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COVID-19: We’re worried about persons coming through land borders-FG

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Says they run higher risk of infection

*Urges all travellers to suspend non-essential travels

By Joseph Erunke

Border, Nigeria
One of the closed land borders in Nigeria

ABUJA-THE federal government has expressed fears that its ongoing efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus may be derailed by persons coming into the country through land borders.

The government said its fears were built on the fact that persons coming through land borders run a higher risk of infection while in a confined space for a long time, like transit in a crowded bus or car.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who said this on Thursday,in Abuja, at a press briefing held by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said following the development, it was “advisable that  all travelers postpone non-essential travel, whether national or international.”

READ ALSONigeria COVID-19 lockdown pushes Lagos poor to the brink

He also said,”In this regard, Nigerians are also advised to remain where they are resident and so stay safe, except if returning home from a journey.”

“We also worry about persons, especially Nigerians, returning to the country through land borders, who run a higher risk of infection while in a confined space for a long time, like transit in a crowded bus or car.

“Therefore, it is advisable that all travelers postpone non-essential travel, whether national or international. In this regard, Nigerians are also advised to remain where they are resident and so stay safe, except if returning home from a journey,” Ehanire said.

The minister said, “with the expanded national case definition and the addition of two laboratories to the NCDC network of COVID-19 molecular laboratories, the national testing capacity has increased.”

“Moreover, the lockdown in high burden States presents the advantage of reduced population mobility and leaves more people at home to be found during contact tracing,” he added.

According to him, “All of this means that more people and samples can be collected and tested more quickly, giving a shorter turnaround time, but it also means that more cases will be discovered initially than before. ”

He said, “With 71% of the over presumed 6,000 or more contacts now traced, the number of confirmed cases will be rising dramatically.”

“Contact tracing will still be intensified to reduce the number of outstanding cases.
a. We shall continue to expand the number of isolation centres and prepare ICU units across the country for those who may have complications,” he added.

The minister said the government had “also expanded bedding and intensive care space in Abuja, Gwagwalada and have urged all States to do the same in their states, starting with tertiary hospitals.”

“All facilities including private facilities where isolation and treatment of coronavirus are to be conducted will be inspected before accreditation by a team of experts,” he disclosed.

He said the” Office of the National Security Adviser shall be represented, due to national security implications.”

” I enjoin all States and facility managers to cooperate in the exercise because it will largely determine our success in containing the spread of the virus, ” he said.

Ehanire said the number of confirmed cases at the time of the briefing stood at 174, saying those discharged so far from treatment centres were nine.

Hear him: “As of 10 am today, 2nd of April, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 174 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 91 are in Lagos, 35 in FCT, 14 in Osun, 8 in Oyo, 5 in Akwa Ibom, 4 each in Ogun, Edo and Kaduna, 3 in Bauchi, 2 each in Enugu and Ekiti, and 1 each in Rivers and the Benue States.

“Those discharged from hospital care are still nine, but others are pending once final tests are done.

“Two fatalities are on record, these being cases with other serious pre-existing illnesses.

“As contact tracing and testing capacity are being ramped up, more and more cases will be found and the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to rise initially.”

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