On Friday, 10th April 2020, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed Niger State’s first case of COVID-19 which is the Niger State index case. Since then a lot of fake news and misinformation have been spread causing needless panic among Niger State citizens.

As the state and the world struggle with an unprecedented public health crisis, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the information we share is confirmed, from the official source and fact-based.

It is important to set the record straight and debunk this misinformation as they appear, and to do this, we must state facts to debunk falsehood.

Here are the facts;

1. The index case in Niger State is a returnee from Lagos State who arrived in Minna on Saturday, 28th March 2020. The patient arrived in Minna via public transportation, a bus, with a stopover at Bida.

2. He was admitted on Wednesday, 1st April 2020 with symptoms of cough and runny nose, two days prior to presentation.

3. It was discovered that he was treated for Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) in 2003 at General Hospital, Minna. Furthermore, he also exhibited some disorientation and impaired mental wellbeing at presentation.

4. However, in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic and his travel history, he was isolated as a possible case of COVID-19.

5. Nasopharyngeal swab for COVID-19 was taken on Monday 6th April 2020.

6. On admission, he was on an antibiotic and was well fed.

7. The patient and some of his brothers threatened the medical team and attempted to escape but they were able to prevent that and get him back to the hospital.

8. His sample tested positive as reported by NCDC.

9. Authorities have been informed of the threat and measures have been taken against such future occurrences.

10. Currently, there are a 24 hours security surveillance by the hospital security team.

11. The patient is in stable condition and on treatment with antibiotics and multivitamins.

These are the facts. There is no justification to spread misinformation, it is simply irresponsible and mischievous. Fake news only makes the government’s task of fighting the virus even tougher which endangers all Nigerlites including those spreading Fake News for political or whatever purpose and their family members. This is not the time to be divided, or fall for misinformation or propaganda, this is the time for all the people of Niger State to rally around the Governor and the government, unite and defeat a common enemy — coronavirus!

Don’t spread the virus and, just as importantly, don’t spread misinformation. Lives are at stake!

Muawiyyah Yusuf Muye
Senior Special Assistant on
Media to the Governor
13th April 2020

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