Coronavirus: FG Searching For Over 100 Passengers On Aircraft With Italian Patient, Uber Driver Treated


Coronavirus

The Nigerian government has revealed it is still eagerly looking for passengers who entered Nigeria with the infected Italian man.

The federal government is trying to trace most of the 155 passengers in the aircraft that brought to Nigeria the Italian confirmed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

It was gathered that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire revealed this yesterday while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

He said 156 passengers were on the manifest of the flight that brought the Italian.

The minister said some of the passengers on board the aircraft that brought the Italian were yet to be traced because of the ambiguity of the contact information they provided, Daily Trust reported.

He said: “We cannot give a fixed figure on the contact tracing because it is a continuing process.”

“But the only one we know for sure is the 156 passengers who were on the aircraft with him (the Italian) and those ones are being tracked and we have been talking to them and we are getting cooperation.

“There have been a few challenges. Some people gave telephone numbers that didn’t work or (when called) said switched off. There are some who probably don’t have telephones or some who are new arrivals in Nigeria.

“They are not yet registered with any telephone company, but there are ways in which they can be found out. Some have probably left the country if they were to be here for a day or two,” he said.

Ehanire said that since the confirmation of the first case of the disease, the government had been focusing on containment including contact tracing to check further spread. He said that as of yesterday, there was no new confirmed case recorded in Nigeria.

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“About 14 tests have been done and except that confirmed case, no other person has been confirmed with the disease,” he said. The minister said currently, the contacts of the index case traced were 19 in Lagos and 39 in Ogun State.

He said that workers in the hotel where the index case stayed had been interviewed and isolated and that the taxi driver who drove the suspect had been identified and was under supervision.

The minister added that the airline that brought the victim had been advised to also put their crew under observation.

“The room he (the Italian) stayed in has been decontaminated, fumigated (and) even the taxi he used has also been treated,” he said. Lagos quarantines over 100 suspects Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said yesterday that over 100 people who had one sort of contact or the other with the Italian had been identified and quarantined.

Prof. Abayomi, who addressed newsmen shortly after a stakeholder’s meeting on coronavirus, which held at Lagos House, Ikeja, said that the state was exercising extreme caution by finding where all his contacts were. “We are still trying to find the remaining passengers in the aircraft. Our contact list is over 100 and it is increasing every day. We are quarantining them to check them for 14 days,” he said.

We’ve found cure – Iwu

However, as countries around the world battle to unravel the mystery behind the novel coronavirus, a former National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu, said yesterday that he and other experts have found a drug, which could be a potential treatment agent for the dreaded disease.

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Iwu, who is the President of Bio-Resources Institute of Nigeria (BION), revealed this in Abuja when he led a team of scientists to present the discovery to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of State (Science and Technology), Mohammed Abdullahi and Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora.

Iwu told the ministers that the compounds that made up the drug had exhibited significant antiviral activity against deadly SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which is deadlier than COVID-19.

“Your Excellency will recall that when the Ebola virus infection broke out in 2014, many people were surprised that our research group had an experimental lead compound that was identified 15 years earlier in 1999.

“And now with the emergence of a novel coronavirus in 2019, we had identified and patented a possible treatment back in 2015. It is very important that we must remain ahead of these emergent infections through research,” he said.

Iwu said the drug discovery project was started at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he was a Professor of Pharmacology and continued in the United States of America when he was a visiting scholar at the Division of Experimental Therapeutics of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Washington DC.

Responding, Onu said a committee would be set up to verify Iwu’s discovery, saying the federal government was confident that Nigerian scientists could cure the dreaded coronavirus and Lassa fever.


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