A Nigerian footballer, King Paul Akpan Udoh, who is an Italian-Nigerian player, has become the first footballer to be infected with the coronavirus.
The Witness reports that King Paul who currently plies his trade with Pianese, an Italian Serie C side, was diagnosed with the disease on February 27, and he has been quarantined.
The 22-year-old Pianese forward started his career with Reggiana before moving to Juventus in 2011 where he was loaned back for a year. After progressing through the youth ranks of Juventus, the Nigerian footballer secured a loan move to Virtus Lanciano, a Serie B side in 2016 with an option to buy at the end of the season.
However, after failing to impress, Udoh was returned to Juventus and then loaned to Lega Pro side Pontedera later the same year. He had a loan stint with Pontedera, Fernana, Fano and Viareggio before joining Pianese on July 14, 2019.
The deadly coronavirus has spread from China to countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa with Italy being the country in Europe with the highest number of reported cases.
This online news platform understands that some Italian Serie A matches were postponed last weekend as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
On Friday, the Lagos state government and the federal ministry of health confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria. The index patient is an Italian who arrived in the country on Tuesday, February 25.
Nigerian Footballer Contracts Coronavirus
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, confirmed the case in a statement issued in the early hours of Friday, February 28, 2020, saying that the case involves an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and just returned from Milan, Italy on the 25th of February 2020.
This online news platform understands that the statement said the Italian was confirmed to be positive by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The ministry said in a statement that: “The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.
“The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit. He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
“The Government of Lagos State under the Governor as the COVID-19 Incident Commander, through the Lagos State Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos is controlled and contained quickly in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). We have immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
“I wish to assure all Lagosians and Nigerians that we have been strengthening our preparedness since the first confirmation of cases in China. We will use all the resources made available by the State and the Federal Government to respond to this case.
“We are working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he arrived in Nigeria. Please, be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only a mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses,” the statement read in part.