In a bid to detect and tackle suspicious cases of coronavirus, the federal government has disclosed that there was high level inter-ministerial consultation aimed at setting up a multisectoral committee to scale up surveillance and vigilance to contain the virus.
To this end, five major airports in the country would be on close watch, according to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, while speaking at a press conference in Abuja.
Coronavirus, which is like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), is contacted through human-to-human transmission and has infected more than 1000 people in China and the death toll has risen to over 106.
Ehanire also called for a national sensitization and health awareness in the country.
The health minister noted that the committee would comprise of critical stakeholders in the health, security, aviation and transport sectors as well as development partners.
He said, “Bearing in mind that air travellers, rather than land border crossers, are more likely carriers of this type of virus, attention will focus largely on our five international airports.
“Considering the possibility of importation of the coronavirus to Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health is working with relevant ministries and agencies to strengthen surveillance, preparedness and response to public health emergencies at our various points of entry.
“The Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health is the responsible public health authority at international Points of Entry (airports, seaports and land borders) and is currently implementing measures at these points to forestall importation of the coronavirus to Nigeria.”
In addition to the Porth Health Services, the health minister said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had set up Coronavirus preparedness group and was ready to activate its incident command system for coronavirus.