The second confirmed Covid-19 case in Nigeria has now tested negative of the virus, the health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said on Friday.
Mr Ehanire said, in Abuja, that the country has so far reported only two cases – one in the index case, an Italian businessman who had flown into the country and the second, one of the persons who had been in contact with the index case.
The minister said “the second confirmed case, a contact of the index case is testing negative for the virus, meaning he has cleared the virus and will be allowed to go home.”
He added that the index case is also clinically stable and is much improved.
“Steady progress till early next week will guide the medical team in discharging him.”
“As at today, 13th of March, Nigeria has recorded still 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,” Mr Ehanire said.
Meanwhile, the minister said the country will continue with surveillance for the disease especially from those coming in from the airports.
He said risk of importing the virus into the country is higher among air travellers than roads or sea.
He added that that does not mean that the government will not continue surveillance at other points of entry, – the ministry will be working with the port health service to maintain surveillance and prevention of disease importation into the country.
“The multi-sectoral EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) continues to oversee national response activities.
“We have progressed 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,” he said.
The minister said following the pronouncement of Covid-19 as a pandemic, Nigeria has begun a review of its case definition of the disease.
He said the definition of cases was reviewed due to the local case which was asymptomatic but tested positive to the virus.
“We continue to monitor all incoming travellers, and select those that fit our case definition for secondary screening,” he said.
Mr Ehanire said between January 7 and March 12, 2020, a total 42 people who met Nigeria’s case definition have been screened for COVID-19 in six states – Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers, Kano and FCT.
Out of those tested, 40 tested negative and two were confirmed positive: the index case and a contact of the index case, with no deaths.
He said the index case is now clinically stable and is much improved.
“Steady progress till early next week will guide the medical team in discharging him. The second confirmed case, a contact of the index case is testing negative for the virus, meaning he has cleared the virus and will be allowed to go home,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister said a group of four children and their teacher flew into Lagos from the U.S. and have also tested negative but are in isolation.
He said isolation was necessary despite the result because they were coming from a region with Covid-19 outbreak.
“Prior to their arrival, Nigeria CDC was informed by US-CDC, that this group had been in the same space with a confirmed case.
We, therefore, sent these travellers 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, he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer, National Hospital, Abuja, Jaff Momoh, said most of the teaching hospitals (especially those in cities where international airports are located) are already working on isolation centres which could serve as backup for isolation unit for Covid-19 cases.