Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus

Updated information here: Coronavirus FAQ

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are normally transmitted between animals and people. The COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It was first reported to WHO on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China.

What is the source of COVID-19?

Scientists and public health officials are working hard to identify the source of the SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19. The initial transmission appeared to be from an animal source, but there has been person-to-person transmission in countries.

Is COVID-19 airborne?

When a person with coronavirus coughs or exhales, droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

COVID-19 can be transmitted when people breathe in these droplets. Therefore, it is important to stay at least 2 metres away from a person who is coughing or sneezing.

Are countries with hot weather immune to COVID-19?

From the evidence so far, the virus causing COVID-19 can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.

Are there any cases in Nigeria?

Yes. Nigeria has recorded confirmed cases of COVID-19. Measures have been put in place to ensure that confirmed cases are managed to recovery.

What is Nigeria doing to control the spread of the disease in the country?

The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to provide high-level strategic national response to the disease in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Health has activated an NCDC-led national COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the national public health response. At state-level, preparedness and response activities are being coordinated through Public Health EOCs in each State.

The NCDC has also launched a campaign themed #TakeResponsibility. This is a call to all Nigerians and residents in the country to join forces and to be proactive in taking greater individual and collective responsibility in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

What does self-isolation mean?

This means strictly staying at home or identified accommodation, away from situations where you mix with family members or the general public, for the period of 14 days. The NCDC guidelines on this can be found HERE .

Is there a restriction of flights coming from affected countries?

Yes. The Federal Government of Nigeria issued a ban on all international flights effective from the 23rd of March 2020 except for emergency and essential flights for an initial period of time. However, domestic flights will likely resume on the 21st of June 2020 with strict protocols for operations.

Does Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose COVID-19?

Yes. Currently, there are thirty (30) laboratories in Nigeria that can test for COVID-19 and they are all in the NCDC molecular laboratory network. These are;

  1. NCDC National Reference Laboratory, FCT
  2. Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT
  3. Virology Laboratory of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State
  4. Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, Lagos State
  5. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo state
  6. Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos State
  7. Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Oyo State
  8. Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi State
  9. African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State
  10. National Veterinary Research Institute,Vom, Plateau State
  11. Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State
  12. DNA Laboratory, Kaduna State
  13. University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State
  14. Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training (CARMET), Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto
  15. Africa Centre of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, ABU Zaria, Kaduna State
  16. Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Bayero University Kano, Kano State
  17. 54gene mobile laboratory, Ogun State
  18. 54gene mobile laboratory, Lagos State
  19. 54gene mobile laboratory, Kano State
  20. Mobile laboratory, Delta State
  21. University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State
  22. Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Satelite Molecular Laboratory, Rivers State
  23. University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State
  24. Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Ltd., Imo State
  25. Federal Medical Center, Yola State
  26. Accunalysis Diagnostic Centre, Anambra State
  27. Afriglobalmedicare laboratory for Ogun State
  28. Sahel Centre for Molecular Diagnostics and Reserach, Katsina State
  29. Bauchi State Reference Laboratory, Bauchi State
  30. National Intelligence Agency Clinic, FCT

Is there a cure for COVID-19?

There is no specific cure yet for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials to test various potential antivirals. Current management of cases aims to relieve the symptoms while the body’s immune system fights the illness.

Where are the treatment centres in Nigeria?

The Federal Ministry of Health has conducted assessments of treatment centres. This assessment focused on identifying gaps and developing plans to rapidly ensure that states are able to effectively manage cases of COVID-19. The NCDC is continuously training healthcare workers across the country on case management and infection prevention and control.

What should I do when I return to Nigeria from a country with a confirmed case(s) of COVID-19?

The PTF on COVID-19 is currently reviewing the protocols for mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine of all return travellers to Nigeria. Until an updated protocol is in place, evacuation of persons willing to return to Nigeria has been suspended.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  1. Cough
  2. Shivering /shaking (chills)
  3. Body pain
  4. Headache
  5. Recent loss of taste or smell
  6. Difficulty in breathing/shortness of breath
  7. Diarrhoea/abdominal pain
  8. Runny nose/catarrh
  9. Fatigue (tiredness)

Am I at risk of catching COVID-19 from a package or products that arrive from countries with a confirmed case(s)?

Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods or packages countries with ongoing transmission. Till date, there is no known case of COVID-19 in Nigeria associated with imported goods.

Should I stop my children from going to school?

Yes. All schools to remain closed till further evaluation and schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and visual teaching for students. States Governments are monitoring and enforcing compliance.

How do I avoid becoming infected with COVID-19?

To reduce the risk of infection or spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following hand and respiratory hygiene measures:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available
  • Use non-medical face mask/covering for all persons while in public spaces. The NCDC has published an advisory on the use of face cloth masks
  • Practice no-touch greetings
  • Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) physical distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid crowded spaces such as open markets, crowded supermarkets and pharmacies
  • Adhere to national and state directives

What can businesses do to protect their staff?

The NCDC has published guidance for Employers and Businesses in Nigeria. In line with the directives from the Federal Government of Nigeria, markets and locations of economic activities will have controlled access; the financial sector shall be fully opened with banks operating normal working hours as well as the manufacturing industry and gradual opening of the informal sector

Businesses are advised to display signages in office or business premises reminding staff and visitors to maintain good and respiratory hygiene. Encourage sick employees to stay at home if they are unwell. Ensure physical distancing and routine cleaning of high contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones.

Culled from the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
More information from the website of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research

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