The Lagos State Government has dismissed the rumoured suspicion of cases of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019) in Gowon Estate of Alimosho Local Government Area of the State.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, reacted to the report making the round on social media during an update on the disease in Lagos on Wednesday.
There had been reports that Chinese people who recently returned from Wuhan, China and residing in Osoba Close of Gowon Estate were having severe symptoms of Coronavirus disease and treating the symptoms themselves.
Abayomi noted that there is no truth in the report.
Abayomi, while giving an update on the investigation carried out by the Ministry through its surveillance team, declared that there is no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Lagos State contrary to the fake news in circulation.
Speaking further, the Commissioner explained that the State surveillance team and other relevant stakeholders in Alimosho visited the alleged scene of the suspected cases and its environs on February 9, 2020 and discovered that there were no Chinese nationals residing or carrying on business in and around any of the streets of the communities visited.
He said: “In a bid to further investigate the rumour, the surveillance team of Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Alimosho community stakeholders were in Gowon Estate and its environs on 9th of February, 2019, the alleged scene of the suspected cases.
“The team interrogated residents living in and around Osoba Street in Alaguntan Ward, Segun Majekodunmi Street and other randomly selected houses in Alimosho, but there were no Chinese nationals residing or carrying on business in and around any of the streets and communities visited.”
Abayomi added that the team also interrogated the Chairman of Gemade Estate who was known to have affiliations with Chinese expatriates, but discovered that the six Chinese expatriates who had worked in his factory at Igbesa, Agbara, Ogun State had returned to China since 2019 when their work permit expired.
He said: “The team expanded its search to hotels around Alimosho and Gowon Estate, where a Taiwanese lady was identified to have visited one of the hotels, but nothing concrete linking her to China was found.
“Three Egyptian nationals who were sighted buying drugs at a particular pharmacy were also interrogated, but were found to be businessmen who had no link whatsoever with China.”
Abayomi said the contact phone numbers of Alimosho LGA Disease Surveillance Notification Officer were given to relevant stakeholders in Alimosho in case they come in contact or have knowledge of any Chinese national living around or anyone arriving from China.
He assured that the State surveillance team has scaled up its search by placing hotels and other resort centres on active surveillance to closely monitor visitors, travelers and non-nationals, especially those of East Asian and Chinese origin.
The Commissioner said awareness and sensitization efforts have been scaled up in all communities across the State, adding that engagement of community stakeholders on the virus and other infectious diseases is on course at the grass root level to further enhance capacity for effective monitoring of suspected cases in the communities.
Abayomi said: “Dedicated call center phone lines have been circulated in the communities to enable prompt reporting of suspected Corona Virus Disease cases and other infectious diseases.
“The team is currently engaging and mobilising Community Development Associations, Community Development Committees and Rapid Response teams at LGAs and LCDAs across the state to support the surveillance efforts of the Ministry of Health.”