Resident of Lagos, the commercial hub of Africa’s most populous nation are scrambling for hand sanitizers as they prepare to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Nigeria recorded its first case of the deadly virus on Friday. It is a first in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sanitizers, this is it. This one, before we were selling it 700 naira (2 dollars), now it’s 1500 and they are buying it. We do not want to die. Me, I don’t want to die, and I have my own, it’s in my shop. Because I am collecting money from different people, so I need to use it.(I’ve sold) almost 20 pieces today. This one used to be 1500, now it’s 2000 or 2500”, Hassan Hafeez, a trader at the Balogun market said.
A local resident Ify fears the virus could spread because of porous borders. He accused the government of doing little to contain the spread in case it spreads.
“I’m very sure it will spread in Lagos, because with the borders and everything. Our government is not doing anything closing the borders. When I first heard about the disease outbreak I’m thinking maybe the government will reduce the incoming of the foreigners. Because for sure I knew the foreigners would bring it. Since I’ve heard that the foreigner in Ogun State had brought it in … it will spread”, he said.
At a press conference Friday, Nigeria’s health minister Osagie Ehanire said the infected person was an Italian citizen who flew into the commercial hub from Milan.
He added that the patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms. The patient he said was being treated at a hospital for infectious diseases in Lagos.
There have been shock waves on the continent following news of the virus over weak health systems. Egypt and Algeria have both recorded a case each on the continent.