GLOBAL concern over Coronavirus (COVID-19) heightened on Monday.
The Lagos State Government said it was yet to trace the 158 passengers aboardÂ the Turkish airliner that flew in the Italian who is Nigeriaâs index case of the virus.
It restated that while someÂ of the passengers had travelled to other states in Nigeria, others hadÂ gone back to Europe.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated this during a meeting with chairmen ofÂ Â Local Government Councils, Local Council Development Areas, Community DevelopmentÂ AssociationsÂ and All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwartsÂ on how to effectively prevent the spread of the virus.
HeÂ added thatÂ some of the passengers who were contacted on the telephone, gave âfalse information.â
âThere were 25 people who came in contact with him at the factory(in Ogun State); there were two drivers and an ambulance driver. We have quarantined those identified so far at our medical facilities and some of them at home.
âWe are calling them twice a day to check if they are okay. If they develop symptoms, we will bring them to our bio-security facility for test.
âWe have identified all of these people except some of the people, on the aircraft who have either gone back to Europe or travelled toÂ other states.
âSome of them gave us false information on the telephone. We are still trying to find the remaining passengers on that aircraft every day. Our contact list is over 100 persons and this number is increasing every day.â
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said two more foreign nationals suspected to have beenÂ infectedÂ in Asia tested negative.
He explained thatÂ 34 Nigerians the Italian had contact with in Lagos and Ogun StatesÂ had been reached with some quarantined and others in close observation.
The governor said:âThere were 159 passengers in the aircraft and six people that came in contact with him at the airport.
The governor said a series of medical examinations at the Stateâs bio-security facility conducted on the two foreign patients that wereÂ brought from Ogun State over the weekend, did not show any sign of COVID-19 infection.
Sanwo-OluÂ told the gathering that the ItalianÂ was improving.
He said: âWe have called for this meeting as part of proactive measures we are taking to prevent the spread of Coronavirus to our local communities. It is no more news that we are managing a case in Lagos, but the situation does not call for panic.
âWe donât want to record any loss of life to this virus. My administration places premium value on human life, which is the reason we have upgraded facilities at our bio-security centre and Infectious Disease Hospital.
âBut, we believe we will achieve better results in this effort if people at the grassroots are properly sensitised on how to protect their communities from the virus and other contagious diseases.
âGovernment is doing its best to stop coronavirus, but Government cannot do it alone. It requires collective responsible of everybody living in Lagos to stop the virus
He said the government would maintain open line of communication with the public on the progress being made in containing the virus.
Lagos directs schools to provide water, sanitisers for pupils
The state governmentÂ hasÂ directed schools to make water and sanitizers available forÂ pupils to guard againstÂ COVID-19 infection.
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, who gave the directive, alsoÂ advisedÂ pupils and teachersÂ to avoid using dirty hands to touch their noses, eyes and mouths .
Adefisayo,according to a statement by the Public Affairs Unit of the ministry,Â said same habits should be practiced at home.
A visit by our correspondents to someÂ schoolsÂ in the state showed that they were already taking precautions.Â Many had organisedÂ sensitisation programmesÂ Â Â for theirÂ pupils andÂ Â parents about Coronavirus.
Nearly all theÂ schools visitedÂ Â had provided sanitizers and hand washing facilities.
Â MamoraÂ cautionsÂ against indiscriminate wearing of face masks
In Abuja,Â Minister of State for Health Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora cautioned Nigerians against indiscriminate wearing of facemasks in their bid to preventÂ COVID-19.
Mamora, atÂ a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja yesterday,Â saidÂ Â facemask was not meant for healthy people, but for those manifesting symptoms.
He said: âAsÂ far as I am concerned, facemask is not meant for people without symptoms. People who need facemask are those already manifesting symptoms.
âIf you are coughing or you are sneezing and you cannot stay at home to get over that period or maybe, you have to go to work, then, you also have a duty, apart from wanting to protect yourself in that circumstance, the greater duty is for you to protect the person around you.
âThat is why the facemask may be necessary if you are having symptoms but without symptoms, it is just an unnecessary hype and being overzealous.â
MamoraÂ expressed dissatisfaction over the information that some schools were asking students to wear face mask.
According to him, a particular school in Abuja insisted that pupils must wear face mask, which is wrong.
âThere is no basis for that, unless you can establish that the particular child is coughing or sneezing. That is when that will be necessary.ââ
The minister, who advised Nigerians not to panic but remain calm,Â Â cautioned against hugging and handshaking.
He said: âThis is not the time for handshaking; you might have sanitised your hands, how about the hand you are shaking?
âAs much as possible, this is the time to cut down handshakes; these are critical things that are very important at this point in time.
âAvoid self-medication, maintain good hygiene, always wash your hands with soap and water, stay informed on latest developments about Covid-19 through official channels on televisionÂ and radio, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Federal Ministry of Health.
Â Onu, Iwu meet on Coronavirus drug discovery
Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu,Â hasÂ said hisÂ ministry would give all the support it could to Prof. Maurice Iwu and his team on their drug discovery project for Corona virus.
Onu gave the assuranceÂ on Monday whenÂ Iwu, a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman and Chairman of Bioresources Development Group, paid himÂ a visit in Abuja.
The minister recalled that some time ago, the ministryÂ Â charged Nigerian scientists to find solutions to virus.
Onu addedÂ that the ministry was happy thatÂ Â Iwu had come to it with the âcompound he isolated about five years ago.â
He further said that he was happy that Iwu had already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States on this project as regards his patents.
He expressedÂ Â optimism that the âcompoundââ would be readily availableÂ for certification.
Iwu told the minister that the purpose of his visit was to brief him on his teamâs efforts toward finding a treatment for Coronavirus.
He said the lead drug discovery project included the chemical isolation and characterisation of naturally occurring compounds and subjecting them to a bioassays for the identification of potentially useful-drug-led molecules.
He said the approach was the use of a network of eminent scientists and leading laboratories to target particular disease, especially neglected tropical, emergent and orphan diseases.
He also said those included leishmaniasis, Ebola virus, dengue fever virus, chikungunya virus, corona virus and tacaribe virus among others.
*Trump tasks U.S. pharmaceutical coysÂ
United States President Donald Trump said yesterday that he hadÂ asked pharmaceutical companies to speed up work on producing a vaccine to combat the virus.
âWe have asked them to accelerate whatever they are doing in terms of a vaccine,â Trump saidÂ Â at the White House.
Trump also said he would meetÂ Â with the pharmaceutical companiesâ executives to discuss how to address the disease.
The president noted that theÂ coronavirus outbreak had become a very big subject, but added that the U.S. was doing âvery well.â
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âWe are working very hard with the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and PreventionÂ and with everybody,â Trump said.
âWe are also working with other countries to help them because they really have a fear of the unknown.â
On Monday,Â Â authoritiesÂ inÂ Washington confirmed that a second person infected with coronavirus in the U.S. had died.
SaudiÂ records first infection
Saudi Arabia also recorded its first coronavirus infection.
The patient isÂ a Saudi national who arrived from Iran through Bahrain, the Saudi Health Ministry said on Monday.
The patient is currently quarantined at the hospital, it said, adding that samples were taken from all those who were in contact with himÂ for tests.
WHOÂ staff member infectedÂ Â in Iran
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also said yesterday thatÂ one of its members ofÂ staff in IranÂ had tested positive forÂ COVID-19.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the epidemics in the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan were WHOâsÂ Â Â greatest concern.
âOutside China, a total of 8,739 cases have been reported from 61 countries with 127 deaths.
âIn the last 24 hours, there were almost nine times more COVID-19 cases reported outside China than inside China,â he said.
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