Coronavirus Spreads To Algeria, Brazil, France

EU expresses concern Nigeria at risk -Reps We’re prepared -FG A second case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been recorded in Africa just as the first case was confirmed in Brazil yesterday. France also reported a death from the epidemic. Algerian Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, reported the country’s first case of coronavirus, a statement from the World Health Organisation said. Africa’s first COVID-19 case was reported earlier this month in Egypt. The Brazil case was the first in Latin America, the country’s health ministry said.

As of yesterday 81, 109 confirmed cases of the disease were recorded globally with 871 new cases recorded between Tuesday and yesterday. The WHO, in its daily situation report yesterday, said: “For the first time, since the onset of symptoms of the first identified case of COVID-19 on 8 December 2019 , there have been more new cases reported from countries outside of China than from China.”

AFP yesterday quoted the European Union Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, as telling reporters in Rome after meeting Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, that “This is a situation of concern but we must not give in to panic,” “We must also be vigilant when it comes to misinformation and disinformation as well as xenophobic statements which are misleading citizens and putting in question the work of public authorities”.

Italy, France, Spain, are some of the biggest hits in Europe, AFP reports. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives says Nigeria is at a risk of coronavirus disease due to shortage of basic protective equipment.

It said the situation had also put the country at a risk of Lassa fever epidemic. The house expressed this concern yesterday following the adoption of a motion by Shehu Balarabe Kakale and two other members, on “Serious impediment in the concerted and rapid response efforts of the federal government to contain and deal with the grievous threats of Lassa fever, coronavirus and other related matters”.

Kakale said though the federal government had released N386 million to deal with the situation, “the basic protective equipment like face masks, thermal scanners and globes are rapidly depleted and going out of stock in ministry of health”. He said the inability of the Ministry of Health to procure protective equipment, personnel gadgets and other laboratory and logistical equipment services as well as reagents and drugs was seriously hampering the government’s efforts to fight and contain coronavirus and Lassa fever epidemic.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria had capacity to detect and respond to the virus in the event it spreads to the country. “While the risk of importation exists, we can assure Nigerians of the nation’s capacity to detect, assess and respond to this and other public health threats at the point of entry,” he said.

He said the WHO, the Africa Centre for Disease Control, the West Africa Health Organisation and other partners were providing support to Nigeria to strengthen its preparedness against coronavirus. The ministry said it had also begun stockpiling medical supplies in case of any outbreak in the country.

The ministry had set up a multi-sectoral committee to scale up surveillance to detect suspicious cases and ensure containment at all points of entry. The port health services intensified screening of passengers coming from China and other countries at high risk.

The Federal Government had also released N386 m to the port health services division of the Ministry of Health and the NCDC to strengthen preparedness against the disease.

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