Lagos government debunks coronavirus scare

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The Lagos state government on Thursday debunked rumours that a Chinese citizen who presented himself for test at the Reddington Hospital, Ikeja, had tested positive to the incurable disease.

Reacting, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, said contrary to speculation, the test was negative, assuring residents that there was no case of Coronavirus in the state at present.

Abayomi, in a statement, explained that the ministry’s attention was drawn to a suspected case of Coronavirus at Reddington Hospital, Ikeja.

“From our investigation, we gathered that a Chinese citizen, who arrived in Nigeria from China seven weeks ago, presented at Reddington Hospital on Wednesday, complaining about fever.

“The hospital in keeping with the advisory we earlier issued, correctly maintained a high index of suspicion, isolated the patient and reported the case to the Ministry.

“We took up the case, transferred the patient to the state isolation unit at the Mainland Hospital which is our specialised infectious disease hospital. His blood samples were taken to the Virology laboratory for analysis and it came out negative,” the Commissioner said.

Abayomi appealed to Lagos citizens on Thursday to refrain from posting unverified news about the coronavirus that can cause unnecessary anxiety in the state.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) also said the 11 suspected cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) tested in Nigeria were negative.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of NCDC, confirmed while assuring Nigerians of their safety against COVID-19, following rumours of a confirmed case in Lagos.

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He said the tests were conducted by the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and Virology Laboratory at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

Lagos and the Federal Government have been on hyper-alert for the virus, which has infected over 80,000 people worldwide and is on the rage in South Korea, Italy and Iran, outside of the epicentre in Wuhan, Hubei province of China. An estimated 2,744 people have died, mostly in China.

There have been nearly 50 deaths outside China, including 12 in Italy and 22 in Iran.

While Iran has reported only 139 cases, epidemiologists say the death rate of around 2% seen elsewhere suggest that the true number of cases must be many times higher.