The Lagos State Government says it has partnered with the Chinese Embassy in Lagos to reduce the risk of novel Coronavirus importation after the Chinese New Year celebration.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the state’s Commissioner for Health, made this known on Wednesday in Lagos at a media briefing highlighting the state’s preparedness to prevent or contain the spread of Coronavirus to the country.
Recalls that the new Coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV) are zoonotic diseases, and was first reported in Wuhan City, China, on Dec. 31 and has since been detected in 15 other countries, including Thailand, Japan, Germany, France, Canada and the U.S.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the confirmed cases count in China approached 6,000, with 132 fatal cases, and 70 confirmed cases outside China occurred in people who had travelled from China.
WHO noted that over 100 people have died from the virus which is from the same family as SARS and the common cold.
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.
The commissioner noted that from checks, many Chinese nationals had travelled and would intend to return soon.
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 spread of the virus, if eventually it gets into the country.
Abayomi said the free medical treatment was to ensure that residents do not stay away from hospital due to paucity of funds and resort to self medication, which he said would spread the virus.
He advised residents to maintain high level of personal and environmental hygiene toward safeguarding themselves from the infectious diseases.
The commissioner said that the ministry was also collaborating with the Federal Ports Authority at air, land and sea border posts to elevate screening and surveillance of the incoming travellers.
Abayomi said that the state biosafety laboratory had also commenced operation to ensure effective management of infectious diseases in the country.
He reiterated the state government’s commitment to the health and safety of her citizens, assuring them of the government’s preparedness to handle any eventuality.