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No, Nigeria has not recorded first case of coronavirus

Nigeria has recorded its “first case of the deadly coronavirus”, claims an article on the website Infomate Ng. Published on 1 February 2020, the article has been shared on Facebook and other websites.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

An outbreak of new coronavirus strain was identified in China in late December 2019. By 2 February 2020, the World Health Organization reports, 14,557 cases of the strain had been confirmed worldwide, with 304 deaths in China and one outside China.  

But has the disease reached Nigeria?

‘Patient returned from China’

“A man, name withheld has been hospitalised at the Britannia Hospital, Lekki, after showing the symptoms of the virus, the article says.

“The man was said to have recently returned from China. Though we could not totally confirm the story, it was learnt that the Lagos state government has moved swiftly to action by sending officials from the state’s ministry of health to the hospital.”

‘Claim is false’

On 1 February, the day the article appeared, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control issued a statement on Twitter dismissing the claim.

“NCDC is aware of ongoing rumours of the importation of the novel coronavirus to Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“This individual returned from China last week and went for a routine medical check as requested by his employers. He showed no symptoms of the illness and has not been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.”

The agency advises people who have travelled from China to Nigeria in the past 14 days, and feel ill, to contact them immediately on their toll-free number, via SMS or on WhatsApp. –Motunrayo Joel

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