Reports of Second Coronavirus Case in Nigeria False, Says NCDC Boss

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Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu

By Martins Ifijeh

Following social media reports that the driver who took the Italian index case from Lagos to Abeokuta has tested positive to Coronavirus and that he has refused to be quarantined, the federal government has said the reports are false, as no other person has so far been tested for the virus.

Speaking with THISDAY on Saturday, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said there was presently no other suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus in the country apart from the 44-year-old index case, adding that only its three laboratories have the capacity to test anyone in the country.

“The test cannot be done outside of our laboratories. No one can claim there is a second case because we are the only ones with the facilities and reagents to test for it. We haven’t done that.

“Since the outbreak started in Wuhan city in China, we have so far conducted test for 12 persons. 11 came out negative, and the only one that has come out positive is the Italian index case who is responding to treatment. The public should disregard rumours of an escaped second patient.

“If we diagnose any case, we will definitely let Nigerians know whether it comes out negative or not because we want to be very transparent about the whole thing. It takes four hours to get the results out, and another two hours to announce the results, so within six hours Nigerians can actually know of any case,” he said.

He also described as false reports that the index case attempted to escape from isolation, noting that the expatriate has been cooperating with the authorities.

“He was the one who contacted the authorities through his doctor in Abeokuta. He knows we are doing the best to ensure he is given quality treatment. He came from a developed country, so definitely, there may be one or two minor issues he may not be used to here, but he definitely did not attempt to escape. The report is untrue,” he added.