Coronavirus Updates

March 1, 2020

Family links: Anxiety in Benin, as coronavirus epidemic ravages Italy

Benin Airport

Benin airport

*…as screening begins in Benin Airport, motor parks

*At 5:43p.m. on Sunday Italy had 1,128 confirmed cases, 29 deaths, 46 recovered

By Ozioruva Aliu

With coronavirus ravaging Italy, there is anxiety in Benin City, Edo State capital, and other parts of the state, as many families in the state have relatives in the European country. The Nigerian index case is also from Italy.

This has led to the decision to commence screening of travellers using Benin Airport by a joint team of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Nigerian Red Cross and other stakeholders.

Italy, according to Global Cases John Hopkins CSSE, has 1,128 confirmed cases. Of this figure, 29 deaths have been recorded, while 46 patients recovered.

Italy’s is the third-highest cases of confirmed coronavirus infection. Mainland China is first with 79,826 confirmed, 2,990 deaths and 42,670 recovered. South Korea is second at 3,526 cases, 17 deaths and 30 recovered. These figures were last updated at 5:43p.m., on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Red Cross in Edo State, Festus Alenkhe, told Vanguard on Sunday that the screening of passengers at the airport would begin from Monday.

He said: “We Just had a meeting with officials of NEMA and FAAN in Edo. From next week, our volunteers will be at Benin Airport to join the health personnel in screening travellers.

“We are in touch with the Edo disease control unit. The international federation of the Red Cross is making efforts to support all Red Cross branches nationwide.”

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State govt intensifies efforts

Also, the state government, on Sunday, corroborated Alenkhe’s claims, adding that health officials were also sent all motor parks to screen travellers coming into the state.

The Deputy Governor, Mr. Philip Shaibu, said this during a meeting with stakeholders in the health sector and representatives of the World Health Organisation, WHO, at Government House, in Benin City.

He said: “Coronavirus is completely different from Lassa Fever. Contact is also there, but the sneezing and coughing is one critical thing we need to look at. From the state government end, we are very cautious of those entering our state.

“We are also looking at the motor parks and Benin Airport. We need to start our screening from all the entry points into the state. Our health workers and our partners will be deployed to these flashpoints.”

He added that Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is going to be a centre for screening of any suspected case of coronavirus, adding “we need to know how prepared they are. The public also needs to know that Irrua Specialist Hospital is one of those hospitals that any suspected case will be taken for screening.”