THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed Nigeria at high-risk in global economic damage, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has stated.
WHO, according to an NCDC report, feared that the virus will impact negatively on Nigerian economy based on the strong trade relations and high travel links between China and Nigeria.
An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Chinese live and work in Nigeria. During the lunar new year holiday, more than 8,000 Chinese travelled to Lagos and more than 4,000 travelled to and through Abuja.
According to NCDC report, “Case count of COVID-19 has surpassed that of SARS, which resulted in global economic damage estimated between $30 to $100 billion.
“WHO places Nigeria at high-risk. COVID-19 continues to spread globally with a high risk of spread to Nigeria”
The centre also called for the establishment of National Reference Lab in each of the six geo-political zones as against the three the country currently has.
The centre has also debunked a rumour being shared on social media that the COVID-19 could be spread through broiler chickens.
Its Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said the centre was aware of the rumour and emphasised that the information was completely false.
“The public is advised to disregard this rumour and discourage further spread. Scientists are working on identifying the animal source of this new virus. Currently, there is no known link between the virus and broiler chickens,” he said.
He, however, advised Nigerians that for accurate information on COVID-19 or disease outbreaks in Nigeria, they should visit : www.ncdc.gov.ng, Twitter and Facebook- @NCDCgov.
“Other Contacts_ *NCDC Toll-free Number: 0800-970000-10* *SMS: 08099555577* *WhatsApp: 07087110839,” he said.
He reiterated that to reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, Nigerians should 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 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.
“As the situation is evolving, this advisory will be updated as more information becomes available,” he said.
This is coming as WHO confirmed 92 cases of human-to-human spread of the coronavirus in 12 countries outside China.
But the world health body said it does not have the data to make comparisons with China.
WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said in Geneva that the global body has not seen sustained local transmission except in specific cases, such as on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan.