The Novel Coronavirus
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Federal Government of Nigeria has restricted entry into Nigeria for travellers from the following high incidence countries; China, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands & Switzerland. Effective from Saturday, 21st of March 2020 for an initial period of four weeks. These are countries with over 1,000 cases domestically. The Federal Government has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these countries with immediate effect.
Nigerians are strongly advised against non-essential travel to high incidence countries i.e. countries with over 1,000 cases domestically. All returning travellers from foreign countries are required to self-isolate for 14-days. The NCDC has disseminated information on the practice of self-isolation. Additionally, travellers returning from high risk countries will be actively followed-up for 14 days by the NCDC and Port Health Services.
The Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening measures at points of entry (Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and FCT). In addition to automated temperature screening at points of entry, travellers are given a contact form to fill and asked questions upon arrival about symptoms of illness and travel history. The NCDC is also working with the Nigerian Customs Services to enhance surveillance at land borders to prevent further importation of the disease.
Travelers in Nigeria
- Travelers without symptoms on departure who become unwell in transit should self-report immediately to the Port Health Services on arrival
- Travel restrictions have been imposed on travelers to Nigeria from China, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland
- All travelers returning to Nigeria from any country must self-isolate for 14 days, whether symptomatic or not. If symptoms develop in this time:
* Call the NCDC 24/7 toll-free line IMMEDIATELY on 080097000010
* Avoid self-medication
* Avoid contact with people
- Travelers from high risk countries must:
* Undergo secondary screening at the point of entry
* Self-isolate for 14 days after arrival, even if you do not show symptoms
* Be followed up by NCDC and Port Health Services
- Travelers from Nigeria to these countries are advised to avoid contact with sick people.
Advice for Health Workers
Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history. All health workers are strongly advised to maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19. Health officials are advised to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if you have a case that fits the national case definition.
Advice for Schools and Businesses
The NCDC has published and disseminated guidelines for safe gatherings on how to ensure preventive measures during gatherings. If there is sustained community transmission in Nigeria, various additional measures may be instituted. For now:
- Schools are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all staff, students and parents
- Businesses are advised to circulate NCDC’s public health advisory and related materials on COVID-19 to all employees, clients and visitors
- Encourage sick employees and students to stay at home if they are unwell.
- Ensure routine cleaning of high contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones etc.
- Provide facilities and emphasise the importance of hand washing
How to protect yourself
To reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:
- Keep a social distance of least 2 metres while in public and avoid large gatherings and crowded places such as supermarkets and outdoor markets.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap under running water or use alcohol-based sanitizer if water is not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use. You may also cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.
Countries with widespread community transmission as at 13th March, 2020: China, Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, Spain, France and Germany.
About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
COVID-19 appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. From current evidence about 98 persons out of 100 persons with the disease will recover. In about 10- 15% of cases, it will cause a severe illness. It appears that death is not a common outcome and occurs mostly in elderly patients with underlying health issues.
Currently, four laboratories in Nigeria can diagnose COVID-19. In addition to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, this includes the Virology Laboratory of Lagos University Teaching Hospital; Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in Ede, Osun State.
There is no specific treatment yet for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Therefore, treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition. Supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
…culled from the NCDC website. www.ncdc.gov.ng