What You Need To Know About The Novel Coronavirus

By Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is aware that many Chinese nationals are expected to return to Nigeria following the Lunar New Year holiday, as well as Nigerian business travellers who travel to China regularly. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not placed any travel restrictions following the outbreak of the virus. However, safety measures have been put in place to protect the health of Nigerians:

–    The Chinese Government has extended the Lunar New Year holiday and put in place other measures to dissuade their citizens from traveling out of China, as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus

–    Passengers traveling from Wuhan, China are screened on exit to prevent the exportation of the virus

–    The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is coordinating a multi-sectoral technical group that is assessing and managing the risk of importation to Nigeria, as well as making preparations for early detection and response.

–    The Port Health Services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening measures at points of entry. In addition to automated thermal screening at points of entry, travellers from China are questioned on if they are feeling unwell and their travel history.

–      Travellers from China who show no symptoms on arrival, but who have a fever and cough within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, should report immediately to NCDC on 0800-970000-10

As at 28 January 2020, 4,593 confirmed cases and 106 deaths of the novel coronavirus have been reported to WHO from 15 countries. There is no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on the African continent.

Nigerians are advised to remain calm and protect themselves:

•    Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

•    Cover your mouth and nose properly with a handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

•    Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

•    Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

•    Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and to take a travel history

*Always remember to check the information source before sharing; misinformation can cause more harm.*

NCDC Toll-free Number: 0800-970000-10

SMS: 08099555577

WhatsApp: 07087110839

Dr Ihekweazu is the Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC)

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