The Federal Government says it has no plans to impose travel restrictions on visitors from countries where coronavirus continues to spread rapidly.
However, Nigeria has decided to screen visitors entering the country from China (where the disease originated last year), Japan, Iran, Italy, Germany, France, South Korea and Spain.
The killer disease was brought to Nigeria by an Italian man who arrived in Lagos aboard a Turkish Airlines plane on February 24.
He travelled from Lagos to Ogun State before he was quarantined in the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
There have been other cases of the virus, but they proved negative.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, said the FG decided to screen visitors from the eight countries after the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
The ex-Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker said, “Despite we have not recorded a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last one week in Nigeria, it is important to remember that we are still at high risk like other countries. We will continue to monitor returning travellers that fit our case definition and improve our surveillance, detection and risk communications.
“We have carried out a review of our case definition. We have added three new countries to the existing list of five high-risk countries with widespread community transmission. These are France, Germany and Spain. Therefore, eight countries are on our priority list – China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, France and Germany.
“Travellers from these eight countries will undertake secondary screening at the point of entry. They are also advised to self-isolate for 14 days on entry.”
He said between January 7 and March 15 48 people who had contact with the Italian were screened for coronavirus in Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers, Kano, Enugu states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Mamora added, “Forty-seven people have tested negative and have been cleared. One was positive (after contact with the index case) and one result is pending. There has been no death.
“The index case is clinically stable and has improved greatly.”
Enugu woman tests negative
Also, the minister said the woman that was placed in isolation in Enugu after being suspected of having coronavirus symptoms tested negative after the results came out on Sunday night.
He said, “In Enugu, a woman in her 70s returned from the UK and had symptoms of fever and mild respiratory illness. Her sample was collected for laboratory diagnosis and tested negative for COVID-19.
“Therefore, as of March 15, Nigeria has recorded two confirmed cases of COVID-19. One case is now negative and has been discharged from hospital.”
He advised Nigerians to not believe those saying black people were immune to coronavirus.
He said, “We should be conscious of not being complacent; the price to pay is huge. I have heard some of my friends saying the black man’s gene is resistant and so COVID-19 is not for us. We have had black men, even from Nigeria who are dead now. We have the story of a Nigerian doctor in Italy, he was a black man. We should not say that the tropical setting will not allow it. Research continues on COVID-19,”
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