An Italian citizen who flew from Milan to Nigeria became the first confirmed coronavirus or COVID-19 patient of sub-Saharan Africa this Friday. The Nigerian Health commissioner said that the patient did not show any symptoms when he landed Algeria on February 17. He was screened at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos when he arrived. He started to develop a fever after going to work at a cement factory that is 60 miles north from Lagos.
The patient was sent back to Lagos where he is being treated at a hospital that has been set aside to deal with coronavirus. Around 60 doctors were sent to Lagos main airport to assist in the ongoing screening.
What do officials say about the condition in Africa?
Dr Ngozi Erondu from Global Health Program at Chatham House said, "Nigeria's confirmation of the coronavirus case in just two days was a very positive reflection of the disease surveillance and laboratory capacity in Nigeria."
World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Coronavirus can be devastating in Africa due to their weak health care and disease surveillance systems. The Nigerian health system, which gained a good reputation while dealing with Ebola cases in 2014, responded quickly on the appearance of the suspected case of coronavirus. President of the Nigeria Medical Association has expressed fears over the safety of health workers in the country.
According to Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 African countries out of 54 have been reported with coronavirus cases. Whereas globally more than 85,000 people have been infected and around 3,000 people died affecting more than 60 countries.
Health authorities are advising people to constantly wash their hands with soap and water. Use alcohol-based sanitizers to avoid in getting contact with the virus. They are also told to stay at home if any of them show symptoms like regular cough and sneezing and use tissue or sleeves while coughing and sneezing. One should avoid directly touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.