COVID-19: We’re not taking our eyes off land, sea borders – Minister
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire
The Federal Government has said that it is not leaving the nation’s land and sea borders unchecked as it works towards containing the import of Coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was a guest on Channels Television Sunday Politics.
He maintained that since the outbreak of the virus in China, there was an inter-ministerial meeting with agencies responsible for manning Nigeria’s entry-point.
“On January 31, we had an inter-ministerial and multi-sectoral meeting in Abuja with services related to coming into the country”.
“We have focused largely on our international airports; the five, of which four are functional at the moment. The possibility of importation by sea is remote but we are not taking our eyes away from there, the Ports health authorities are also with us in our conversations.”
The minister added that: “land border is also remote, but again, we are not taking our eyes off the ball there.
“Looking at the possibility of importation, people bringing it in, as happened in the case of Ebola, it was one man who came in with that disease and it spread; again, in this case, it is one man from Italy who came into the country and we are pursuing it with a robust mechanism,” he maintained.
Dr Ehanire said that the method adopted to carry out scans at entry points is not obvious for people to see, and if anyone is suspected to have a fever, they are invited to step aside for closer observation.
“There are people who do not know they are being tested because we have remote cameras that are taking temperatures, so a lot of people think they have just walked and nothing happened. In reality, there is someone monitoring the screen and watching as passengers walk by and if they have a temperature, they are politely invited to step aside”.
“The frontline in this fight is the ports health services, they are the first to see passengers coming in and they do a thermal scanning to see who has a fever, we also take their travel history to tell us which countries they have visited in the last 21 days.
“What has happened in Lagos is like a test-run which has gone very well; we have worked out all the scenarios.”