By CHIOMA OBINNA
LAGOS — LAGOS State Government, yesterday, alerted its indigenes traveling to other parts of the world with confirmed cases of coronavirus infections – a severe, life-threatening respiratory disease – to take adequate precautions to protect themselves from the infection.
The coronavirus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, is currently ravaging countries in the Middle East and the World Health Organisatiion, WHO, has just been informed of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 90 laboratory-confirmed cases of the infection resulting in 45 deaths.
This is coming on the heels of earlier warning published in the journals, by infectious disease physicians, at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, on the possible international spread of the virus during the forthcoming mass gatherings in Saudi Arabia.
Already, health officials in Saudi Arabia have asked pilgrims visiting its holy sites to wear masks in crowded places to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr, Jide Idris, in a statement, yesterday, emphasised the need for the observance of a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the risk of infection.
He stressed the need for caution as there was no specific treatment for illnesses caused by Coronavirus and enjoined travellers to holy pilgrimage, particularly to Makkah, to get vaccination against meningitis, yellow fever and flu, while adhering to the precautions earlier mentioned.
Idris advised pregnant women, children, the elderly and the sick who intended to go on pilgrimage to postpone such trips, saying, “you can help protect others by staying at home while you are sick, avoiding close contact with others, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and keeping objects and surfaces clean and disinfected.”
He warned that Coronavirus could be transmitted easily from one person to another through coughing and sneezing, close contact such as touching or shaking hands of an infected person, and touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes after touching contaminated objects or surfaces.