This is an updated advisory on the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV), by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. As this is a new virus, and new information is emerging every day, this advisory will be updated as new information and research on the virus and its impact on populations become available. The Nigerian Government is closely monitoring the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 outbreak which originated in Wuhan, China.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are normally transmitted between animals and people. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. For this novel coronavirus (nCoV), both zoonotic and person- to-person transmission has been confirmed.
The Emergency Committee reconvened by the WHO Director-General on the 30th January 2020, declared the novel coronavirus 2019 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
• The Committee does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
• It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection, and to share full data with WHO.
• The Committee believes that it is still possible to interrupt virus spread, provided countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk.
We continue to receive advice from WHO, which is coordinating global response activities. As at the 1st of February 2020, confirmed cases had been reported from 25 countries outside of China. Till date, there is no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on the African continent.
Given the present situation, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has put in place quick and diverse strategies to prevent importation of cases into country. A multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group continues to carry out regular epidemic intelligence gathering, enhanced surveillance at the points of entry, intensive risk communications, strengthening laboratory capacity for testing, placing National First Rapid Response Team to highly pathogenic infections on alert, scaling up of Public Health Emergency Operation Centres in states etc. (PHEOCs already established in 22 states)
The Coronavirus Preparedness Group has representatives from Federal Ministry Of Health (FMoH), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control (US-CDC), Pro-Health International (PHI), Public Health England (PHE) and others working with the NCDC in assessing and managing the risk of importation of the disease to Nigeria, as well as making preparations for early detection and response.
Travel advice to travellers returning to Nigeria
• The Chinese Government has extended the Lunar New Year holiday and put in place other measures to dissuade their citizens from traveling out of China
• The Chinese Government has instituted many significant measures to contain the spread of the virus outside China including major travel restrictions
• Air passengers travelling from China are screened on exit to prevent the exportation of the virus. This includes temperature checks combined with the provision of information and masks to passengers.
• Passengers without symptoms on departure but become unwell in transit are advised to self-report to the Port Health Services on arrival.
• The Port Health Services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening measures at points of entry. In addition to automated thermal screening at points of entry, travellers from China to Nigeria, are asked questions upon arrival by about symptoms of illness and travel history.
• If you have returned from travel to Nigeria from China in the last 14 days, you should (self-isolate) stay indoors and avoid contact with other people. Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you experience any symptoms, please call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control immediately on 0800-970000-10 (Toll free call centre).
The Government of Nigeria appreciates the Chinese Government for these measures, and for its travel advisory to passengers departing from China to Nigeria.
Travel advice for travellers to China
• We strongly advice that all non-essential travel to China should be delayed, until the outbreak is contained.
• Travellers from Nigeria to China, are advised to avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead) and animal markets.
This new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like cough, fever and breathing difficulties. From current evidence about 98 persons out of 100 persons with the disease recover, and it appears that death is not a common outcome, mostly in patients with underlying health issues.
The NCDC National Reference Laboratory has the capacity to diagnose the 2019-nCoV. Health officials are advised to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if they have a case that fits the case-definition.
There is no specific treatment yet for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Therefore, treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition. In addition, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
The Federal Ministry of Health through NCDC and its partners are fully committed to strengthening our preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks. Information will be shared with the public as it becomes available.
How to protect yourself
To reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:
• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.
• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
• Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.
• Travellers from China who show no symptoms on arrival, but who have a fever and cough within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, should contact NCDC on 0800-970000-10
As the situation is evolving, this advisory will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is the government agency with the mandate to lead the prevention, detection, and control of communicable diseases. Its functions are to prevent, detect, investigate and control communicable diseases of national and international public health importance.
NCDC Toll-Free Number: 0800 9700 0010