By Lawrence Olaoye
The federal government has clarified that the nation is so far free from the dreaded Coronavirus desease but will still consider Nigeria a high risk country as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Briefing newsmen after the monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, said the Council was convinced by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, that there was no case of Coronavirus in the country.
He said “We were briefed about the status of Corvid-19 which is the Coronavirus worldwide disease by the ministers of health, the Director-General of the National Primary Health Board. As of February 25th, we have worldwide confirmed over 80,239 cases, we have over 2700 deaths worldwide. In Africa, it’s been confirmed that only Egypt and Algeria that have confirmed cases but we have seen a transition in countries outside of China – Italy, South Korea, and a few other countries.
In Nigeria, the good news is, yes there have been a total of 11 suspected cases but all the 11 have turned out to be negative. In fact, there was a scare in Lagos yesterday, about two cases but all have been confirmed negative as we speak. But Nigeria still places itself on high risk, as also advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
So, what the federal and all the states are doing, we are looking at all the international airports that we have as major entry points: Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt they continued to be a major source of external in-road to the country. The alertness in each of these airports is very high. But we also have got testing facilities and are ready at the NCDC lab in Abuja, Luth in Lagos, in Edo State and also the University of Osun, all have been activated and all state governments have been told to have a level of preparedness.
“The minister told us what they are also doing in terms of public sensitization, and they are also ensuring that there is an enhanced screening especially at the ports of entry. We are strengthening the deployment of digital screening when visitors are coming in sometimes they won’t even know that cameras are watching them and are taking pictures. They have all of them in-store at the airport that I mentioned.
“We were also given an update around the lassa fever that we have in the country currently. In the last month, we have about 103 cases nationwide and we recorded 13 deaths and there are in 18 states that this incidence has appeared including Edo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Plateau, Enugu, Gombe, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Taraba, Delta, Rivers, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Lagos. Of all these confirmed cases, about 72 per cent of them are prevalent in Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi states.
“So the ministry of health and federal government are concentrating on these three major states. But what we have seen between the first of January to 23rd of February, as I have said, there have been a total of 690 confirmed cases and 118 deaths.
The first one I have was in the last week which was 103 and 13 death but since the first of January to 23 February we have had 690 cases and we had a total of 118 death reported. But we are told that it’s been well managed, there has been a drop of about 15 per cent year-on-year. It’s a seasonal disease but year-on-year there is a national drop of about 15 per cent already.”