Urges ECOWAS countries to intensify thermal cameral surveillance at Int’l borders
By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
West Africa Health Organization, WAHO, on Monday warned countries in the region to intensify thermal camera surveillance on international borders; saying a suspected case of the new coronavirus infection has been detected on arrival at Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.
WAHO, in a statement by Stanley Okoro, its Director-General, said though the patient has been isolated for more confirmatory tests, collaboration among ECOWAS member states remained critical to containing the spread of the disease in West Africa.
He said, “WAHO, the Institution of ECOWAS for health, fully supports WHO’s recommendations to countries regarding active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, and contact tracing to prevent further spread of the recent outbreak of Coronavirus infection.
“WHO assesses the risk of this outbreak to be very high in China (the originating country), and moderate globally including in West Africa.
“It is therefore critical that all countries collaborate with each other to take precautionary measures since cases may appear in any country due to international travel.
“WAHO is coordinating with the Member States to share real-time information on the outbreak, enhance communication between countries and strengthen countries’ surveillance capacity, including early detection of suspected cases through thermal camera surveillance at international borders.
“One such suspected case arriving Abidjan airport recently was immediately detected and isolated and tests are now being performed to
confirm whether this is a case of coronavirus or not.
“WAHO has implemented a regional laboratory network for access to rapid biological diagnostic facilities by the Member States and has a standby Regional Rapid Response Team to support countries if required.
“WAHO will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on this rapidly changing situation, and the ongoing measures to protect the region and the people.”
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The first case was reported in Wuhan Province of China in December 2019 and confirmed to be Coronavirus on 7 January 2020.
However, as at 27 January 2020, about 3000 cases have been confirmed across the world, with 2744 cases and 80 deaths in China alone.