FG sets up Corona Virus Preparedness and Response Committee.

Nigeria has now acquired in-country capacity to test for Coronavirus

The Federal Government of Nigeria has set up a Corona Virus Inter- Ministerial/Multi-Sectoral Preparedness and Response Committee to plan and come up with strategies for the prevention of importation of the Virus into the Country.

The Committee is also expected to put in place an action plan for joint response in the event that importation does occur to ensure its containment.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made this known in Abuja while briefing the Press on the level of Nigeria’s preparedness for the emergency situation recently.

He said in view of the WHO’s declaration of the Virus as a global Public Health Emergency, there is a need for collaborative, inclusive, coordinated and increased surveillance and response system activation.

He also informed that as at 31st January, 2020, more than 9,700 confirmed cases have been reported mostly in mainland China alone and about a 100 cases around the world; current fatality number is 213, all of it from the Hubei Region of China, where the epidemic epicenter is located.

According to him, there are two cases in Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya respectively, the status of the case in Cote d’Ivoire is negative while the status in Kenya is still unclear with the potential clearly demonstrated.

He said while the risk of importation exists, “We must assure Nigerians of our capacity to detect, assess and respond to this and other public health threat at all points of entry.” He continued that ongoing surveillance at points of entry include temperature detection with thermal and visual observation of those who may have signs or symptoms of illness.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated the Corona Virus Preparedness Group and will activate its incident command system for the Virus once there is a suspected case.

The Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, expressed optimism and faith in the capability of the Federal Government to tackle public health emergencies, adding that adequate public sensitization and awareness creation was key.

While fielding questions from Journalists, he called on Members of the Public to take issues of personal and environmental hygiene seriously.

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, said he looks forward to the commitment and effective collaboration of relevant stakeholders assembled for the task.

He maintained that Nigeria has the capacity to effectively manage the situation with appropriate deployment of available resources, as the successful response to the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria remains a benchmark in the history of Public Health in general.

In attendance at the meeting and press briefing were Delegates from Ministries of Information, Aviation, Interior, Police Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Agriculture, Transportation, Immigration, Customs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, NEMA, NCDC, USAID, US-CDC, amongst others.

Enefaa Bob-Manuel
Head Media and Public Relations