Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, addressing journalists at a Press Conference in Benin City, on Friday, February 28, 2020.

Following the confirmation of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State by the Federal Ministry of Health, the Edo State Government has step-up measures to sensitise residents to check the spread of the virus.

The Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, addressing journalists at a Press Conference in Benin City, on Friday, February 28, 2020, said the state government has already put measures in place to check the spread of the novel coronavirus fever.

He said the coronavirus is transmitted between animals and humans, noting, “Coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient. The novel coronavirus causes fever as well as mild to severe respiratory symptoms like cough and respiratory difficulties.

“In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia and death. There is no specific treatment for disease caused by this virus yet.

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.”

Okundia noted that following the news of the reported case of the coronavirus in Lagos and to check the spread of the viruses, the state government through the Ministry of Health “sent a team to the Benin Airport to get information on the manifest of the airline that brought the Italian to the country.”

He explained that the government is also sensitising staff of the Benin Airport on the screening modalities for air travelers, adding, “There are ongoing awareness creation and sensitisation campaign on the novel coronavirus in various news media as well as sensitisation of healthcare workers across the health facilities in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Edo State.

“Surveillance officers have been placed on red alert to carry out Active Case Search in all health facilities as well as all points of entry to the state which include the Benin Airport and various motor parks.

The commissioner added, “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, and 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,” he added.

Okundia urged residents to remain calm and shun rumors on the spread of the coronavirus, noting that the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is listed among other Corona Virus Testing Laboratories in Nigeria; which include the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.

He advised residents to contact the following numbers for more information: Director of Disease Control on 08084096723; State Epidemiologist on 08064258163, Acting State DSNO on 07015216386, and the WHO State Coordinator on 08035835529.

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