Don’t panic over confirmed case of coronavirus ― FG

The Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians not to panic over the confirmed first case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in Lagos, as the government is well-equipped to contain its spread.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the appeal at a media briefing on Friday in Abuja.

Mohammed said that following the first confirmed case, his ministry is intensifying it’s public sensitisation and enlightenment campaign on the disease.

He appealed to Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fake news who might disseminate falsehood and disinformation over the case.

“We know that at times like this, purveyors of fake news and disinformation usually ramp up their acts.

“We are, therefore, urging Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fake news and disinformation

“Fortunately, Facebook is working with us in this regard. They have asked Nigerians to report any false or misleading report on Facebook and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down

“They have also assured us that they are taking preemptive action to remove any false or harmful messages about this epidemic and public health in Nigeria 24/7.

“All that Nigerians are required to do is to flag any false or misleading report on the epidemic and Facebook will remove any such report,” he said.

The minister said that media agencies of the ministry, like the NTA, FRCN, NAN, VON and NOA, have been directed to intensify their ongoing sensitisation and enlightenment campaign to arm Nigerians with the necessary information to stay well.

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He listed the measures being taken by the agencies to include; Jingles on radio and television, up-to-date reports on the efforts being made by Nigerian health authorities to ensure proper screening at the nation’s gateways and also handle possible coronavirus cases.

Other measures, according to him are, continued airing of documentaries on the disease by the NTA, SMS sensitisation messages being sent to Nigerians by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The minister said that the National Orientation Agency (NOA), with its wide reach offices in all the 774 local governments, is pushing the various sensitisation and/enlightenment programmes to all the nooks and crannies of the country.

He said they were also translating the campaign to the major indigenous languages to expand their reach.

Mohammed said that features on the disease (prevention, treatment, etc.) were being written and disseminated.

NAN reports that the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, had earlier confirmed the first case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in Lagos, saying it was brought in by an Italian citizen.

Abayomi, however, said the State Emergency Operations Centre in response to the case and implementing firm control measures had been activated.

He said in Lagos that the case was brought in by an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on Tuesday from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

The commissioner said that the case was confirmed on Thursday and had been reported to the Federal Ministry of Health.

Abayomi said that the patient fell ill on Wednesday and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.

“COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Abayomi said.

The commissioner said that the state had been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos was controlled and contained quickly.

He said that the state government was doing this in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The commissioner reassured residents and Nigerians that it had been strengthening its preparedness since the first confirmation of cases in China.

(NAN)

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