The federal government has warned Nigeria risks having the experience of Italy and China — two of the countries worst hit by coronavirus — if infected persons continue to hide in the country.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
Nigeria presently has 40 confirmed cases of the virus, out of which two have recovered while one death has so far been recorded.
But speaking at the press conference, the minister said the country needs to act swiftly to avoid having uncontrolled cases of the outbreak.
He said: “In less than 48 hours, the Italian who came to Nigeria (index case) was identified. The contacts we found from 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 COVID19 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 anything.
“Those who are returning now are Nigerians. With the closure of our airports, we will reduce inflow of new cases and deal with the ones we already have.”