File: Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi (middle) briefing newsmen, with other government officials

The Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Professor Akin Abayomi said that the Chinese citizen who presented at the Reddington Hospital, Ikeja yesterday and who was suspected to have Coronavirus has tested negative to the infection.

Abayomi made this known on Thursday morning in Lagos and gave assurance to residents that there was no case of Coronavirus in the state at present.

“I will like to reassure Lagosians that our vigilance levels are very high and we are putting more measures in place to safeguard the state,” he said.

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.

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“His blood samples were taken to the Virology laboratory for analysis and it came out negative,” the Commissioner said.

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.

In France, a second person died – a teacher who had not visited any country with a known outbreak.

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.

Cases linked to Iran have been reported across the Middle East. Iraq imposed travel bans to affected countries and barred public gatherings.

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

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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 this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu reassured Nigerians of their safety against COVID-19, following rumours of a confirmed case in Lagos.

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

“Four laboratories in Nigeria have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. These laboratories are within the NCDC laboratory network and are in contact 24/7. If a new case is confirmed, it will be reported accordingly.

“We are in close communication with the Lagos State Ministry of Health and other states, and will inform the public once there’s a confirmed case in Nigeria,” the director-general said.

Ihekweazu assured Nigerians that the NCDC would continue to closely monitor the outbreak globally.

“We urge Nigerians to disregard rumours and discourage further spread. NCDC will inform the public if a case is reported in Nigeria,” he said.

The NCDC boss said that when a high-risk traveller with symptoms arrive in the country, he/ she would be taken from the airport to an isolation centre and samples would be collected immediately for testing.

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“If confirmed, appropriate management will commence but if negative, he/she would still be monitored for 14 days and retested.

“When a high-risk traveller that is not symptomatic comes into the country, the person is advised to stay at home for 14 days and report immediately if he/she develops symptoms.

“Furthermore, his contact details are obtained and an official is attached to him/her to monitor him daily for 14 days to see if he develops symptoms.

“If he develops symptoms within 14 days of arrival in the country, samples would be collected from him for confirmation.

“If confirmed he/she goes into our isolation centre where he would be managed appropriately,” he explained.