The Honourable Minister of Health Dr, Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that the Ministry has strategised to contain COVID–19. The Minister made this known during a Ministerial Press Briefing held today in Abuja following the updated on COVID -19. He also informed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a Pandemic as it is spreading increasingly to other countries. He affirmed that between 7th January to March 12th 2020 a total of 42 people who met our case definition, have been screened for COVID -19 in 6 states: Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Yobe, Rivers, Kano, and FCT from which 40 tested negative while 2 were confirmed positive; the index case and a contact of index case with no deaths.
He further stated that the index case is clinically stable, much improved and by early next week, steady progress will guide the Medical Team to discharge him while the second confirmed case a contact of the index case, has cleared the virus and would be permitted to go home since tested negative to the virus.
He also disclosed that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were pre- informed by the US – Centre For Disease Control of a group of 4 children and their teacher, who flew into Lagos from United States. On arrival because they had contact with the index case, were tested and they all came out negative so they will be on self-isolation for 14 days. Which if without symptoms all contacts of the index with the index case will be allowed to fit into the society
He mentioned that the Multi-sectoral EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) would continue to oversee the national response activities and ensured that every state identifies a location that can be used to curtail the cases. Therefore, these states are being supported to scale up capacity in-order to meet their existing needs.
He informed that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with the Diplomatic Corps in Nigeria to furnish them with updates on Nigeria’s response strategy. He called for solidarity and cooperation in response to this pandemic urging their government to tighten health screening at their points of departure to help in the reduction of the virus risk exportation to other countries. He stated that the Ministry of Health is also monitoring the global situation closely and seeks advice from World Health Organisation (WHO).
He reiterated that as a result of COVID-19 outbreak, Federal Ministry of Health, reviewed the policy to allow passengers without Yellow Cards or proof of vaccinations board their flights to Nigeria with the understanding that they will be given on arrival at points of entry as the vaccination is free of charge, and the Yellow card is at a minimal cost.
He harped on the need to do so at Nigeria’s Point of Entry due to the on -going transmission of Yellow Fever in parts of the country. Adding that it is in the interest of health security of all passengers and the public. The date of the revised policy implementation was 11th March 2020.This is in line with WHO recommendation for all international travellers nine (9) months and older arriving in areas with evidence of persistent or periodic transmission of yellow fever.
He advised Nigerians to maintain good hygiene practices, dis-regard fake news and call the NCDC toll free line which is available 24 hours a week for guidance – 08009700000 up to 080097000010. He also encouraged that travellers give their correct contact details Port health services. Speaking earlier the Chief Medical Director National Hospital Abuja Dr. Jaf Momoh lauded the Minister for the effort so far in upgrading the centre and that they are working in synergy with NCDC to visit centre designated to contain the virus. Stressing that there is also need for more improvement.