Nigerians have heaped praised on the young female doctor who suspected the index case of coronavirus in the country, saving lives. Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state government, which revealed the doctor’s name as Amarachukwu Allison, said her brilliance “led to the early diagnosis and rapid containment of the first Covid-19 infection.”
Allison is a doctor at Lafarge Plc, a cement manufacturer headquartered in Lagos. The index case, an Italian who is a consultant with Lafarge, arrived in Nigeria on February 24.
He is said to have spent the night at an undisclosed hotel near Lagos airport and moved to Lafarge’s facility in Ewekoro, Ogun state, the next morning. He reportedly spent the night at Lafarge’s facility when he fell sick and was taken to the company’s medical center where preliminary diagnosis began.
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He was subsequently quarantined at the Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba, Lagos state after testing positive for coronavirus.
Local media reports say that about 39 people who had contact with him were also quarantined. One of them tested positive for the disease while others were discharged. The positive case later recovered. Last Friday, the Italian was also discharged from the isolation center after recovering.
The Ogun state government, in a series of tweets Saturday, appreciated Lafarge for cooperating with the state in curbing the spread of the virus.
“Our appreciation also goes to Lafarge Nigeria for their cooperation with Ogun State in managing and curtailing the spread of the disease within the state. Ogun State under the leadership of the Executive Governor, His Excellency Prince Dapo Abiodun @dabiodunMFR.
In response, Allison was thankful to God “for intuition and knowledge” and for the safety of her colleagues.
“I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time,” she said.
“My special prayers to health workers around the world who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to all families who have lost loved ones. To all unsung heroes, thank you.”
Nigeria, on Monday, reported its first coronavirus-related death – a 67-year-old man who came back to Nigeria in March after undergoing medical treatment in the UK.
About three people have also been hospitalized in the country for what health officials say is chloroquine poisoning after U.S. President Donald Trump boasted that the drug was promising in the fight against COVID-19.
Multiple reports from Nigeria as well as in international media say that the anti-malaria drug had become widely trusted among Nigerians to treat the coronavirus after Trump’s statement last week.
But CNN says that three people were hospitalized on Sunday in Lagos for overdosing on chloroquine. Nigeria’s health officials had to respond with a statement calling on citizens to disregard Trump’s endorsement.