By Cecilia Ologunagba/Abujah Racheal
The Federal Government says the second confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), a contact of the index case has tested negative to the virus.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire confirmed the development at the 7th series of news conference on COVID-19.
Ehanire said since the case had been cleared from the virus, he would be allowed to go home.
The minister had on Monday confirmed the second case of COVID-19, a contact of the index case and that it was not a new importation into the country.
He said that the case was one of the 40 people, who had contact with the Italian that had been isolated and was under clinical follow-up.
Ehanire said the ministry would continue to monitor all incoming travelers, and select those that fit the case definition for secondary screening.
“Following declaration of a pandemic and increasing spread in countries, we have begun a review of our case definition.
“However, Nigeria has not yet placed a travel ban on any country, passport or flights.
“Between January 7 and March 12, a total of 42 people who met our case definition have been screened for COVID-19 in six states: Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers, Kano and FCT.
“Out of which 40 tested negative and two were confirmed positive, the index case and a contact of index case, with no deaths,” he said.
The minister said the index case was clinically stable and was much improved, adding that steady progress till early next week would guide the medical team in discharging him.
He told the journalists that a group of four children and their teacher flew into Lagos from the United States.
“Prior to their arrival, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was informed by the U.S.-CDC, that this group had been in the same space with a confirmed case.
“We therefore, sent these travelers into isolation on their arrival, tests were done, which came back negative for all of them. They will stay in self-isolation for 14 days.
“As at today, March 13, 2020, Nigeria has recorded just two confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“One case is now negative and will be discharged from care, while the other will follow in a few days.
“After 14 days of follow up with no symptoms, all contacts of the index case will be permitted to go home and rejoin society,” the minister said.
In addition, Ehanire said the multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) would continue to oversee national response activities.
He said the ministry had made progress in assessing treatment centres and have now ensured that every state identifies a location that can be used to manage cases.
“We are supporting these states to scale up capacity to meet existing needs,” the minister said.
In addition, he said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria on Thursday to update them on Nigeria’s response strategy.
The minister also called for cooperation in responding to the pandemic and urged their governments to introduce tight health screening at their points of departure to reduce risk of virus exportation to other countries.
“WHO has now declared COVID-19 pandemic. It calls for cooperation and collaborative action to increase resources to quickly detect and control this outbreak.
“It is not a call for fear and panic; COVID-19 cases in China have continued to decline, evidence that the pandemic can be controlled.
“The ministry is monitoring the global situation closely and seeking WHO advice.
“The ministry through Port Health Services will prioritise measures for the containment of COVID-19, especially the screening of passengers at Points of Entry,” he said.
The minister, however, advised citizens to discourage the spread of misinformation saying; “please ignore them as the only intent is to cause fear and panic.
“Rely only on information from authorised channels of the Ministry of Health, NCDC or State Ministry of Health.
“NCDC has inaugurated a new website focused solely on COVID-19.
“It is updated daily and has information needed, including daily situation reports, guidance for schools, guidelines for health workers and more.
“The website is covid19.ncdc.gov.ng,” he said.