What is CoronaVirus

Coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. It is linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold, however it is highly contagious. COVID-19 is termed pandemic due to the disease’s geographical spread.

How to contact the Virus

COVID-19 virus is transmitted through:

  • Direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person, generated through; coughing and sneezing.
  • Touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.


Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of flu (influenza) or common cold. This includes:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties.
  • More rarely, the disease can be fatal. 

 Preventive measures

Although COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, simple disinfectants can also kill it. Preventive measures are:

  1. Frequent hand washing using soap and clean water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. Respiratory hygiene- practice respiratory etiquette (e.g. cover your cough or sneeze into a flexed elbow, then throw away the tissue into a closed bin).
  3. Avoid touching your face. 
  4. Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.
  5. Be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, causes and how it spreads.

Federal Government of Nigeria response and efforts so far.

The Government of Nigeria, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has been up to speed in coordinating the national response of COVID 19, since the first case was seen in Nigeria. Testing of suspected cases/Index, as well as contact tracing of Index and providing Government and the general public with timely updates on actions to reduce the risk of the virus’ escalation.

The country has also taken these steps:

  • Entry ban from high risk countries.- With effect from March 20. The restriction will apply to travelers from countries with more than 1,000 cases. These include; China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.
  • Suspension of the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these 13 countries. All travelers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by the NCDC and Port Health Services.
  • Closure of schools in Nigeria.
  • Other WHO recommended preventive measures – hand washing, social distancing etc. are advised.

Meanwhile, Lagos state which has the highest number of reported cases so far, has further advised civil servants in the state to work from home.

WHO (World Health Organization) response and efforts

WHO in a document; Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19- Interim guidance (latest updated copy- 22 March 2020) have detailed their expectations of  countries with respect to COVID-19.

 Several countries have demonstrated that transmission of COVID-19 from one person to another can be slowed or stopped, as such have saved lives and provided the rest of the world with more time to prepare in the event of any reported case –  Ready emergency response systems, increase capacity to detect and care for patients, ensure hospitals have the space, supplies, and necessary personnel and to develop life-saving medical interventions. WHO enjoins every country to take all necessary measures to slow further spread and to avoid their health systems becoming overwhelmed as a result of seriously ill patients with COVID19. 

All countries are to increase their level of preparedness, alert and response to identify, manage, and care for new cases of COVID-19, accessing its risk and rapidly implementing the necessary measures at the appropriate scale to reduce both COVID-19 transmission and its economic, public and social impacts. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID19 as released by WHO has four scenarios that countries can adapt as suitable:

  1. Countries with no cases (No Cases)
  2. Countries with 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected (Sporadic Cases);
  3. Countries experiencing cases clusters in time, geographic location, or common exposure (Clusters of cases).
  4. Countries experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission (Community transmission). For more information, click here.

 APIN response and efforts to staff and members of the public:

  • Constitution of committee made up of representatives from different units to champion sensitization, awareness and continuous update of vital information on COVID-19 for staff.
  • Cleaners educated/trained on how to disinfect surfaces and items (tables, desks, computer keyboards, telephones, door handles etc.) with household disinfectants.
  • Provision of alcohol-based sanitizers and Automatic sanitizing machines placed in conspicuous locations (gates and front offices) for use by staff and visitors and in official vehicles.
  • Suspension of the use of Biometric Time/Attendance Machines across all offices.
  • Sharing of guidelines on “Self-Isolation” released by NCDC for staff information.
  • Suspension of air travels- Staff on official trip or personal travels to places with reported cases of outbreak should consider and assess the associated benefits and risks before embarking on such travel plans.
      • Compiled by Uzoma Ezenwa of Prevention and Community Services Directorate and APIN Media Team

Important Links>>>

Live data update of confirmed cases, recovery and severe cases report across Nigeria. Click here>>>

Live data update of confirmed cases, recovery, severe and death cases across the globe. Click here>>>

Emergency Numbers to call:

@NCDCgov toll free line : 080097000010

You can also call FCT Public Health Department on: 08099936312, 07080631500

Sources: NCDC, US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO and Avi Schiffmann