Back when the first news about the 2019 coronavirus broke, we hoped that the disease outbreak would not affect Africa in general and Nigeria specifically. However, last week Nigeria joined the rest of the countries where cases of the COVID-19 were confirmed. Find out more and learn how to protect yourself right now!
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The first case of coronavirus in Nigeria was confirmed last week. It also became the first case of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first coronavirus patient in Nigeria is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria. He flew from Milan to Lagos on February 25. Milan is currently one of several Italian citizens who are badly affected by the disease.
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Soon after arrival, the man was diagnosed with coronavirus and is currently being treated in a Lagos Infectious Disease Hospital. The patient is said to be in a stable condition and does not display any serious symptoms. The passengers who flew on the same plane as the patient are being contacted by the authorities and warned about the health risks.
Despite the first case of COVID-2019 being diagnosed in Nigeria, the Nigerian authorities don’t seem to panic or introduce drastic moves like closing down airlines or quarantine for people coming in from abroad. However, there are over 60 doctors from all over Nigeria working in the Lagos airport to screen passengers and spot potentially infected individuals.
Since being diagnosed for the first time in China in early January of 2020, the new coronavirus has spread to over 50 countries. Over 80,000 of confirmed COVID-2019 cases have been diagnosed all over the world with over 2,800 deaths from the disease, with most of them happening in the Hubei province of China, where the disease first got its start.
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In two months since the beginning of the outbreak, many countries introduced serious measures for preventing new cases of the virus, including quarantine for people coming into the country or suspending air travel from China and other countries. Scientists are also currently working on a vaccine against coronavirus, but developing a vaccine is a lengthy process and we shouldn’t look forward to it in the coming months.
3. How to protect yourself
If you have respiratory symptoms and have reasons to suspect you may be infected by COVID-2019 – for example, if you have recently arrived from abroad or met someone who travelled to China and back – you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your local health provider who will either rule out the possibility of coronavirus or ensure appropriate treatment.
If you want to stay safe during the growing number of people infected with coronavirus, there are a few measures you can take:
- When you are out in public and someone sneezes, coughs, or displays other symptoms of respiratory disease, try to stay at least 1 meter away from that person at all times.
- Wash your hands with soap every time you come home from the street, go to or from work, or are nearby a sink. When you don’t have the opportunity to wash your hands, clean them with an alcohol-based hand gel and wash them thoroughly once you reach a source of water.
- Limit your social outings. When you’re out in the public, you have no way of knowing where the people around you came from or who they have met. Only visit public locations like markets, transportation, stores, and other places when it’s absolutely necessary.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. If your hands have been contaminated with the virus when you’re in public, touching your face is the easiest way to make sure you do get infected.
- If you’re healthy, wearing a mask in public won’t protect you from the infection. However, if you suspect you may be infected, wear a face mask and change it every 3 hours. If you cough or sneeze, don’t cover your mouth with your hand, since you will likely spread the virus to people nearby. Instead, cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your clothes regularly.
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