Nigeria has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus. The patient is an Italian citizen who works in the country and flew into Lagos from Milan, Italy on 25 February. Authorities say he is stable with no serious symptoms and is being treated at a hospital in the city.
More than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected with the virus worldwide. Nearly 2,800 people have died, the majority of the deaths in China alone.
The patient was screened when he arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on Tuesday and did not show any symptoms of the virus, according to the Nigerian health authorities.
People who had close contact with the patient are being tracked down to manage the spread of the virus.
Health authorities are advising people to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, to avoid contracting the virus.
People have also been told to stay home if they have persistent coughs and sneezes, and contact authorities if they have any concerns.
Nigeria was widely praised for its efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa.
How to Protect Yourself from Contacting the Coronavirus
- Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least one meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.