Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has admitted that except they act fast, the spread of COVID-19 could be similar to outbreaks in Italy and China.
Ehanire, briefing reporters on Monday, disclosed that 179 persons had contact with the Italian, who brought the first case of coronavirus to Nigeria.
The Minister noted that only one contact with the index patient tested positive.
“In less than 48 hours, the Italian who came to Nigeria (index case) was identified. The contacts we found for him were 179. They were all traced and monitored. Out of the 179, one was positive and put in isolation with the Italian. Both were cured and discharged.
“If other cases had not come to Nigeria, that would have been the end of COVID19 in Nigeria. But other cases came in that were not part of the first one. That is why we are saying that you do not compare what we have now with what we have in China or Italy. If we do not act fast, we could be heading in something dangerous like that (in China and Italy). They now transmit among themselves.
“We have to get those who have been infected now. If we don’t, it may be a serious burden in the system. I am sure some are hiding, they will not report for whatever reason. Nobody will be arrested or asked to pay anything. Those who are returning now are Nigerians. With the closure of our airports, we will reduce inflow of new cases and deal with the ones we already have,” Ehanire said.