Via Vanguard, an August 16 report: Ebola: Enugu residents live in fear. Excerpt:
The people of Enugu State were stunned by media reports on Wednesday regarding the return to the Coal City of a nurse infected by the deadly Ebola virus in Lagos.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who made the startling revelation while briefing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said the nurse was one of the primary contacts of the late American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer. The report said that the nurse was tracked to her residence at Trans-Ekulu area of Enugu by officials of the National Centre for Disease Control, who quickly conveyed her and her husband in a special ambulance back to Lagos.
The number of days she spent in Enugu before she was bundled back to Lagos was not disclosed but information available to the Enugu State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, indicated that the nurse and her husband attended a wedding somewhere at New Haven area last week and mingled with the crowd of celebrants.
The information minister had said 21 persons who had direct contact with the nurse had been placed on surveillance and 15 of them have been released after testing negative to Ebola virus. Speaking on the Ebola scare in Enugu, the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. George Eze, confirmed that the nurse and her spouse were taken back to Lagos.
The anxiety created by the report has continued to engender fear, panic and concerns among Enugu residents.
The development forced many gullible Nigerians to drink and bath with salted water, slowed down economic activities especially in the entertainment industry.
Many drinking and bush meat joints in Enugu were deserted just as popular spots like Otigba and Ogui junctions where the good-evening-girls loiter around were deserted. Many people were visibly scared of having bodily contact with anyone. Handshakes were stopped, while bus commuters devised means of traveling without any direct contact with their fellow passengers. In fact, everybody became a suspect.
Some rushed to Kola nuts sellers and bought bitter kola which they believe could neutralize the virus while those who could afford hand sanitiser procured and moved around with them.
A survey conducted by Saturday Vanguard within Enugu metropolis showed that a bitter kola nut now sells for between N50 and N100 [US$0.60] while a small bottle of hand sanitiser goes for N1,000 and above.