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Nigeria Reports Chloroquine Poisoning after Trump Lauds it as COVID-19 Treatment

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Nigeria has reported that three people have overdosed on the anti-malaria drug chloroquine after President Donald Trump tweeted that it was a “cure” for COVID-19 last week.

A Lagos state official told CNN that the individuals were hospitalized after taking the drug. Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Lagos governor, issued a warning for people to stay way from chloroquine, despite Trump’s endorsement.

On Monday, Nigeria reported its first coronavirus-related death, according to the country’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The center announced the news via its official Twitter account and said that the victim was a 67-year-old man who suffered from several pre-existing health conditions, including cancer and diabetes. He had also been receiving chemotherapy treatments prior to his death.

Chloroquine was widely used in at least 40 African nations, including Nigeria, but was phased out after many who were prescribed the drug, showed significant resistance to the medication. Sales have since skyrocketed in the country.

Following his initial tweet, Trump doubled down on his cosigning of the drug during a press conference at the White House.

“It’s shown very encouraging—very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They—they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it — they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states,” Trump said. “Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s—it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved, by prescription.”

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s federal government announced plans to ban travelers from 13 countries to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The affected countries include China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The went into effect on Saturday.

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