Monday, March 16, 2020

Sunday, 15 March 2020

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are normally transmitted between animals and people. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a new strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that has not been previously identified in humans. It was first reported to WHO on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China.

What is the source of COVID-19?

Scientists and public health officials are working hard to identify the source of the SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19. The initial transmission appeared to be from an animal source, but there has been person-to-person transmission in countries.

Is COVID-19 airborne?

Studies to date show that the virus is spread through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?



Breathing difficulties

People who have recently travelled from any country* with ongoing transmission of COVID-19 and feel unwell, should immediately contact NCDC on 07032864444 or 080097000010 (toll-free).

Are countries with hot weather immune to COVID-19?

From the evidence so far, the virus causing COVID-19 can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.

Are there any cases in Nigeria?

Yes. The have been two confirmed cases in Nigeria. The first case, confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is an Italian business traveller who returned to Lagos from Italy and travelled to Ogun State.

The second case, confirmed on the 8th of March 2020 in Ogun State, was a contact of the index case. Following supportive care, he tested negative twice for COVID-19 and was discharged on the 13th of March 2020.

What is Nigeria doing to control the spread of the disease in the country?

The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health has activated a national COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate response activities. This is led by NCDC.

The Port Health Services Division of the Department of Public Health has heightened screening and surveillance at the ports of entry, particularly for returning travellers with history of travel to countries* with widespread community transmission. This includes the use of thermal cameras to detect fever on entry; review and analysis of the contact forms used for screening at points of entry to inform follow-ups on persons of interests through calls and scheduled visits.

The national case definition is reviewed regularly based on new knowledge of the disease. Additionally, an intensive communications campaign has begun, to provide regular updates and accurate information to Nigerians on how to protect themselves and loved ones from the disease. Updates and resources on the disease can be found on

What does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation is an important way of controlling the spread of COVID-19. It means that anyone who has been exposed to the virus (e.g. those returning from high risk countries*) should stay at home and in strict isolation from their families for 14 days. This is to limit contact with people, protect yourself and loved ones.

Is there a restriction of flights coming from affected countries?

Presently, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. All travellers to Nigeria will be screened on entry, regardless of country of travel origin. However, additional measures are in place for travellers from countries* with widespread community transmission.

Does Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose COVID-19?

Yes. Currently, five laboratories in Nigeria can diagnose COVID-19; NCDC National Reference Laboratory; Virology Laboratory of Lagos University Teaching Hospital; Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital; Nigerian Institute of Medical Research; and African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases. They are all in the NCDC molecular laboratory network.

Health officials are advised to call 07032864444 for sample transportation and related advice if they have a case that fits the national case definition.

What is the national case definition for COVID-19?

The case definition is continually being reviewed based on new knowledge of the disease. Latest case definition is:

Suspected Case

Any person (including severely ill patients) presenting with fever, cough or difficulty in breathing


who within 14 days before the onset of illness had any of the following exposures:

1. History of travel to and more than 24 hours transit through any high-risk country* with widespread community transmission of SARS-CoV-2


2. Close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19


3. Exposure to a healthcare facility where COVID-19 case(s) have been reported

A probable case

Any suspect case

1. For whom testing for COVID-19 is Indeterminate test results


2. For whom testing was positive on a pan-coronavirus assay


3. Where samples were not collected before the demise of a suspect case

A confirmed case

Any person with laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection with or without signs and symptoms.

Health care worker infection

Any health care worker with moderate to severe respiratory illness reporting recent contact (

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