As Lagos deploys 70 health workers to ports, borders to support FG personnel
As religious bodies declare prayer sessions to end spread
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Centre Manager of the Lagos State Biobank, Dr Bankole Akinwale, has informed that the Italian man and only person who has tested positive for coronavirus in Nigeria is fast recovering and eating a local meal, “amala”.
This is just as the Lagos State Government has revealed that two fresh suspected cases of Coronavirus patients were recorded between Monday and Tuesday, at the Disease Control Centre, Yaba, but cases have been put under control.
Meanwhile, a Chinese who was taken in earlier Tuesday has been released after testing negative to the disease.
Dr. Bankole Akinwale, Manager, Lagos State Biobank, stated this on Tuesday, at the briefing and sensitization of religious leaders on Corona Virus (COVID-19) and other communicable diseases, organized by the State Ministry of Home Affairs, held at Christ the Light Chapel, Alausa, Ikeja.
Akinwale, however, assured that there was no cause for the alarm over the fresh cases, saying there were enough facilities to handle the situation.
Representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Nigerian lnter- Religious Council, NIREC, Muslim leaders, government functionaries, ministries, agencies, were present at the event.
Akinwale, also expressed concern over anxieties among residents on every manifesting symptom as suspected Corona Virus case.
According to him, “A lot of things are flying in the social media but the Lagos State Government has been so active, Mr Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, prior to the latest development had established the incident command system cost over $ 4 million, in collaboration with Canadian government, is a coordinating centre to coordinate the preparedness and control system, otherwise work will be done haphazardly and there would not be a uni-directional flow of order.
“In 2014-15, while we had Ebola, one of the major reasons why we had serious issues in West Africa before Nigeria intervened was because there was no command system. Every organization that came was doing it on their own and before you knew, it had escalated. We started the command centre here with Mr. Governor, as Chief Incident Commander and Commissioner for Health is deputy incident commander.
“Now, what did we do beyond that. We have upgraded to activating Emergency Operation Centre where we have different groups that are handling issues relating to the disease. One of the groups; is those that will be searching, surveillance, searching for possible cases. Another group is those at the point of entries into the country, the airports, like MMIA and borders.
“Another group is those that disinfect by using chemicals to flit and clean any environment we had cases and kill the viruses that must have been deposited at the place. Another group is the one to create awareness and sensitises. Another group will diagnose the cases to determine if it’s actually coronavirus.
“Lagos is the only state and Nigeria, the country in West Africa with biosecurity facility, while South Africa has one. This shows that Lagos State is a country within a country. It’s also a signal that we have pro-active, responsive government in Lagos.
“That’s why we have been able to handle the case when it came into the country, it didn’t take us time to diagnose if it’s actually COVID -19. There is no state in Nigeria that has it except Lagos, that’s why Ogun State referred it to Lagos.
“As at today, we are expected to check two other patients being suspected for COVID-19. If we do not have such facility how do we diagnose. The normal laboratories can’t do it because it is risky to manage such a highly infectious virus.
“The first case is a Chinese man while the second is a Nigerian who just flew in from Dubai few days again and started developing severe body pains and other symptoms.
“The patient showed up at the facility on Monday to make the complaint, but we asked the patient to come back today for possible diagnosis and further action.
“The bio-security facility is not only for diagnoses but also as research centre where we look into ways of developing diagnostic kits. Kits are being imported into Nigeria with so much money spent.
“Since the case broke-out, everyday, we meet and review situation and continue on the next step. So far so good, no other confirmed case, the index case is doing well. He is doing perfectly well. We are also collecting follow up samples to see how well we are doing in terms of achievement. We are proud to say, we are doing well. The viral dose is dropping, appetite has increased, the man is interacting very well and eating our local food ‘Amala.’ He is enjoying our meal. We are hoping for the best.
“In the case we are handling, we have gone to decontaminate the hotel where the Italian lodged and keep tracing the contacts and following upon them. The essence of that is to break and stop the spread of the disease.
The Lagos State Government has renovated the wards beyond the structures and created about 10, each isolation wards to take care of over 100 patients, incase we have overflow.
“We have also prepared each of the general hospital to have reserved area in case of overflow, we have mobile clinics that can take up to 30 persons, we station inside mainland hospital and we are thinking of other scenarios that could interplay in order to be fully ready. Be rest assured there is no cause for the alarm. No need to be afraid.
“There is no active transmission in Lagos as we have been plotting our graphs. Lagos has released 70 health workers to assist Federal Government personnel at the airports and our border areas in surveillance and emergency management.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has charged religious leaders of the need to play critical role in ensuring that the realities and myths about the coronavirus is clear to Nigerians, as well as the need to maintain high level of personal and environmental hygiene, so as to avert possible spread of the virus in the country, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, gave the charge.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Adebunmi Adekanye, Prince Elegushi, who explained that religious leaders play a pivotal role in Nation building, said the sensitisation became imperative due to religious colourations and sentiment, most times linked with health issues.
He said the event was aimed at giving firsthand knowledge of the causes, symptoms and possible prevention of coronavirus and other related diseases to religious leaders in the state.
Contributing, the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Lagos State chapter, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, who lamented that the entrance of Coronavirus into Lagos through an Italian businessman had generated undue anxiety, due to lack of credible information at the grassroots, described the programme as “apt and a decisive plan” by the state government to stamp out coronavirus, the same way Ebola was tackled headlong some years back.
Apostle Bamgbola who is also the Co-chairman of NIREC, also added that such programme would go further to discredit the misinformation being broadcast by some unverifiable social media platforms, claiming that Coronavirus was a death sentence, thereby, creating panic among Nigerians, since the one and only confirmed case of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
He said messages would be sent to members to commence intensive prayer session among congregations across the state to ward off the endemic disease in Lagos and in Nigeria
On his part, the Chief lmam of Lagos, sheikh Toyin Abu Nola, commended the Lagos State government for investing massively on the facilities to treat such serious medical cases, which is the first of it’s kind in the country.
Represented by lmam Gafar Mofeshaye, lseikh Abu Nola, also pledged the continuous support of the leagues of lmam and other Islamic clerics in Lagos to continue to partner with the government in sensitising the people on Coronavirus and other communicable diseases.