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In an effort to protect passengers from the deadly CoronaVirus ravaging some countries and to prevent the spread of such communicable disease into Nigeria, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has advised passengers and other airport users to comply with all quarantine procedures at the nation’s airports.

In a press release issued on Wednesday by Henrietta Yakubu, the general manager of corporate affairs at FAAN, the agency charged Nigerians and others travelling through the country to comply with measures issued by concerned bodies to ensure that the new virus, is prevented from spreading into the country.

Yakubu revealed that the equipment and personnel used in combating the deadly Ebola virus in 2014 are still in place at the airports to safeguard the current epidemic from entering the country.

The statement read in part, “FAAN has always had thermal scanners in her airports that monitor the temperature of passengers and capture their pictures. When passengers walk pass the scanner, it registers their temperature and if too high, they are pulled aside for observation.”

Coronavirus outbreak is reported to have killed 18 while 600 cases have been reported in China and several other countries as authorities work to prevent a global pandemic. The virus is highly communicable and has already spread to border countries like Japan, Thailand, and South Korea

Yakubu said the authority is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health, which has confirmed the adequacy of the facilities at the nation’s international airports to prevent the importation of the virus through the facilities into Nigeria.

Some other African countries like Kenya and South Africa have also taken precautionary measures in preventing the deadly disease from entering their countries. Kenya’s health ministry said it had heightened surveillance at all ports of entry and screening of passengers for coronavirus.

South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) meanwhile on Tuesday told citizens to rest easy over the respiratory condition and that public health was secured. The NICD’s Cheryl Cohen according to local media reports reassured South Africans that measures were being put in place to guard against the disease entering the country.

In line with this, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, issued a travel advisory that spelt out key measures being undertaken. Under the preparedness and response section, NCDC said it “is currently coordinating a multisectoral technical group that is assessing and managing the risk of importation to Nigeria.

“NCDC is in close communication with the World Health Organization (WHO) who is closely monitoring the situation globally. WHO is in direct communication with the Government of China and other affected countries, and has released technical and travel guidance,” it said.

Despite the fast-spreading rate of this deadly disease, the WHO argued that the outbreak is yet to attain the status of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a global designation to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.

By Ahmed Iyanda.


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