COVID-19: Italian contacts hit 39 in Ogun as Lafarge denies production closure

An additional 11 contacts have been identified in connection with index case of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ogun State, making the number of the contacts 39.

The state government on Friday disclosed that 28 persons who had contact with an Italian victim of the virus during his visit to a plant of Lafarge Africa Plc, in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state, had been identified and quarantined inside two clinics inside the cement factory.

The state government also said that the plant was shut and quarantined following the discovery of the case. But the management of Lafarge on Saturday debunked the closure of the cement production lines.
Speaking at the Lafarge facility, Ewekoro, during an on-the-spot-assessment by the Ogun State government team, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO), the company’s Industrial Director, Segun Soyoye, said 11 more people who had contact with the Italian had been identified and quarantined, insisting the plant was not locked down.

He explained that the Italian came to Lafarge facilities in Ewekoro to inspect some installations of machines bought from a Swedish firm and he didn’t go beyond Lafarge Guest House at Ishofin Estate before he was evacuated, having developed abnormal temperatures that suggested he had been infected with Coronavirus.

He said: “The Italian came for a business visit. He was in Lagos on Monday and slept at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja. Our driver took him from there, and when we observed abnormal temperature and symptoms, we quickly instituted an Emergency Response Team which is led by the Company CEO, we have to find a way of analysing and identifying not only the Italian but also the other contacts.

“The contacts are now 39 and we have quarantined them, the house and clinic as well as the vehicles. We don’t take chances that is why they are put there. Today is Day 3, they will be there for 14 days, we will continue to observe them, we have their database, showing their biodata and other information. The doctor is here and what he is doing is to check them on a regular basis, so far everybody is stable, they are not symptomatic, we are providing everything for them over there.

“The other thing that I have not said is that the clinic that was used for the infected person is closed, disinfected and we moved everybody out, all the guys at duty that day, they were also quarantined, so they will be there for 14 days as well.”

Speaking, Tomi Coker, Ogun State Commissioner, commended Lafarge Africa management for quick and proactive measures taken so far, saying it is also imperative for state and federal governments to swing into action to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

Also, Ibrahim Mamadu, Team Leader of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, lauded internal processes undertaken so far by Lafarge Africa to contain the deadly disease, but advised the company and others, to acquire digital thermometers to check body temperatures instead of infrared thermometers for accurate body temperature readings.