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Coronavirus: Preparedness high to stop importation into Nigeria- Minister

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Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says the level of preparedness is high to stop importation of Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the country, as the ministry has continued to strengthen its response plan.

Ehanire said this at a news conference on the level of preparedness of the Federal Government over Covid-19 on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the Federal Government had continued to strengthen surveillance at four international airports in the country to prevent the importation of the virus.

He added that the Ministry of Health was also in discussions with Chinese authorities and Nigerian Embassy in Beijing to guarantee the lives of Nigerians living in that country.

He said “I have met twice with Chinese ambassador, he told me that there are 60 Nigerians in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak is prominent; no Nigerian is sick and the authority is providing them with food.

“The information is confirmed by Nigerian Ambassador in Beijing and he too is taking care of Nigerians living in Wuhan.

“As far as the two fronts are concerned, we are on safe ground and we pray we continue to be on safe ground.”

The minister emphasised that the Federal Government had continued to strengthen surveillance at four international airports of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja to prevent the virus from getting to Nigeria.

He said that facilities were mounted in those airports to detect any passenger with high temperature for further testing, noting that the country  had capacity to test the virus in three centres of Abuja; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Lagos; NCDC and Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo.

“We have enough reagents to test; Chinese ambassador said they have supplied 2,000 doses of reagents for Africa Centre for Disease Control so that any country in the continent can apply for it.

“China has also shared the protocol for treatment of the virus with us, since they have treated 4,000 cases, we asked them for the protocol and the ambassador brought it yesterday.

“We have sent it to NCDC and some hospitals where we have isolation centres; we have all these, and we will do all we can to make sure that Nigerians are safe.”

In addition, he said, the ministry had been working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the agency had been supportive with information and diagnostic tools, among others.

Ehanire said that Nigeria was also in collaboration  with health ministries in West Africa to strengthen its preparedness and action plan.

According to him, no case of coronavirus has been reported in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, China on Friday reported 121 more deaths from the coronavirus, 116 of which from Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number of deaths across that country to 1,380.

The latest toll reflected the removal of some deaths that had been double counted in Hubei, the health commission said on Thursday, Chinese health officials had already reported 1,367 deaths.

Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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