The sad story began at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos, few hours after the Senate raised alarm that the Federal Government was not doing enough to prevent Nigerians from being infected with the Coronavirus.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan had said that while the Federal may be carrying out some proactive steps, it was not doing enough and this must be improved on if Nigeria must escape from the infection. The Senate had berated the Federal Government for not doing enough to screen passengers coming into the country from the nation’s airports and seaports.
The Senate said that anyone coming from China into Nigeria must henceforth be quarantined, not self-isolation to ensure that Carriers of the Virus do not transfer the disease to others, just as it said that the Country’s Ports, Airports and Seaports must be properly manned, with the officials carrying out thorough search on the People.
While the Senate was focusing on China in its alarm, the virus had other plans – to walk into Nigeria through Italy; And it successfully did so through Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos, as was confirmed by the Ministry of Health early Friday morning.
An Italian business man had arrived Lagos and casually walked into the city through the airport without being detected, quarantined or even looked at twice. As he got to his destination he took ill.
Now, hundreds of people could be at risk, from the officials who probably searched him and his luggage at the airport, to the taxi driver that dropped him from the airport to his house, and the passengers of the airplane who were sitting by his side in the plane or lining up at the airport to be checked into Lagos with him. These are the ones who had possible close contact with him.
The next set of Nigerians at risk is the family members of airport staff who came in contact with the Italian and all other officials and passengers who came close to him.
This is happening in a country that was only paying lip service to the coronavirus scourge as a resul of which the Senate raised alarm.
This is not rumour; it has been confirmed by the Ministry of health and carried by virtually every credible media house, including CNN.
The Ministry of Health in Lagos State confirmed its first case of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), incidentally the first in Nigeria and in West Africa since the outbreak in China in January 2020.
This was contained in a statement released Friday morning by the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi.
It is the second confirmed case in Africa following one recently recorded in Algeria in North Africa.
The novel virus is fast spreading, having been reported in over 20 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and lately in Africa.
Like the case confirmed in Algeria, the victim, an Italian traveller, arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday from Milan on a business trip.
The victim used the Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos.
The victim whose name was not identified is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
The Lagos State Government said it has reported it to the Federal Ministry of Health.
The statement from the government read, “The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.
“He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.”
The state government said it is working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other preparedness groups to ensure the case is effectively managed out of circulation.
The Italian is now in isolation and the Lagos State government said it has begun a massive manhunt for all the people who had made a contact with Italian who for testing positive for coronavirus. How the Lagos state government officials will know exactly all those who came in contact with the Italian is a huge task indeed.