a quick response and that attention is given to anyone showing symptoms of the disease. The NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said this in a statement on Friday.
Mr Fayemi also assured that resources would be deployed across states to contain further spread of the virus. He urged citizens to desist from the spread of fake news and misinformation “that can trigger fear, panic and chaos”.
On Friday, Nigerians woke up to the news that an unidentified Italian businessman who tested positive for the virus at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, had been taken to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba.
The Senate health committee has earlier asked the Federal Ministry of Health to set up a ‘Health War Room’. The Federal government has also released N386 million to two health agencies to curtail the spread of the virus. Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, broke out in Wuhan in Hubei province of China in December last year. The disease has infected over 1716 medical workers in China alone and over 73,000 in 25 countries, causing not less than 1,875 deaths. Majority of the deaths were recorded in Wuhan. The exact cause of the disease has not been determined, neither has a cure been found.
READ THE FULL NGF STATEMENT
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum takes note of the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case reported in Lagos State, on 27th of February, 2020. The case, which is the first reported in Sub-Saharan Africa, is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and journeyed from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria through Istanbul, Turkey on the 25th of February 2020 and is said to have spent some time in Ogun state.
The patient is said to be clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is currently being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos. Since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was designated as a global epidemic, the State Governments have been strengthening emergency response preparedness and capabilities in conjunction with the Federal Government and all other relevant Agencies.
In response to the first case reported, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has already activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and is working closely with Lagos State Ministry of Health to respond to this case and implement firm control measures to prevent further widespread. As a forum of proactive Governors, we have initiated surveillance and emergency response in all states to ensure that quick response and attention is given to anyone showing symptoms of the disease.
We encourage the citizens to self-quarantine if they notice symptoms related to the viral disease and contact the nearest health facility within the states. We will deploy all resources available to respond and contain further spread of the virus. We hereby appeal to the general public to be calm and follow precautionary measures recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant government agencies.
We also enjoin citizens not to spread fake news and misinformation that can trigger fear, panic and chaos. The Federal Ministry of Health and other designated Federal and State agencies will provide the relevant updates related to the disease.
By Mahmud Abdulsalam,