The Lagos State Government has alerted its citizens on the spread of novel Coronavirus (nCoV) which, according to it, is currently raging in China and has been reported in other parts of the world, causing no fewer than nine deaths.
According to the the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who made this known on Thursday in Lagos, the state is ramping up its level of preparedness considering the large commercial trading traffic among Nigeria, China and Thailand.
Coronaviruses are large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The common signs and symptoms of the infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.
“As of Jan. 22, a total of 471 cases have been confirmed in South East Asia and U.S with nine deaths.
“There is evidence now that the infection is able to spread from person to person.
“The Lagos State Biosecurity Team, in collaboration with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) is currently working on building urgent capacity to identify the virus in our Biosecurity facility and isolation wards located at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba in the event of any suspected case arriving in Lagos State.
“We are in touch with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja to align our strategies.
“Importantly, we are also collaborating with the Federal Ports Authority at air, land and sea border posts to elevate screening and surveillance of incoming travellers”, Abayomi said.
The commissioner urged citizens to adopt and practice high standard of personal and environmental hygiene, including regular hand washing, covering of mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
Others are: avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing, practice good biosecurity precautions with domestic and wild animals as measures against the transmission of any kind of contagious infections, nCoV inclusive.
He advised citizens travelling from South East Asia or any country where the infection had been reported or who have had contact with travellers from that region and are experiencing above outlined symptoms associated with the disease to go to the nearest health facility for immediate assessment and treatment.
“The Lagos State Government is committed to the health and safety of her citizens and so, there is no cause for panic or alarm.
“This alert is just to assure you that we are preparing for any eventuality as directed by Mr Governor,” Abayomi said.