The Lagos State Government has described the report of a suspected case of coronavirus at a Chinese residence in Gowon Estate in the Alimosho Local Government Area of the state as fabricated.
Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said in a statement on Sunday, February 9, 2020 that, upon getting the report, the Surveillance and Biosecurity Unit of the Health Ministry commissioned a search party comprising Dr Odufuwa Alimosho, Dr Oni Mosan Okunola, Mr Abdusalam Akindele, Mr Akinfolarin Baruwa and a community informant to investigate the matter.
Abayomi said the Osoba Close or Street where the Chinese national alleged to have coronavirus live did not seem to exist in Gowon Estate.
This, according to him, was after “using all available intelligence from the key community members (ward locals, councillors, motorbike riders, market women, bartenders), programmatic implementation maps and Google maps, major streets in Gowon Estate was thoroughly searched”.
The commissioner said the investigation would be completed on Sunday, upon which he would make a briefing, adding that the ministry has already increased surveillance on hotels and other resort centres in Lagos.
Abayomi said: “If this turns out to be fake news, it will have been a waste of human and other government resources and unnecessary inducement of panicking and anxiety in the community caused by mischievous elements.
“It also results in racial stigmatisation. We shall commence all efforts to track down sources of intentional malicious news. This is a serious biosecurity offence.
“We also call on Lagosians not to engage in circulating false news of diseases outbreaks. This is considered a serious offence with biosecurity implications.
“Be warned that any person found to be engaging in this kind of misinformation will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”