Italian man with Coronavirus attempts to escape from Lagos isolation center over poor living conditions

The Italian citizen diagnosed with Coronavirus in Lagos, have attempted to escape from the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba area of Lagos state.

According to Health workers at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, the Italian man threatened to escape from the poor living condition of facilities at the Isolation center. A senior staff of the hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that the Italian man complained bitterly about the excessive heat and mosquitoes in the room where he is being isolated. 

“The patient wanted to run away yesterday (Friday). The Italian man, who seems to be an engineer, was very angry that the room where he was kept was very hot. There is nothing there (inside the isolation ward) aside from bed and hospital locker. He almost ran away and is still threatening to do that” the Health worker who did not wear any personal protective equipment required of workers in such an environment said

The health worker went on to state that, the level of preparedness in Lagos State for infectious diseases such as Coronavirus(Covid-19) and Lassa fever “is zero.” According to the anonymous health staff, Lagos State has no facility to accommodate people who might have come in contact with the Italian man, adding that the only facility that can accommodate both suspected and confirmed cases of Coronavirus is still undergoing renovation “and might take a while” before it can function fully.

The staff also said the isolation area where the Italian is been isolated, was a room in one of the wards, and that it was immediately vacated to accommodate the index case.

“The only thing demarcating the room from other rooms in the ward is a red and white barricade tape. That is where the Italian man that tested positive to Coronavirus is kept. There is no single equipment inside that place. It is just like any other regular hospital room with a bed. That building you see that is being repainted is the original place meant to quarantine Coronavirus patients. As you can see, the place is not ready. The state government is just renovating it, despite the fact that the virus started spreading since December 2019. It is really sad that a country like Nigeria is never ready to medically contain infectious disease outbreak. This is why most health workers leave because they are predisposed to danger of infection.” the staff said

According to the health worker, the Mainland Hospital does not have a ready and designated facility to isolate and treat Lassa fever patients, talk-less of the deadly Coronavirus. 

“The place meant for Lassa fever patient has been under construction in the past one month. It is not yet completed. As you can see, they are makeshift structures, hurriedly put together with white tarpaulin. They are not permanent structures and I don’t know how this place can actually accommodate humans that have a highly infectious disease like Lassa fever,” he said.

The health staff added that the state government has indeed identified those that came in contact with the Italian man in the state, however they have not been quarantined because the state lacks the requisite facility.

“The standard medical operational procedure is to track all contacts and have them quarantined to avoid further spread of the virus. But we cannot do that here because we lack such facility, which is why there is emphasis on self quarantine.

“Even where the Italian man is presently being isolated was a room vacated by a patient. I pray God saves us in the coming months because we are not ready for the danger posed by the Coronavirus.” the staff said

A nurse at the facility, who seem to be unconcerned by the situation on ground, was seen walking out of the isolation area without wearing any personal protective equipment. When asked by a Punch Reporter why she was not wearing any face mask and gloves, she said;

“What is coronavirus? Gloves and face masks cannot do anything. We have been working here for years with people that have deadly diseases. At last, all of us will die,” she said

The Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, held a press conference on Friday February 28th, where he revealed that the state government is ready to curtail the spread of the virus. Obafemi Hamzat, the deputy governor, who spoke to TVC on Friday, said the state has a 100 bed space for the isolation and treatment of anyone with the virus. 

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