- As FG directs screening of all arrivals into Nigeria irrespective of status
Lawmakers in Nigeria’s Lower House are to proceed on a two-week break to avert the spread of Coronavirus.
The Federal Ministry of Health said last Thursday, confirmed that Nigeria recorded its first case of coronavirus after an Italian national who arrived Lagos from Milan tested positive to the virus.
Several others who were suspected to have had contact with the Italian have been quarantined.
The lawmakers took the decision on Tuesday while adopting a contribution by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.
The motion is titled “Emergency response to the dreaded Coronavirus” brought before the house by Unyinye Idem.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has directed that everyone arriving from any part of the world into Nigeria should be screened irrespective of their social status.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, was said to have given the directive in Abuja at the inter-ministerial meeting on coronavirus.
All airlines are also expected to give screening forms to their passengers, irrespective of the status of such passengers.
Sirika was quoted as saying, “We will not allow them (airlines) do so (not to distribute screening forms) because we will not do that in their own country. Nigeria is taking this issue very seriously, especially civil aviation and those manning our airports.
“We will certainly deal with any airline that refuses to comply. We have the authority to do so. Also, all VIPs (very important persons) must be screened when they travel and return to the country.”
The Federal government is to deal with any foreign airline that violated coronavirus screening procedures for passengers arriving in the country.
A source at the meeting stated that the minister said airlines that failed to distribute contact tracing forms to their passengers upon arrival at any of the international airports in the country would be sanctioned.
The minister stated this just as there were indications that the government was facing obstacles in tracing some of the people, who had contacts with the first coronavirus index case.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said some passengers, who were on the same Turkish Airlines flight with the first index case, an Italian businessman, gave telephone numbers that were not working.
Also, investigations showed that ministries and departments within the Federal Capital Territory on Monday ignored safety tips by failing to deploy hand sanitisers to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Federal Government had last week, deployed more medical personnel to international airports across the country as part of efforts to step up screening of passengers.
The deployment followed the first coronavirus case recorded in the country on Thursday when an Italian businessman, who was on a visit to Lafarge African Plc, Ewekoro, was diagnosed with the disease in Lagos.
The Italian is currently in the isolation centre at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos. Also, no fewer than 100 persons, who had contacts with him, have been identified by the Lagos and Ogun state governments.
It was reported on Monday that isolation centres in the Federal Capital Territory, Kano, Ogun and Rivers states were not ready for use.
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