The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday, 179 persons had contact with the coronavirus index case.
The minister, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, said although the country’s new COVID-19 cases were that of Nigerians who were returning from countries with a high burden of the virus, Nigeria could head the way of China and Italy if those who had contracted the virus already were not fished out and treated.
Ehanire said: “In less than 48 hours, the Italian who came to Nigeria (index case) was identified. The contacts we found for him were 179. They were all traced and monitored. Out of the 179, one was positive and put in isolation with the Italian. Both were cured and discharged.
“If other cases had not come to Nigeria, that would have been the end of COVID-19 in Nigeria. But other cases came in that were not part of the first one. That is why we are saying that you do not compare what we have now with what we have in China or Italy. If we do not act fast, we could be heading in something dangerous like that (in China and Italy). They now transmit among themselves.
“We have to get those who have been infected now. If we don’t, it may be a serious burden in the system. I am sure some are hiding, they will not report for whatever reason. Nobody will be arrested or asked to pay for anything.
“Those who are returning now are Nigerians. With the closure of our airports, we will reduce the inflow of new cases and deal with the ones we already have.”