Nigeria identifies 100 who may have been exposed to coronavirus patient

The man arrived in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on 24 February from Milan on a Turkish Airlines flight that had a connection in Istanbul.

This undated handout picture courtesy of the British Health Protection Agency shows the coronavirus seen under an electron microscope. Picture: AFP.

LAGOS - Nigerian authorities have been in touch with around 100 people who may have been exposed to an Italian man who is the country’s first coronavirus patient, the Lagos state health commissioner said on Sunday.

The man arrived in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on 24 February from Milan on a Turkish Airlines flight that had a connection in Istanbul.

The following day he travelled to neighbouring Ogun state and was in the country for almost two full days before being isolated.

Asked in a telephone interview about the number of people Nigerian authorities had been in touch with who may have had contact with the man, Lagos state Health Commissioner Akin Abayomi said: “It is around 100 people but that number is increasing every minute.”

The Italian man, who is being treated at a hospital in the Yaba district of Lagos, works as a vendor for cement company Lafarge Africa Plc in the southwestern state of Ogun.

The company issued a statement on Sunday in which it said its cement production lines remainED open. It said 39 people who were in direct contact with the man had been quarantined.

The case, which is the first in sub-Saharan Africa, has prompted fears the virus could spread quickly in a region where health systems are already overburdened with cases of malaria, measles, Ebola and other infectious diseases.