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FG includes France, Germany, Spain on list of high-risk countries

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
17 March 2020   |   4:00 am
The Federal Government has included France, Germany and Spain among high-risk countries with widespread community transmission of coronavirus on its watch list.

The Federal Government has included France, Germany and Spain among high-risk countries with widespread community transmission of coronavirus on its watch list.

Earlier, the Federal Government had list China, Japan, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea on its priority list, bringing the number to eight countries.

To this end, travelers from these eight countries would undertake secondary screening at the point of entry and are also advised to isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Minister of State for Health Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who stated this while giving an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country yesterday in Abuja, said government was monitoring the coronavirus situation and would take appropriate decisions in the best interest of Nigerians.

He stated that the epic centre of COVID19 has now shifted from China to Europe and warned against complacency, adding that the coronavirus has shown that it was a non-respecter of persons.

“We saw that health ministers, vice president, wife of a Prime Minister have been affected. It is not time to be complacent because it comes with a huge price.

“We shouldn’t be carried away with insinuations that the blood of the black man is resistant to the virus or that our tropical geographical location does not allow the virus to survive,” he said.

Mamora noted that in spite of the fact that Nigeria has not recorded a confirmed COVlD-19 case in the last one week, it was important to remember that the country was still at high risk like other countries.

“Therefore, we will continue to monitor returning travelers that fit our case definition and improve our surveillance, detection and risk communications.

“In Enugu State, a 70-year-old woman returned from the UK and had symptoms of fever and mild respiratory illness and her sample was collected for laboratory diagnosis but she tested negative for COVID-19,” he stated.

The minister explained that Nigeria’s position was to do a supervised self- isolation, as it does not consider it necessary at this point to impose compulsory isolation for arriving passengers when they have not shown any suspicion of coronavirus.

On why the Federal Government was dilly-dallying over placing travel restrictions on countries with high burden of coronavirus, he said, “Each country will be at liberty to determine the kind of restrictions to put in place based on their experience and the realities on ground.

“We are monitoring situations, we will not impose restrictions for now but the situation is dynamic, we have not said that we will not do it, we will do it if it becomes necessary.

“The fact that we have not put in place travel restrictions at this point in time does not mean that if the realities on ground dictates that even before the end of the day, that will be announced, that announcement will be made because we are monitoring and interacting with various bodies in the world and we also have the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines today.

Speaking, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe ihekwazu, confirmed that the result of the Enugu case was negative and appealed to the media to see the fight against coronavirus as a collective responsibility in order to move the nation forward.