Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has recorded three cases of COVID-19, The PUNCH can confirm.
The PUNCH learnt that the index case is an official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and was one of the passengers on British Airways’ flight that landed on March 13, 2020.
It was learnt that two other cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.
A medical doctor told The PUNCH that the three patients had been moved to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital.
He said, “The bad news is that three samples from the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) suspected cases tested positive for coronavirus. We have got in touch with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and we are moving them immediately. We will give more details as soon as possible concerning their flights, contact tracing and other protocols.
“COVID-19 is in Abuja now. One of the passengers on the British Airways’ flight works with the FIRS and he is among those who tested positive. His wife tested negative. We are hoping that all biometric sign in at the FIRS headquarters in Wuse Zone 5 stops with immediate effect.”
A top source at the Federal Ministry of Health told The PUNCH that the case had been reported to the ministry.
He, however, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control would do its own fresh round of testing before the public would be notified.
The official said, “Yes, we were notified on Friday about three cases by a hospital in Abuja. We are doing our own round of testing because we cannot rely on their own result and we don’t want to cause panic among Nigerians.
“The minister of health will make the official announcement once we are very sure.”
Should the tests be confirmed officially by the ministry, this would imply that Nigeria has 15 cases of COVID-19.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, neither responded to calls nor a text message as of the time of filing this report.