Monday, March 2, 2020

Nigeria Finds Over 100 People Exposed to First Coronavirus Case

Nigerian health authorities have reached out to over 100 people who had contact with the Italian man who tested positive for the coronavirus and asked them to remain in self-isolation.

The Italian citizen arrived in Lagos earlier this week on a commercial flight from Milan and traveled to neighboring Ogun state for business. He’s the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lafarge Africa Plc said it has quarantined 39 people who were in contact with him, a vendor for the company. It added in a statement that its cement factory in Ogun state remains open.

Authorities traced people who traveled with the patient and stayed at the same hotel and asked for them to remain isolated for 14 days while undergoing daily temperature checks, said Akin Abayomi, the Lagos state commissioner for health.

“The numbers keep changing -- they are going up gradually,” said Abayomi, adding that he calculates authorities have identified more than 100 people across the country. He said none of those in isolation in Lagos have presented any symptoms yet.

Nigerians have complained on social media about shortages of face masks and hand sanitizer in Lagos and the capital Abuja, with some saying prices have tripled.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, the country’s biggest city with about 20 million people, suspended shaking hands during Mass and called on congregations to reduce gatherings over Lent.

The Italian man who tested positive for the virus is in stable condition and showing signs of improvement, Abayomi said. He denied local media reports that the patient had tried to escape isolation due to poor conditions in the hospital, but said he was moved to another facility because the ward was undergoing renovation.

By Alonso Soto, With assistance by Tope Alake, and Anthony Osae-Brown


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