By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja; Samson Zanunga, Taraba; Francis Ogar, Calabar and Jude Dangwam, Jos
Panic and tension spread across most states of the Federation at the weekend, following confirmation of more cases of Coronavirus in the country.
At press time suspected carriers of the virus were being isolated in some states even as the number of those who have so far contacted the virus rose to 10 in Lagos.
The states were adopting various strategies to Stem the spread of the various in the event of any confirmed cases.
In Plateau state, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Ndam, has affirmed that no fewer than 43 persons have, so far, been isolated from public domain in Wase local government area of the state following the return of four Chinese nationals into the state last weekend.
The affected persons would stay indoor for closed observation until the 14 days incubation period, beginning from 28th February to 10th and 11th March, 2020 to ascertain if they had contacted the virus or not.
Ndam, who stated this yesterday at a press conference in Jos, said this was part of efforts so far made in respect of the arrival of the four Chinese nationals in the state, noting that a total of 43 persons had already been kept in isolation.
“The Head of the Chinese team in Wase with 24 Nigerians working with them and also living in the same compound were told not to moved out and nobody should go in until March 10, 2020.
“We have closed also the water sources which the Chinese team leaders provided as part of his social services to which the host community and locals, often fetched from.”
The Commissioner added that the remaining 3 Chinese nationals, who came into Yakubu Gowon Airport on February 26, 2020 and proceeded to Bakin-Kaya village of Wase LGA in Plateau state, were also kept in isolation alongside the 15 locals working with them at the mining site.
Ndam assured citizens that they have reactivated their health emergency centres in the University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Lamingo and that of Plateau Specialist Hospital, respectively.
“The ministry received a communication on the 28th February,2020 from Immigration Services that three Chinese nationals came into the state.
“Our team comprised of staff of the Ministry, Police, DSS, Immigration Service were also dispatched immediately that date, upon reaching Wase, they discover that instead of 3 Chinese, they were 4 including their head who came in on 25th while the 3 came in 26th February, 2020.
“They both show that they were screen at Adis Ababa Ethiopia and also screen in Abuja, but we said we have to observed them for 14 days first and be sure they are not in anyway infected with the virus. Though the head of the Chinese first resisted, but upon seeing government team he agreed.”
Governors Place States on Red Alert
Since the first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa was confirmed in Nigeria, last week, state governments have been making frantic efforts to avert the spread of the deadly disease in the country.
Report stated that the first case was imported through an Italian citizen who flew into the commercial city of Lagos from Milan on February 25.
…Taraba is Combat Ready
Taraba State Government has assured citizens of its readiness to deal with any outbreak of the coronavirus in the state.
According to the state Commissioner of Health Dr Innocent Vaka, precautionary measures have been put in place to handle any eventuality with regards to the Covid-19 disease which has already made an appearance in the country.
He revealed that the state specialist hospital Jalingo has been earmarked by the health ministry for the purpose of isolation and treatment of the virus.
“We are on top of the situation and I therefore urge Tarabans to be vigilant and to quickly report any suspicious health concerns that may be related to the symptoms.
Our health personnel have been trained since the outbreak was first reported in China and the necessary equipment and treatment gadgets have been procured to guard against any complacency on the part of government”.
Meanwhile, a visit to few business outlets within the metropolis has seen an increase the purchase of hand sanitizers and nose mask as a preventive measure against the spread and contact of the disease this was confirmed by a shop owner.
Cross River on High Level Surveillance
The Cross-River State Government says there is high level of preparedness, surveillance and screening exercise in the state following a confirmation case of COVID-19 in Lagos Nigeria last week.
Dr. Betta Edu, Commissioner for Health Spoke at a press conference in ministry of Health Headquarters, Calabar.
She said that no case of the COVID-19 has been identified in the state and that the state government is ramping up its level of preparedness.
The Health Commissioner said that there is strict monitoring of visitors at the Margret Ekpo International Airport Calabar, Calabar seaport and governor’s office.
Edu also said that there is ongoing collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC, Federal Ports Authority, UCTH, CRSPHCDA and other line MDAs as well as partners; WHO, UNHCR on screening and surveillance.
She further said that isolation centre have been created at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH and the General Hospital Ogoja Local Government for the Northern Senatorial District of the state.
Government further said that it has provide ambulances in all the 18 Local Government Areas and the Health Centres in the state for the purpose of any reported case.
The Commissioner for Health said that Government has carried out sensitization in all the 18 Local Government Areas and involved chiefs, village heads and family heads that jingles were on Cross River State Radio & Tv station.
To contain the disease the commissioner said “the Cross River State Disease outbreak response team in collaboration with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital is also currently working on building urgent capacity to identify the virus in their health Facilities and isolation centres across the state in the event of any suspected case in the State.”
“The state Ministry of Health is also in touch with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) In Abuja to align strategies”.
“As you have noticed all ports entry in the state has been man by health officers screening everyone entering and leaving the state.
Government said that the spread of the infection can be prevented by; Proper hand washing with soap and water and use of hand sanitizers. “You are encouraged to wash your hands after sneezing or coughing, when caring for the sick, before, during and after you prepare food, before eating, after toilet use, when hands are dirty, after handling animals or animal waste”.
Some of the other preventive measures are; to cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, avoid anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms and people are encouraged to carry disinfectants with high content of alcohol in their bags to regularly disinfect their hands especially while outdoors. Avoid unnecessary contact with animals.
Benue Creates Emergency Response Committee
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has set up Emergency Response Committee (ERC) on Coronavirus (COVID-19.)
The Committee is to proactively monitor, supervise and coordinate Benue State Government’s response to the dreaded disease.
Headed by the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Sunday Ongbabor as Chairman and Dr Samuel Ngise as Secretary, the Committee also has Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Ngunan Addingi, Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Engr. Dondo Ahire, as well as Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir.
Other members of the Committee are Mr. Apir Ityu, Dr. Terna Kur, Mr. Agwaza Iorkpiligh, Mr. Matthew Uyina and Mr. Moses Leva, Dr. Edward Amali, Mr. Claude Bitaronga, Dr. Peteru Inunduh, Professor Terrumun Swende, Dr. Alli Cornelius, Dr. Patrick Echekwube and Mr. Michael Adejo.
Governor Ortom has directed that surveillance on coronavirus be stepped up in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State. Already, a treatment centre has been established at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital and a location identified to be used as quarantine unit in the event of any outbreak of the disease.
The Governor urged Benue people to adhere to preventive measures and assist health workers in their various communities to succeed.
We’re Armed to the Teeth – Wike
The Rivers State Government has expressed its readiness to manage COVID-19 if it is recorded in the oil capital of the country.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, in its report released in January listed Rivers among four other states vulnerable to the novel Coronavirus.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Director Planning, Research & Statistics, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Chinwe Atata, said following the emergence of the virus in Lagos, the Rivers State government has raised its preparedness level for COVID-19 to alert mode with the establishment of multi-sectoral emergency preparedness Technical Working Group, specifically dedicated to reviewing the risk for COVID importation and evaluating the response pattern as events unfold in the State.
Atata said surveillance at the International Airport Omagwa has been strengthened with multiple layers of screening from inflight assessment to the use of thermal cameras for early detection of suspected cases as well as secondary screening for selected passengers.
“Following the confirmation of the first case of COVID – 19 in Lagos, Nigeria, it has become imperative to brief you on the State of preparedness and necessary preventive behavior we should adopt in the interest of Public Health Safety. COVID – 19 was first discovered in the WUHAN Province on 31st December, 2019.
“The risk of importation into the country was considered high especially as result of trade and travel traffic.
“The Rivers State Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (especially the Ports health services), the National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum surveillance at all international entry points in the State.
“In line with our protocol, all asymptomatic travelers from impacted areas coming into the State are placed on self-isolation for the maximum incubation period of the disease and monitored through the period at their destination within the State by assigned surveillance health officers without stigma.
“So far and for the avoidance of doubt, there is no case of COVID-19 in Rivers State.
“In addition, we have marked out an ad-hoc treatment centre for COVID-19 in case of any eventuality. Presently, the State rapid response team is reinforcing preparedness with simulations for evacuations and triage at this centre. We have in stock, sufficient quantities of commodities especially Protective personal Equipment and supportive drugs for therapeutic interventions in case of further challenges.
“All health facilities should ensure strict and appropriate IPC at all triage points. Citizens are further advised not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that can cause panic and lead to danger.
“The Rivers PHEOC will continue to provide updates and pursue all necessary measures to ensure public health safety.”
…Ganduje Approves Emergency Hotlines
The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has urged citizens to use the emergency hotlines provided by the Ministry of Health in case of any eventuality.
The governor, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said the surveillance and emergency response measures were in place to tackle possible outbreak of any communicable diseases.
He said government had provided emergency hotlines for citizens to call if they feel unwell or suspect a case of the coronavirus.
The statement appealed to the public to follow precautionary measures recommended by the Ministry of Health and other relevant government agencies.
… Don’t Increase Face Mask, Sanitiser Prices – FG
The Federal Government has warned that suppliers and retailers using the excuse of coronavirus case in Nigeria to inflate protective apparel, will be prosecuted.
It said sellers of face masks and latex gloves, personal hygiene products like sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes, have increased prices of the products, which are necessary in preventing infection or spread of COVID-19.
Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), at the weekend, said the inordinate practice during national public health concern violated both moral codes and extant law.
Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Babatunde Irukera, in a statement, noted that abusing citizens’ sensitivity, apprehension, anxiety and vulnerability, especially during emergencies that could adversely affect national security, was a violation of law.
“Any conspiracy, combination, agreement or arrangement to unduly limit or manipulate supply, in order to unreasonably enhance price or otherwise restrain competition is a criminal offence under S.108(1)(b) and (c), FCCPA”, he noted.
“Any exercise or exploitation of undue pressure in selling or the sale of goods or services, or price manipulation between displayed, and selling price are also serious violations of the FCCPA under Sections 115(3) and 124(1).
“Taking advantage of the possibility of infection by a dangerous communicable disease to control supply, or unilaterally increase prices is predatory as it preys on the desperation of citizens.
“Considering the circumstances and the vital national interest/security this illegal conduct undermines, the Commission intends to strongly enforce the full letter of the law, including the fullest extent of penalties associated with this conduct,” he added.