Lagosians, Beware! A New Virus May Be Coming to Town

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Lagosians, Beware! A New Virus May Be Coming to Town

Lagosians, Beware! A New Virus May Be Coming to Town
January 24
11:24 2020

There is a new virus on the loose. And it is coming from China, the most populous country in the world. The new pneumonia-like virus, named the novel Coronavirus (nCoV), which first emerged at the end of December 2019, has killed at least 17 people and sickened more than 570, including in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the United States. It has raised the spectre of a repeat of the Ebola epidemic, which broke out in Africa in 2014 and spread rapidly across the continent particularly in Liberia and Nigeria.

Now, there is a fear that the virus could be imported to the country, particularly Lagos because China is a major commercial hub for many Nigerian business people.

Lagos is Nigeria’s most important state. Home to about 20million people, it is the heartbeat and economic nerve-centre of Nigeria and the fifth biggest economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Conversely, anything that affects Lagos would affect the entire Nigeria and, by extension, neighbouring countries. Lagos is that pivotal. Understandably, health officials feared that should the coronavirus reach Lagos, the impact would be dire and devastating.
However, the Lagos State government says that as yet, no cases of the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) have been identified in Lagos or Nigeria and that it has increased preparedness against the virus.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, has disclosed that the state was ramping up its level of preparedness considering the large commercial trading traffic between Nigeria, China and Thailand.

Abayomi concurred that the virus was currently raging in China and had been reported in some countries including the U.S.A, which had caused no fewer than nine deaths. He said that as of Jan. 22, a total of 471 cases had been confirmed in South East Asia and the U.S with nine deaths and that there is evidence that the infection can spread from person to person.

According to Prof. Abayomi, “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.”

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, avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as coughing and sneezing, and practice good biosecurity precautions with domestic and wild animals as measures against the transmission of any kind of contagious infection, 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 experiencing any symptom 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.

Coronaviruses can infect both animals and people, and cause illnesses of the respiratory tract, ranging from the common cold to severe conditions like high fever, difficult breathing and lung lesions. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, making detection very difficult. The incubation period — the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms — is believed to be about two weeks. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

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