Coronavirus: We’re tracing everyone in contact with Italian patient — Health Minister, Ehanire

by on February 28, 2020

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, says everyone that had contact with the Italian who imported COVID-19 better known as coronavirus into Lagos is being traced.

Ehanire, who disclosed this at the news conference in Abuja, said passengers on the same flight with the Italian are being traced as well as those who had contact with him elsewhere.

The Italian was confirmed to have the virus on Friday morning — about two days after he arrived in the country.

He returned from Milan, Italy, which has the highest rate of the infection in Europe.

Ehanire said the relevant authorities are working to find out where he has been to and whoever he came in contact with since he arrived in Nigeria.

“We have started working to identify all the contacts made by the patient since he entered Nigeria, even those with him on the aircraft,” the minister said.

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“We are working to find out where this gentleman was, where he sat, those who sat around him and set up a monitoring team for all the passengers and crew members of that flight in order to get information and monitor their state of health.

“We will advise anyone who has any symptoms to report and be monitored and be checked.”


Ehanire said no symptom was identified in the victim upon arrival at Lagos airport because symptoms in some cases do not manifest until a few days after infection.

“So, he walked through the screening with no symptoms,” he said. 

“By the time he got to his house, I think a day or two after, he started to feel unwell and, wisely enough, went to a hospital and there the doctors examined him.

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“So, it is not that it is a failure of screening. The screening went very well. The information I have this very morning is that he is stable, so all people will not be equally severe.”

The minister said Nigeria does not quarantine passengers arriving from abroad unless they are suspected to have the disease.

He said the country only keeps in touch with any passenger that has arrived from countries with a high record of the infection.

He said: “WHO advises that there is no need to put every single traveller into quarantine. There are some other countries who choose to do differently, but we followed the guideline of the WHO which states that you screen all persons who are entering your country and check their travel history. 

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“If they are coming from a country with a high record of coronavirus, invite them for further questioning, give them a phone number to call you and get their phone number. 

“And advise them in the interest of their own family and friends to stay in self isolation for 14 days and report any symptoms immediately. We also call you to find out how you are.”

He added that besides the Italian not showing “very serious” symptoms, “as far as statistics are concerned, up to 97 percent of people who are known to have coronavirus do recover”.

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