The protocol of self-isolation for returning travellers as part of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 led to increased cases in the country, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said.
Mr Ehanire while speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday said there was an increase in cases from such persons.
He said quarantine has now been adopted for new returnees on arrival.
”We don’t have a provision for isolation at home. At the very beginning, we had that provision that if you came in and did not have a symptom, you isolate at home.
“Since then, all the cases we are dealing with now came in and multiplied. In order to reduce the incidence of cases coming in and then forming clusters of new infections, the provision has now changed to what we call isolation-one or quarantine,” he said.
He said anybody arriving the country henceforth will go into quarantine for 14 days.
“The policy we have now is that anybody arriving Nigeria from anywhere whether by air, land or by sea will go into quarantine for 14 days.
“Quarantine is for those who have not been confirmed or who are under isolation. If during the period, signs and symptoms show up, they will be tested.
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“If they are positive they will go to treatment centres. If after 14 days they show no symptoms or signs and they are tested and are negative, they are free to go. That is the protocol we have now.”
Some of the early cases recorded in Nigeria were in people who had returned from countries with reported cases of the virus.
Nigeria’s index case is that of an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on February 24 from Milan, Italy on a business visit.
The Italian who was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on February 27 has fully recovered and discharged. Since then, cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria have been on the increase, first from people who had been in contact with infected returnees and later community transmission of the virus.
As of Wednesday night, Nigeria has recorded 3,145 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 534 people have been treated and discharged and 103 deaths recorded.