As a second wave of COVID-19 ravages countries like UK, France, Germany, Spain and others in Europe, the Federal Government of Nigeria says it has drawn up plans to reduce the risk of importing the disease through international trips.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed this at the Presidential Taskforce, PTF briefing on COVID-19 Tuesday, saying it is imperative for all citizens to comply with non-pharmaceutical preventive measures to avert a 2nd wave of infection in the country.
Affirming the vulnerability of the nation to imported virus, he said “18 out of about 78,000 returning travelers have tested positive for #COVID19 upon 2nd screening in Nigeria”.
Towards limiting the nation’s risk to the virus through international travels, Ehanire revealed that he has directed the Department of Hospital Services to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC in designing a criteria & a strategy for sentinal surveillance with sample collection at Outpatient Clinic of Federal Tertiary Institutions & their outreach to support the work of state authorities.
“The PTF has initiated stringent measures to limit the risk of importing the virus via international travel”, he stated.
In the African region, the burden of the disease has risen to over 1.8 million confirmed #COVID19 cases with more than 1.4 million recoveries and 43,000 deaths cumulatively, as revealed by the World Health Organisation.
The agency listed affected countries in the region with number of new cases as at Tuesday to include South Africa with 1,241 new reported cases, Ethiopia, 560 new reported cases, Kenya 492 new cases, Angola, 349 cases, Nigeria,137 new cases, among others.
The Health Minister, who expressed government’s concern over the recent surge of infection in Europe where they have resorted on another round of lockdown to curtail the spread of the disease said this puts Nigeria on a heightened risk.
“The UK, France, Germany, Spain and others in Europe have resorted to lockdown and other measures, to control the pandemic.
“With the high volume of air traffic between Nigeria and Europe, we are examining the associated risk factors for Nigeria.
“Our concern is heightened by several emerging factors that challenge whatever gains we may have made in recent months”, he emphasised.
He however urged schools management to ensure that all staff at the sick bay are trained on infection, prevention & control and provided with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).