A few days ago, a group of friends at an exclusive members’ only Club in Lagoswere waiting for the start of a football match in the ongoing European Champions Clubs competition. Their discussion veered into the reported cancellation of several football marches in Italy over coronavirus fears.
Jude: Old Boy, what if this coronavirus enters Nigeria? Will football matches in our professional league be cancelled or played behind closed doors?
Fola: I don’t think so. But then coronavirus cannot enter Nigeria. I reject coronavirus in the Mighty name of Jesus.
All Present: Amen (in unison)
I smiled to myself and thought there is need for us to face reality on the matter of coronavirus at this present time. The reality of the situation is not if coronavirus will enter Nigeria, but when.
“We’re talking about a virus that doesn’t respect borders,” This brief observation by Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza sums up my thinking quite succinctly.
It is now common knowledge that that China is the origin of this coronavirus problem. So, naturally, most cases remain in China. According to the latest figures published, 78,064 people have been infected since the outbreak began. Health officials also reported 52 more deaths this week, the lowest daily total in more than three weeks. The overall death toll in mainland China is now 2,715.
WHO’s director general has said the sudden increase in cases in countries outside China is “deeply concerning”.
Coronavirus in Italy and Europe
Several European countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, all apparently linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.
Coronavirus has been reported in Austria, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland. All the cases involved people who had been to Italy, as did Algeria in Africa.
Italy has in recent days become Europe’s worst-affected country. Authorities have confirmed more than 300 cases and 12 deaths there, the most recent a 70-year-old resident of Lombardy who died after being taken to intensive care in Parma. The country has also seen four children infected.
Spain reported its first case on the mainland, involving a woman in Barcelona who had been to northern Italy. Greece confirmed its first case, in a 38-year-old woman who had returned from a trip to northern Italy, according to reports
France confirmed the first death of a French national from the virus. The 60-year-old French man was the second fatality in the country, after an 80-year-old Chinese tourist died there earlier this month
The rapid spread of the virus in Italy has sparked fears of contagion across the European Union. The EU’s Schengen Area allows people in most member states, as well as many tourists, to move freely between countries without border checks.
South Korea on Wednesday reported 115 new cases, bringing the number of infections there to 1,261, according to local media reports. Eleven people have died in the country, which has the most infections outside China.
In Brazil, local media reported on Tuesday that an initial test on a 61-year-old man from São Paulo who had recently been to northern Italy had come out positive. The individual arrived back in Brazil at the height of carnival festivities, when millions of people travel around the country.
Iran is believed to have been the source of the first cases reported by neighbouring Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, which have now imposed restrictions on travel to and from the Islamic republic.
Egypt’s health ministry on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa. The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality.
Deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems have raised concerns about the capacity of African countries to respond to an outbreak.
These are things you can do to keep the coronavirus away from yourself:
- The time for Hand Sanitizer is here again. Just like the Ebola season. Put Hand Sanitizer in all points entry in to offices, large and small. Receptions desks and other entrances. This is just not enough, people – guests, staff, customers, in fact everybody, must be made to use them. You should also keep a small bottle in your bag for personal use.
- Infrared Thermometer Season is also upon us. Get your Security Guards to use it on all visitors and staff alike. They should do this for all without exception.
- Face Masks – Question is do they really help? Much as they have become quite ubiquitous at ordinary times, they have made a grand entry in to our environment this time around. But there is a problem with this piece of clothing. It has been found to be of very limited value. They are helpful only if you are sick with the common cold – coughing and sneezing and don’t wat to infect your neighbor. The suitable one in preventing the coronavirus will be the N95 standard of Face Mask worn by medical staff. Even those cannot be worn for long periods at a stretch. You need to remove them to breathe normally at intervals.
- Wash your hands regularly. Inconvenient as this may, it is a life – saver and you ignore it at your own peril.
- As much as practicable avoid crowded places, especially where ventilation is poor.
- There is still a lot of dust from the harmattan in most parts of this country. The situation will remain the same till the onset of the raining season. You should therefore avoid inhaling the dust as much as you can, while still living your normal life.
- You should keep surfaces in your home clean. Alcohol is a good disinfectant for coronaviruses
I wish you a COVID – 19 (coronavirus) – free season.
Community Pharmacist, based in Lagos, Nigeria