Ogun State Government has denied reports that a taxi driver who drove the Coronavirus victim from Lagos to Ewekoro, had escaped.
Report had gone viral on social media that the driver had demanded N100 million, threatening to spread the chronic virus, if not paid.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin, described the report as “figment of the imagination of some unscrupulous elements whose desire is to incite fear in the members of the public.”
It said there is no reason to panic, adding that the situation is being controlled and contained.
According to the statement, everyone that had any link with the Italian victim of the dreaded virus since he arrived the country has been quarantined, while others who had primary contacts interactions with victims are equally being monitored.
It reads: “We wish to put it straight that there is nothing of such. It is the figment of the imagination of some unscrupulous elements whose desire is to incite fear in the members of the public.
“This period calls for sombre, responsible and responsive actions. COVID-19 is challenging the global community like no other disease in the past. The government is treating the challenge as such. How to contain and provide lasting solution to the scourge is our concern. We do not wish to dissipate energy on responding to this kind of frivolity. We all must be sensitive at this critical time in our history.
“As a government, we assure that all the people already quarantined are in good spirit and they are cooperating with our medical personnel.
“Besides, we already have the phone number of some few other contacts the Italian national came close to and they are being monitored.
“There is no reason to panic. The situation is being controlled and contained.
“It is therefore important we do what is expected of us as individuals in terms of personal hygiene and in ensuring that we sensitize those suspected of symptoms associated with COVID-19.”
Nigeria’s first case
The Federal Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
Minister of Health, Doctor Osagie Ehanire, in a statement, said the case, confirmed in Lagos State was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos on the 25th of February.
He said: “He was confirmed by the virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the laboratory network in the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”
Dr Ehanire said the patient was being managed by the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos and was clinically stable, with no serious symptoms.
This makes Nigeria the third country with the disease in Africa. Algeria had confirmed its first case on Wednesday while Egypt reported Africa’s first COVID-19 case earlier this month.
As at Friday morning, 82, 294 cases of the disease have been confirmed globally.
Cement factory quarantined
Ogun state government said that the whole facility of a cement factory in Ewekoro, Ogun State has been quarantined following the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria.
The government said the victim, an Italian who is a consultant to the company, had visited the cement factory on Tuesday.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, who disclosed this on Friday while addressing journalists in Abeokuta, the state capital, said the victim had developed fever and was treated at the clinic located in the company’s facility before he was rushed to Lagos on Wednesday when the case grew worse.
The Commissioner, who was flanked by the Special Adviser Public Communication, Remmy Hazzan; Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin and top officials from the Ministry of Health during the briefing, said a team of epidemiologists have commenced line listing to detect all contacts the victim made during his stay in the state.