There was palpable apprehension in the country on Tuesday when chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, tested positive for the virulent coronavirus disease.
A sizable majority of citizens castigated Kyari with some describing his action as reckless and irresponsible and others calling for his dismissal for constituting himself into what they belief was a threat to the life of the president.
But on Wednesday Kyari’s family dispel the narrative that he composed himself in a manner that shunned the directive of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that people coming into Nigeria from high-risk countries should undergo self isolation for 14 days.
Family sources who spoke with TheCable said Kyari did not self-isolate after the official foreign trip because Germany and the UK were yet to be added to list of high-risk countries requiring self-isolation.
“Abba was in Germany and the UK from 8th to 12th of March. He arrived Abuja on the 13th. As at that date, neither Germany nor UK had been designated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as high-risk destinations requiring self-isolation,” a family member, who spoke in confidence told TheCable.
“In fact, Germany was designated on the 16th and the UK on the 17th. Both were after his arrival on the 13th. To say he breached the NCDC advisory is evidently inaccurate.
“I’m aware Abba has volunteered to hand over his passports to the ministry of health and NCDC for a verification of his travel dates.
“I am in touch with Abba by phone and he is very much in high spirits. He is more moved by the messages of goodwill from well wishers than the usual negative stories out there,
“Up till now, he has not shown any symptoms apart from occasional coughing, so there is no other treatment other than addressing the cough. He does not have any fever and does not have any breathing difficulty.
“It is only if he exhibits serious symptoms or becomes seriously sick that he will be moved to the Gwagwalada quarantine centre. Part of the management strategy of the government is that since symptoms can resolve on their own, only those who really need emergency attention will be moved to the quarantine so as not to overwhelm the hospitals.
“Ironically, he was very active on Saturday and was holding meetings on how to address the outbreak of the coronavirus in Nigeria.
“Abba’s primary concern was how Nigeria can adopt a methodical approach to managing the crisis as health systems even in the most advanced countries are easily overwhelmed.
“If as good as the Italian health system is they are in this big mess, you can imagine anything near that magnitude in Nigeria.
“He was more concerned about the number of ventilators and ICUs in the country and asking questions about different scenarios, and what and what is needed.”