We‘re ready to contain Coronavirus if it breaks out in Nigeria – minister

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire, says Lagos State, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is well prepared and ready to contain the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infectious disease if eventually, it breaks out in Nigeria.

Ehanire gave this assurance on Sunday, while briefing newsmen after inspecting facilities at the Emergency Response Readiness designated for the Coronavirus victims at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba in Lagos.

“I can say that Lagos State is well prepared; there is a high level of readiness here, and also the awareness is there,” he said.

Enahire, therefore, commended the state government for its level of preparedness against the outbreak of any infectious disease in the state.

While expressing satisfaction at the infrastructure put in place, he said that the state, considering its vulnerability to infectious disease, had learnt lessons from the Ebola episode of 2014, and reflected the experience in its level of preparedness.

“It is quite clear that Lagos has a clear-cut edge in managing infectious diseases and preparedness.

“I am extremely happy that Lagos is equipped in the area of knowledge built from the foundation it obtained from the 2014 Ebola outbreak which the state-managed properly,” Ehanire said.

The minister, who also inspected the state Bio-bank located inside the Mainland Hospital, lauded the state government for deploying additional 30 health personnel to assist with surveillance at the ports entry.

“I am impressed that the state has taken science to a very modern and admirable level. This is obviously a place where a lot of lessons will be learnt,” he said.

The minister said that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with the state on knowledge sharing and support team.

Earlier, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said that the state had been working assiduously to prevent an import of Coronavirus into the state.

Abayomi said that the state government was ramping up its preparedness for containment should there be an outbreak.

“Since the experience we had with Ebola a few years ago, we have been building capacity, infrastructure, revising our policies and laws, training staff that are specially equipped to deal with the outbreak of infectious diseases like Ebola, Monkeypox, Lassa Fever and Coronavirus if it comes here.

“So, we are ready in Lagos; we have the facility, trained staff, and robust surveillance system in place to contain and effectively manage an outbreak,” Abayomi said.

The commissioner said that the state was supporting the Federal Government with staffs at the airport to ensure effective surveillance and screening of travellers.

Responding to rumours of a suspected case of coronavirus in Alimosho Local Government Area, Abayomi dismissed the news as fake, noting that Lagos has no suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus.

“We heard the same rumour and we deployed our biosecurity team there yesterday.

“They have gathered a lot of medical and community intelligence, and so far, it appears to us that there is no such thing and that this was fake news.

“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Lagosians and Nigerians that when you spread false rumours, it is actually very damaging.

“Though, it is testing our capacity to respond, but is also very expensive and can cause panic in the community apart from the stigmatisation it causes,” the commissioner said.

Abayomi noted that novel Coronavirus was not a racial illness, adding that the disease can affect anybody while warning that perpetrators of fake news would be punished when caught.

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