Coronavirus: Fed Govt warns against travelling to China

The Federal Government on Wednesday advised against travelling to China until further notice.

It asked those coming into the country from China to self-isolate for about two weeks.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, told State House correspondents in Abuja that Nigeria was prepared to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading.

He was one of those who briefed the State House Press Corps on the outcome of the maiden 2020 Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

The minister said those arriving from China or any of the countries with a major outbreak will be placed under watch.

Ehanire said: “In view of the trending stories around the Coronavirus, it has become very necessary to issue a travel advisory to Nigerians.

“The first is that all Nigerians and all from Nigeria intending to travel to China should delay all their travel plans until further notice, except it is extremely essential for them to make that trip.

 “All persons arriving from China or any country that has a major outbreak is advised, if they have no symptoms at all, to self-isolate.

They should stay indoors for at least two weeks and if they develop any symptoms like cough, catarrh, sneezing, breathing difficulties within this period, to report to the nearest health facility.

“We are also advising all airlines to report any case of a passenger falling sick on-board before the plane lands. That is a requirement in the agreement.

“Nigerian Port Health Services and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control are on alert at our airports and other points of entry. That is the advisory.”

The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Immigration Services, the quarantine services, the Federal Airport Authority and other relevant agencies to set up centres at all points of entry into the country.

It directed all the health institutions within the country to be on high alert for signs of the virus.

Also on Wednesday, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, advised Nigerians living in China to be cautious.

She said the Nigerian mission in Beijing is in touch with Nigerians in Wuhan.

In a statement NIDCOM spokesman Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerians in “to take necessary precautions by staying indoors more for now”.

She said they should avoid crowded and closed areas, avoid close contact with people with a cold, and to avoid eating uncooked meat and animals products for now.

The Anambra State government warned businessmen against travelling to Wuhan, China to avoid contacting Coronavirus.

Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, said in a statement: “Anambra State government has decided to issue this advisory to its people, fully aware of our reputation as easily the most travelled Nigerians, if not Africans.

“We advise all Ndi Anambra not to travel to the city of Wuhan, China, for now, despite its allure as an industrial and transportation hub.

“Any Anambra entrepreneur or traveller who has been to Wuhan in central China in the past three weeks is hereby advised to make use of our remedial measures by reporting to the Ministry of Health, Awka.

“Our screening facilities are available free-of-charge for all who feel somewhat endangered by the new highly contagious disease.”

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are taking measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus (CoV) through animals which may be brought into the country.

NAQS spokesman Dr Chigozie Nwodo said in a statement that it would strengthen inspections nationwide.

Also on Wednesday, the Rivers State Government (RSG) yesterday confirmed three cases of the dreaded Lassa fever.

Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Chinwendu Atata appealed to be calm and maintain improved personal and environmental hygiene.

He said the government would ensure it does not spread further.

Atata last week confirmed the death of one person from the state in a specialist hospital in Edo State.

She said over 50 persons who had contact with the index case in the state had been placed on surveillance.

No fewer than 113 have been infected with the deadly Lassa fever virus in Ondo State.

Sources revealed that the deadly virus has reached more than 10 out of the 18 Local Government Areas.

Most of the victims were said to have been quarantined at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owo.

Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it had partnered with the Chinese Embassy in Lagos to reduce the risk of novel Coronavirus spread after the Chinese New Year celebration.

Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi told reporters about the state’s preparedness to prevent or contain the virus.

Abayomi said that the collaboration was to ensure that the Chinese nationals who had travelled to China for the New Year festival remained there in order to avoid the spread of the virus to Nigeria.

According to him, the state government had collaborated with the Embassy to ensure that those who insisted on coming to Nigeria were quarantined upon arrival.

The commissioner said that the state would provide free medical treatment to anyone with the disease that turns up at any of its health facilities, as part of the strategies to reduce the spread of the virus, if it eventually gets into the country.

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