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Fresh concerns as telephone numbers of some passengers become unreachable

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Chinese govt, Lagos move against scourge
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that here have been a few challenges in tracing the contacts of some passengers on board the Turkish Airline that brought the Italian citizen confirmed with Coronavirus in Nigeria last week.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja said information available from the airline’s manifest showed that there were 156 passengers on board the aircraft, but that phone numbers provided by some of them did not work, while others were switched off.

He said, “We have identified 19 persons so far. Contact tracing is a specialised activity done by Epidemiologist who know exactly what questions to ask and how to tack people down and they find both primary and secondary contacts.

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“The 19 persons are already under observation and 39 in Ogun State, but we can’t give a fixed figure, because it is a work in progress, but the only one we know for sure is that the number of people in the aircraft was 156 and those ones are being tracked and talked to.

“The owner of the aircraft has been notified, the embassy has been notified and the embassy of the index case is being notified, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been notified because international health regulations require that if you find something like that, you inform the WHO, so, we are on a clean slate.”

Ehanire also noted that the Plateau State government reported four suspected cases on Saturday, February 29, 2020 among Chinese nationals and they all tested negative to Coronavirus infection after test at the NCDC reference laboratory, adding that they have been placed under self-isolation for 14 days.

He further explained that there was no new confirmed case of the disease in the country, saying, “About 14 tests have been done and no other person has been diagnosed.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has expressed readiness to work with Nigeria and other countries to ensure effective response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, said no Nigerian in China has been infected by Coronavirus. He disclosed that about 60 Nigerians lived in Wuhan city, the epic center of the epidemic.

However, to prevent an outbreak in Lagos, the state government yesterday launched an incident command system and is being set up to help contain the virus if it breaks out in the state.

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, explained that Coronavirus was a new pathogen to the human race and as such, research is still ongoing on how to arrest it.

While launching the incident command system Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the measure was not to stigmatise citizens of any country, but to take precaution in the interest of all.

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