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Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2020

Coronavirus: Reps want public partnership to prevent disease spread

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By Christiana Ekpa

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has advised all Nigerians and people resident in Nigeria to assist the efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) by taking basic sanitary precautions going by the Coronavirus spreading from China to other parts of the world.
Gbajabiamila gave the advice during his opening address where other issues bothering the country were read to members upon resumption of plenary on Wednesday after the yuletide break the National Assembly embarked on.
He advised the public to avoid self-medication, avoid panic and report to the nearest medical facility if an individual or anyone known has travelled to the affected regions within the last fourteen days.
In a related development, the House resolved to direct the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Immigration Services, the Quarantine Services the Federal Airport Authority and other relevant agencies to set up screening centres at all points of entry into the country to screen and watch out with the view of preventing the transmission of the Virus into the country.
The resolution followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance at plenary and was sponsored by the House deputy whip, hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia, APC).
Explaining the motion, Mrs. Onyejeocha expressed worries that the said Coronavirus which originated at a seafood market in the central Chinese city
of Wuhan on the 7 of January, 2020, has now spread to more than 15 Countries including Canada, United State, Australia and France.
According to her, there are fears the transmission rate of the virus will balloon as hundreds of millions are expected to travel to China for business and pleasure especially during the forthcoming Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.
as “High That the World Health Organization has assessed the Global Risk rate of transmission of the as “High”.
“Several countries have taken measures to prevent the Spread of the Virus to their countries or within their counties. Such measures include Strict Lockdown of Cities, asking anyone who has returned from Wuhan, China in the last 14 days to self-isolate, to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, issued travel warnings apgainst Visiting China”, she said.
The lawmaker further expressed concern that “despite Nigeria and Nigerians being major trading partner with China which is the ground zero of this Coronavirus and also partner with other countries that have been affected by the virus stands a high risk of having the virus transmitted to the country”.
Members like the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, Mr. Chike Okafor (Imo, APC) in their contributions to the debate, called for adequate media publicity on need for public awareness on the coronavirus and how to prevent its spread in the country.
The House therefore directs the Federal Ministry of Health in corroboration with other relevant agencies to set up testing and isolation centres in all points of entry into the country for the purpose of detecting symptoms of the Coronavirus and where necessary isolate concerns, with particular emphasis on travelers from Counties that have already had cases of the virus.
It also directed that all health institutions within the country to be on high alert for signs of the virus with the view of curbing the virus at its bud in the hopefully unlikely event that the virus is transmitted into the country.
The House Committees on Health are therefore mandated to ensure implementation.

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