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NCDC keeps mum over availability, manufacture of protective equipment

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- Enugu trade fair to begin despite coronavirus concerns

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday declined comments on the availability of personal protective equipment to ensure that workers safeguard themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others with Coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had raised the alarm that severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding, and misuse was already putting lives at risk from Coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

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WHO urged industry leaders and governments to increase the manufacturing of personal protective equipment by 40 per cent to meet rising global demands due to COVID 19.

When contacted on whether Nigeria has enough personal protective equipment in its kitty or if the government was discussing with any supplier or manufacturer to increase what is available, Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, did not respond.

All efforts The Guardian made to get the NCDC boss, who is on self-isolation since his return from an official trip to China, proved abortive.

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Also, when reminded through a follow-up text massage that his response was still being awaited, Chikwe also failed to make any comments as at press time.

Meanwhile, in spite of concerns over the outbreak of Coronavirus, officials of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) have disclosed that its 31st International Trade Fair billed for next Friday would begin as planned.

President of ECCIMA, Emeka Nwandu, told reporters in Enugu that Japan, Bangladesh, China, Ghana, and South Africa had indicated interest to participate at the fair, stressing that it was partnering with the Ministry of Health to ensure the safety of all participants.

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Nwandu said a temperature check manned by health experts would be installed at all entry points in the permanent site of the fair, stressing that members of the public should not panic over the outbreak.

“We are putting everything in place to ensure that the Coronavirus issue does not deter our plans. We are conscious of the fact that people need to be healthy to enable them to participate at the fair. We are doing just that and we are reassuring participants that they don’t have anything to fear,” he stated.

Nwandu, who was flanked by other officials of ECCIMA during the briefing, also disclosed that the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport would not affect the fair, adding that willing participants could use the Imo or Asaba airports.

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