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Nigeria Not Prepared for Coronavirus, Senate Warns

Despite assurances from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigerian Senate yesterday rejected the preventive measures being taken against the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) by the agency, describing them as poor.

The Senate alleged that the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies were taking things for granted, warning that Nigeria could not afford to be caught unawares before waking up to take the right preventive steps.

Adopting a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroface, the upper legislative chamber charged its committee on health to put pressure on the health ministry and other related agencies to ensure that the right thing is done.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, said: “While the Federal Ministry of Health and the associated agencies may be doing their best, this best is not good enough and we should not take anything for granted.

“We must be prepared. We must take all the necessary measures at our ports – airports, seaports. If someone is coming from China, he should be quarantined, not self- isolation.

“I urge the committees on primary healthcare and health to engage with the Federal Ministry of Health once again. We want to see every possible effort done in our airports or seaport.”

Opening the debate on the matter earlier, Boroface, who introduced the motion through Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule, narrated his experience on a visit to South Africa and compared it to Nigeria, submitting that Nigeria was yet to wake up.

“I was in South Africa on Friday, I came back yesterday. Because of the issue of coronavirus, every country in the world is taking preventive measures because the wisdom is that prevention is better than cure. In South Africa, we were not allowed to leave the aircraft for good 30 minutes. Officers of the medical corps came into the aircraft and screened everybody before we were allowed out, but I arrived yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport and there was no screening.

“All we were given is a sheet of paper to indicate whether we were sick and whether we have been to one country or the other and how we will be contacted if there is an emergency. How will you try me? How do you know if I have fallen sick? This is very frightening.

“Something has to be done to ensure that we do not give way to a situation which we will not be able to control. Countries that have adequate medical facilities are working hard to ensure that they contain the spread of coronavirus. From what I saw yesterday, I am afraid.”

Also speaking on the suspected case in Lagos, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, told journalists, yesterday: “The likelihood of COVID-19 infection in this particular patient was very low and the conclusion of investigations and sophisticated testing confirms that there is no case of coronavirus in Lagos State as of now.”

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Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant source.

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