Coronavirus: Port Health places seaports on red alert

January 29, 2020
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THE Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health as stated that the nation’s ports are all on red alert following the spread of the deadly Coronavirus from China to other countries in the world.

It will be recalled that the virus has been detected in Cote d’Ivoire, one of Nigeria’s neighbours in the Gulf of Guinea.

Responding to inquiries on the matter by the Tribune Online, an environmental health officer of the Port Health Services who simply identified himself as Mr Adeboyejo, stated that once there is any sign of the virus in any Nigerian port, the Center for Disease Control would be immediately alerted.

Mr Adeboyejo, who is attached to the Port Harcourt port in Rivers State, in a text message, said: “For now, we are on red alert. If we see any sign of the virus at any port in Nigeria, the Center for Disease Control will be the first to be notified immediately.”

It will be recalled that the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), on Monday, warned countries in the region to intensify thermal camera surveillance on international borders, saying a suspected case of the new Coronavirus infection had been detected on arrival in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.

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WAHO, in a statement by Stanley Okoro, its Director-General, said though the patient had been isolated for more confirmatory tests, collaboration among ECOWAS member states remained critical to containing the spread of the disease in West Africa.

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He said: “WAHO fully supports World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendations to countries regarding active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, and contact tracing to prevent further spread of the recent outbreak of Coronavirus infection.

“It is, therefore, critical that all countries collaborate with one other to take precautionary measures since cases may appear in any country due to international travel.

“WAHO is coordinating with member states to share real-time information on the outbreak, enhance communication between countries and strengthen countries’ surveillance capacity, including early detection of suspected cases through thermal camera surveillance at international borders.

“One such suspected case arriving in Abidjan airport recently was immediately detected and isolated and tests are now being performed to confirm whether this is a case of Coronavirus or not.”

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