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DG of Nigeria disease control agency quarantines himself after China trip

Valentine Chinyem

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Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has gone into self-isolation for 14 days as a standard precautionary measure.

It is understood that he has already spent seven days in isolation.

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said on Tuesday while updating the senate on the activities of his ministry to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country that Ihekweazu went into self-isolation because he just returned from China.

“WHO sent a special delegation to go into China and speak to scientists, look at the cases, try and understand these disease more, the behavior of the virus. It has been found that majority of the people killed are people who have other sicknesses before: tuberculosis, cancer, HIV,” he said.

“Relatively young people are involved and all elderly people. Among those scientists chosen is the Director General of the NCDC. We are very proud and honoured that he was the only African who was among the experts. They went there for about nine days.

“We have already established rules here that anybody who has been to China will go into self-quarantine. Chikwe has gone and come back. He has done the test, he is negative but we have insisted he must undergo the 14 days quarantine which is why he is not here. He is not allowed to come out until after 14 days. Because if you make the rule, you must obey it which is to set the example in Nigeria.”

An NCDC source also confirmed that Ihekwehazu is in isolation at his residence but refused to disclose the location.

On Friday, Nigeria recorded its first case of the virus, which has infected over 80,000 people and killed more than 3000.

An Italian who flew into the country from Milan, which has the highest case in Europe, tested positive for the disease.

The patient is currently receiving treatment at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

The federal government has said all those who had contact with the patient have been traced and isolated.