Bassey Offiong, who had no known prior health issues, died on Saturday in the US of the coronavirus disease/Photo: Facebook

Nigerian student dies of coronavirus in US after being denied testing

A 25-year-old graduating Nigerian student identified as Bassey Offiong has died after contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city of Detroit, US. He was expected to graduate with a chemical engineering degree at the Western Michigan University in a few weeks but died Saturday, 28 March, after allegedly having been turned down several times for a coronavirus test in the Kalamazoo area while living off-campus, despite having fever, fatigue and shortness of breath – the symptoms of the coronavirus disease.

According to his sister, Asari Offiong, the deceased was suffering from fever, fatigue and shortness of breath but was turned away when he requested a test for coronavirus. He was told he had bronchitis. Bassey had no known prior health issues

Bassey Offiong was expected to graduate with a chemical engineering degree at the Western Michigan University in a few weeks/Photo: Facebook


“I told him to ask them to test him. He said they refused to test him. One medical staffer told him he had bronchitis,” Asari said. “I know God has him in his presence. He loved God.”

Before his death, Bassey was hospitalized aand spent the last week on a ventilator in their intensive care unit.

Asari spoke highly of her brother, calling him a “gentle giant” who had big dreams. He aspired to start his own organic makeup line with L’Oréal. “He’s just someone who thinks so big,” she said.

President of Western Michigan University, Edward Montgomery, said Bassey was someone with “enormous potential”. “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students, Bassey Offiong,” Montgomery said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family… They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Dr Okunuga died early March in Italy also of the coronavirus disease/Photo: Private


Early in March another Nigerian, 64-year-old Saraju Olumide Okunuga died in the Italian city of Modena. A pathologist, he was the president of Egbe Omo Yoruba in the Emilia Romagna region and the vice president of Yoruba National Community Italy.

Dr Okunuga was elected twice councillor in Modena, where he lived for 35 years.

According to media reports, no less than 10 Africans, including music legend Manu Dibango, have died of the disease in Europe since the outbreak of the disease.

Austin Ohaegbu

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