As of 4th April 2020, the coronavirus infection has reached more than 1,118,921 people worldwide, out of which 226,769 people have recovered. However, 58,937 deaths have been confirmed. This novel virus disease of corona family named as COVID-19 emerged last December in the city of Wuhan, the Hubei Province of China, and shortly afterwards declared by World Health Organization (WHO) as pandemic given its quick and far-reaching outbreak in several countries worldwide reaching almost 180 countries and territories currently.
The first coronavirus case in Nigeria was announced on 27th February 2020 after an Italian national was diagnosed positive for the virus in Lagos. On 9th March 2020, following the arrival of the reported case of the Italian man who works in the neighboring Ogun state, a Nigerian who reportedly had a body contact with the infected Italian man in the Ewekoro town was also diagnosed positive for the virus. Ever since, the infection of COVID-19 has been proliferating in Nigeria, reaching a number of 210 people as of Saturday, 4th April, 2020, including the Nigerian chief of staff, Abba Kyari, four out of the 36 state governors, the son of the former vice president and several others. Out of the entire figure announced in the country, 25 people have recovered, while 4 death cases were reported. The infection of this deadly virus disease has so far reached 13 states including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The Nigerian government has strived to curb the spread of this deadly infectious disease through some measures, one of which is the setting up of a coronavirus preparedness group (established by The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) whose members were drawn from Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health and several other stakeholders. The body is entrusted with the task of daily meeting during which to review the cases of coronavirus infections worldwide and follow up with the new developments and findings about the disease with a view to heightening the level of preparedness to fight the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
However, the figure announced of coronavirus infection so far in Nigeria is still believed to be inaccurate as there are presumably several other cases which are undetected given the current level of preparedness to fight the disease and the extent to which the detection apparatuses are working to achieve the desired outcome. According to the report published by Qiraat Africa on the 19th of March 2020, World Health Organization’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it known that China, whereby the coronavirus broke out in the last December, has a robust health system capable of detecting cases of infection and fighting the disease. As he said, the organization is however concerned about the cases of this pandemic in African countries with weak health system whereby the reported cases cannot be held as the whole cases of coronavirus infection therein. Nonetheless, there should be a number of cases that are undetected so far in the region.
Measures to curb the deadly coronavirus in Nigeria
From the end of last January until the closure of the Nigerian borders in the 2nd half of March 2020, screening exercise was intensified at the Nigerian points of entry, particularly on passengers arriving from China and other countries of reported cases of coronavirus infection. Government also organized for four laboratories within the country whereby the arriving passengers were quarantined for a period of 14 days following their arrival. Among the measures taken to contain the proliferation of coronavirus in the country is the release of a sum of 10 billion naira to Lagos, the epicenter of virus cases in Nigeria, to fight the outbreak of the disease in the state as well as empower other states in achieving a common purpose.
Moreover, another sum of 5 billion naira was released to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with which to equip its apparatuses across the country for the operation of fighting the disease. On the 30th of March, 2020, a 14-day lockdown – with effect from 31st March – was declared on the country’s major commercial hub, Lagos, the neighboring Ogun state, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in efforts to decelerate the spread rate of the deadly COVID-19.
Indeed the Nigerian government has exerted strenuous efforts in containing coronavirus in the country through the foregoing measures taken so far, even though the cases of infection of this deadly virus appears to be more sprawling than expected.
Coronavirus and lesson to be derived in Nigeria
As a result of the lockdown and closure of borders across the world, the coronavirus infected Nigerian elites are automatically compelled to manage to seek medical treatment in Nigeria whose overall health system is considered weak. Due to corruption and public fund mismanagement, the Nigerian medical and health sector has over the years suffered inadequate supply of modern sophisticated medical facilities and shortage of medical personnel most of whom have found their way to Europe and America for better employment offers.
Ever since the installation of the current regime, no considerable efforts have been made to improve the health and wellbeing of the Nigerians since the government officials and citizens of high class can afford to go abroad for medical treatment. Now that everyone, including the government officials, does not have a choice other than to stick to the Nigeria hospitals for medical checkups and treatment, the government is envisaged to see the urgent need to heighten their focus on the sector and do all it takes to make the system robust enough to maintain health and wellness of the Nigerians as well as fight not only the current coronavirus disease but also future epidemics.
Qiraat Africa, 19th March, 2020: http://qiraatafrican.com/en/new/who-africa-could-have-undetected-unreported-coronavirus-cases#sthash.TclvXVlt.dLUnQboC.dpbs