Olorunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for health, says a Nigerian doctor has died in Canada after contracting coronavirus.
Coronavirus kills prominent Nigerian pathologist Doctor Olumide Okunuga in Canada
His daughter Doctor Bolanle Okunuga was asked to identify his body from a distance before he was taken for cremation
Mamora was addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday while giving an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“We must be conscious of not being complacent, the price to pay for complacency is huge. I have heard people say that the black man’s gene is resistant and so COVID-19 is not for us,” he said.
“Don’t forget, some black men even from Africa, even from Nigeria have died, unfortunately. We heard the story of one doctor who lived in Italy, a Nigerian, a black man.
“So we should not get carried away. There are a lot of things known about COVID-19 and there are still things unknown. We have to be very careful about believing claims that are yet to be fully validated.”
Olumide Okunuga, a Nigerian doctor who lived in Italy, was reported to have contracted the disease in Canada.
Okunuga, who was aged 63, was a pathologist until his death.
Mamora said calls to reveal the identity of the index case are contrary to the patient confidentiality clause which offers him protection.
“If you recall the case of the Nigerian doctor that lived in Italy but died in Canada or something. His daughter was called to identify him from a distance,” he said explaining that contact with the index patient is not advised.
Answering a question on if Nigeria would introduce a travel ban to prevent importation of the disease, Mamora said the health authorities are monitoring the situation.
“We are monitoring the situation and we have received an action guideline from the World Health Organisation. We’ll do it if it becomes necessary even before the of today,” he responded.
Ghana announced on Sunday that it would close its borders to travellers from countries where there are more than 200 cases of coronavirus.
South Africa has also shut 35 out of its 53 land borders, banned gatherings of more than 100 people and schools will be shut from March 18.