Corornavirus: FG orders suspension of traveling schedule to China

  • Lagos, Chinese embassy agree to quarantine returning rationals

 

The federal government has advised all travellers from Nigeria, including Nigerians, planning to travel to China, to suspend their travel plans until further notice.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who dropped the advisory Wednesday evening while addressing State House Correspondents in Abuja, was speaking in regards to Nigeria’s preparedness to prevent the new global health scourge, the Coronavirus, from spreading in Nigeria.

The Minister, who was one of those who briefed the State House Press Corps of the outcome of the the maiden 2020 Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, also said those arriving in the country from China or any of the countries with a major outbreak of the disease would be under watch.

According to the Minister, all government agencies in charge of health issues development monitoring agencies had been set on alert at all ports of entry into the country.
He also advised that those coming into the country from China or any other country with a history of a spread of the disease, although who might not have observed any symptoms of the disease, to self-isolate for about two weeks to observe themselves.

“In view of the trending stories around the Coronavirus, it has become very necessary to issue a travel advisory to Nigerians. The first is that all Nigerians and all from Nigeria, intending to travel to China should delay all their travel plans until further notice, except it is extremely essential for them to do that trip.

“All persons arriving from China or any country that has a major outbreak is advised, if they have no symptoms at all, to self isolate, meaning that they stay indoors in their homes for at least two weeks and if they develop any symptoms, like cough, catarrh, sneezing, breathing difficulties within this period, to report to the nearest health facility.

“We are also advising all airlines to report any case of a passenger falling sick on-board before the plane lands. That is a requirement in the agreement. Nigerian Port Health Services, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control are on alert at our airports and other points of entry. That is the advisory.

Asked about Chinese who are expected to return into the country from their Lunar Year holiday in China, the Minister explained that the advisory does not use nationality as a criterion.
“We don’t have statistics on the number of Chinese returning to this country, but what I can telling you is that for those who traveled and meet the conditions we mentioned can come back to their work.

“I also want to remind you that there are very many Nigerians in China who will be coming home, not only Chinese and other people who have works to do in Nigeria from that area. We are not using your nationality as a criterion, we are using your state of health”, he said.

Quarantine for  returning nationals

Meanwhile,  Lagos State Government and Chinese Embassy have agreed to quarantine all Nationals who travelled home for the New Year Festivals and may be returning to the State.

State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi at a media briefing this Wednesday said the Embassy has also agreed to issue travel advice to her citizens to stay back home until there is clarity about the spread of the Coronavirus infection before embarking on a return journey to Nigeria.

Abayomi added that as part of the cooperation between Lagos and China, the Chinese government has also been told that should any of her citizen chooses to return to Nigeria, such should be prepared for self-quarantine for between 10 to 14 days.

He said: “We’ve had a very serious and high level discussion with the Chinese government through their embassy in Lagos and they have sent out information through notifications to their citizens and companies located in Lagos that their citizens should try and remain in China until there is clarity about how this infection.

“Our primary concern has been the return of their citizens to Lagos in a few days’ time and we are happy to inform you that the embassy of China is also concerned about this, is going”.

“However, if some of them choose to return, and we cannot restrict people, if they do return to Lagos, the instruction from the Chinese Embassy is that they should be quarantined for a period of 10 to 14 days in their houses, hostels and accommodations”.

 

In the meantime, as part of efforts to monitor and prevent outbreak of Coronavirus in the state, ministry of health officials are meeting with all Chinese associations, business men in Lagos as well as those who make use of the China-Nigeria trade routes to advise them on their travels to Asian countries particularly China and educate them on precautionary measures against contacting the disease.

 

The Commissioner noted that the peculiar nature of Lagos a high density city with slums, high travels of Nigerians on the China route  as well as being a home to large Chinese nationals, make the city vulnerable and prone to possibility of outbreak of the Coronavirus disease and other infectious diseases.

 

He however said government would offer free treatment to anyone who reports to any facility in the State on suspicion of coronavirus fever to  avoid situation in which people due to lack of money for treatment will hide at home and indulge in self medication and spread the disease.

 

Abayomi advised Residents to cultivate good hygiene and environmental hygiene practices to prevent an Ebola-style scenario in which lives were lost needlessly.

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