• Monday, May 27, 2024
businessday logo


Nigeria’s third coronavirus case questions FG’s reluctance to impose travel restrictions

travel restrictions

Nigeria has so far recorded three cases of coronavirus, which is relatively fewer compared with some Africa countries and to the rest of the world. But this has gain questioned the decision of the Nigerian government to allow people from high-risk nations into the country.

Thirty African countries have recorded 418 coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday. Six countries – Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia account for more than half of the cases in Africa.

Other African countries are taking no chances as they race to stop the spread of the virus on their shores. Sudan has sealed off all seaports, land crossings and airports. Egypt is suspending all flights from all its airports to contain the virus ravaging the country.

Djibouti, even though has recorded just a single case, has suspended all international flights to the country. South Africa with about 62 cases has placed restrictions on foreign nationals entering into the country from high-risk countries including Italy, the UK, and the US.

Across Africa, hundreds of international flights have been cancelled and even visas issued to nationals from affected countries have been revoked. But Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, with one of the most underdeveloped healthcare system and high rate of poverty has been unwilling to restrict foreign travels.

“In today’s Nigeria, doctors who work in government-owned hospitals, both at the state and federal levels, do embark on incessant industrial action to call attention to their welfare condition,” says Chiedu Okoye, a public affairs commentator.

On Monday, Olorunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for health, told journalists that Nigeria had designated eight countries including France, Germany, Spain, China, Japan, Iran, Italy and Republic of Korea as high-risk nations and travellers from these countries would undertake secondary screening at the point of entry. They were also advised to self-isolate for 14 days on entry.

But many fear that these measures are not enough, indicating that the government is not taking it as serious as it should. Many responded to the tweet from Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State commissioner for health, announcing the new case by urging the government to restrict travel into Nigeria.

Third confirmed case
Abayomi said the infected person in this latest case, a female, 30-year-old Nigerian who came into the country on March 13 on-board British Airways (BA) 75, from the UK.

Related News

“She is in isolation and receiving care at Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, and contact tracing of all passengers and all those who may have come in contact with this latest case has commenced,” he said.
According to Abayomi, the woman went into self-isolation and was only in contact with her family.

Abayomi added that the woman lived with her parents, saying that the entire family had been moved to the IDH, Yaba, for isolation to see if they would develop symptoms of the virus.

He noted that while the woman had been moved to Isolation I Ward for treatment, those who boarded the plane with her would be traced, saying people in the flight with the woman should contact the government for appropriate advice on what to do.

The government would be doing aggressive contact tracing, he said, but confirmed the woman was doing well and did not need serious care at the moment.

Updating on the first recorded case, the commissioner said the Italian who brought coronavirus to Nigeria was still potentially contagious and would remain in isolation at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, until he no longer secrete the virus.

Abayomi, at a briefing on Tuesday, said the Italian was recovering and getting better but he would continue to remain in isolation until he was no longer posing health risk to other members of the community.

“The Italian has continued to remain in excellent form; our last test yesterday (Monday) shows he is till potentially contagious. We are going to do more test for him. The global practice is to conduct two negative tests 48 hours apart before releasing the coronavirus patient.

“We are still going to test the secretion from his lungs and urine to make sure he does not have any virus from his secretion. As soon as he is negative, we will discharge him. The secondary case first tested positive and later tested negative, he has been discharged yesterday (Monday) morning as he has recovered from the virus,” the commissioner said.

Joshua Bassey, Anthonia Obokoh, Isaac Anyaogu, Ifeoma Okeke, Olufikayo Owoeye