Coronavirus: Nigerian stocks decline, lowest level in two months
Nigerian stocks fell 1.63% to their lowest level in two months on Friday following the announcement of the coronavirus case.
The spread of the new coronavirus from China has hit global financial markets, and Nigeria’s economy is at risk from the tumbling price of oil, which accounts for 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
Brent crude has shed around 13% of its value this week, and Nigeria’s currency has lost ground on the one-year forward market.
An Italian man who was confirmed as Nigeria’s first coronavirus case after arriving from Milan was in the country for almost 48 hours before being isolated.
However the case has prompted a scramble by authorities in Africa’s most populous country to try to “meet and observe” all who arrived on the same flight as the Italian and to identify the places he visited before going to the hospital.
“We have started working to identify all the contacts of the person since he entered Nigeria and even those who were with him on the aircraft,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire told reporters on Friday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
The Italian, whose country has been hit worse by the virus than any other in Europe, arrived on Feb. 24 on a Turkish Airlines flight that had a connection in Istanbul, Lagos state Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, told a news conference.
After spending the night in a hotel near the airport, he went on Feb. 25 to his place of work in neighbouring Ogun state, and stayed there until he developed a fever and body aches on the afternoon of Feb. 26, Abayomi said.
Health practitioners with his company then contacted biosecurity authorities who transferred him to the high containment facility in Yaba, Lagos state.
“It was very astute of the medical practitioners in that facility to keep him overnight in an isolated environment,” Abayomi said.
Ehanire said the infection was confirmed on Feb. 27 by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and that the man is now quarantined but doing well.
His case is also the first confirmed coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa.
Turkish Airlines did not immediately comment on the case. There are no confirmed cases in Turkey.
Reuters reports that officials from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are heading to Lagos to help address the case, and have activated its national Emergency Operations Centre.
Ehanire said Nigeria was continually stepping up its preparedness to control and contain the spread of the coronavirus, which was first reported in China.
The World Health Organization has said it already has experts on the ground in Nigeria, which it identifies as one of 13 “high priority” countries in Africa.
In a sign of concern in Kenya, the country’s High Court ordered flights from China to be temporarily suspended on Friday. Kenya has no confirmed cases of the virus.
Ehanire said China had been working closely with Nigerian authorities, and had sent a treatment guide.