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Port authorities contradicts NCDC on reported coronavirus cases on vessel

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Nigerian Ports authorities early Friday denied the reports by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that 6 new cases of coronavirus were detected on a vessel in Lagos.

“In respect to the 6 new cases that “were detected on a vessel” in Lagos, the Authority in collaboration with Port Health has not recorded any confirmed cases to date,” the ports authorities tweeted in a reply to the NCDC’s Twitter handle.

“To enable verification and proper record keeping, kindly avail us with specific details on the name of the Vessel the passengers were on board, and the Terminal or Jetty where they berthed,” it added.

The disease control agency Thursday night said 14 new coronavirus cases had been identified in Nigeria, taking the total number to 65. Six of the new cases were said to be detected on one vessel.

“Of the 14, 6 were detected on a vessel, 3 are returning travellers into Nigeria & 1 is a close contact of a confirmed case,” NCDC tweeted.

As at press time, NCDC has not reacted to the claims and the port authorities have not clarified.

The NCDC report prompted the Nigerian Government’s decision to restrict cargo over coronavirus on Thursday night.

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Twitter he had issued a directive that “only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock in our ports, after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the port health authorities”.

Buhari said the new restrictions would not apply to ships carrying oil and gas products because there was minimal human contact on such vessels.

Nigeria has closed its land borders and international airports in the last week to curb the spread of the virus.

But the country’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the country might take more strict measure citing an “exponential spread” threat of the virus “in days to come.”

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