By Johnbosco Agbakwuru Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday advised Nigerians to suspend any plans to visit China for now in view of raging case of Coronavirus in the Asian country.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, gave the advice in Abuja on Wednesday, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja.
The Health Minister said that he briefed the Council and gave an update on the outbreak of Coronavirus.
He said that after his presentation, the FEC approved a travel advisory for Nigerians, stating clearly that all travel plans to China be stopped in the meantime.
According to him, the advisory also directed all returnees to Nigeria from China to be quarantined outdoors within a period of two weeks before fully interacting with their families, adding that the two weeks would be used to monitor possible symptoms on the bodies of the returnees.
Besides, he said that the federal government has also directed all airlines flying into Nigeria to report any passenger with signs of illness to airport authorities upon landing at any airport in the country.
He said that all disease control and monitoring agencies in the country had been alerted to be on the lookout for any signs of the infection.
He 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 do 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, meaning that they stay indoors in their homes 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, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control are on alert at our airports and other points of entry. That is the advisory.
Asked about Chinese who are expected to return into the country from their Lunar Year holiday in China, the Minister explained that the advisory does not use nationality as a criterion.
“We don’t have statistics on the number of Chinese returning to this country, but what I can telling you is that for those who traveled and meet the conditions we mentioned can come back to their work.
“I also want to remind you that there are very many Nigerians in China who will be coming home, not only Chinese and other people who have works to do in Nigeria from that area. We are not using your nationality as a criterion, we are using your state of health”, he said.