…Anyone coming from China must be quarantined, not self-isolation
…Summons Health Minister, Ehanire
By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has taken a swipe at the Federal Government, saying that it was not doing enough to prevent Nigerians from being infected with the Coronavirus infection that is currently leading to deaths in some parts of the world.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja during plenary, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said that while the Federal Government may be carrying out some proactive steps, it was not doing enough and this must be improved on if Nigeria must escape from the infection.
Lawan spoke when the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Robert Ajayi Borrofice, All Progressives Congress, APC, Ondo North raised a point of Order on poor handling of the situation and lack of proper screening in the nation’s Airport compared to what obtains in South Africa.
The Senate has however said that anyone coming from China into Nigeria must henceforth be quarantined, not self-isolation to ensure that Carriers of the Virus do not transfer the disease to others, just as it said that the Country’s Ports, Airports and Seaports must be properly manned, with the officials carrying out thorough search on the People.
Lawan said, “We want to see every possible effort done in our airports or seaport.”
Consequently, the Senate has mandated its Senator Chukwuka Utazi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu North led Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases and that of Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe, APC, Kwara Central led Committee on Health( Secondary and Tertiary) to summon the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to engage with him once again.
The President of the Senate said, “While the federal ministry of health and the associated agencies may be doing their best, with this explanation. This best is not good enough and we should not take anything for granted.
“We must be prepared. We must take all the necessary measures at our Ports, Airports, Seaports. If someone is coming from China, he should be quarantined, not self isolation.
“I want to urge the committees on primary healthcare and health to engage with the federal ministry of health once again, We want to see every possible effort done in our airports or seaport.”
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Borrofice who came under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders which has to do with Personal Explanation lamented the way and manner the staff at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport without any screening carried.
Borrofice who noted that he went through vigorous screening for thirty minutes inside the Aircraft at the South Africa Airport where he was coming from, with total absence of such in Nigeria said, “I was in South Africa on Friday, I came back yesterday. Because of the issue of Coronavirus, every country in the world is taking preventive measures because the wisdom is that prevention is better than cure. In South Africa, we were not allowed to leave the Aircraft for good 30 minutes.
“Officers of the Medical Corps came into the aircraft and screened everybody before we were allowed out, but I arrived yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and there was no screening.
“All we were given is a sheet of paper to indicate whether we were sick and whether we have been to one country or the other and how we will be contacted if there is an emergency. How will you trial me? How do you know if I have fallen sick. This is very frightening.
“Something has to be done to ensure that we do not give way to a situation which we will not be able to control. countries that have adequate medical facilities are working hard to ensure that they contain the spread of coronavirus. From what I saw yesterday, I was afraid.”
Recall that the Federal Government had said penultimate week that it will spend N620m special intervention fund to monitor, detect and contain the deadly Coronavirus.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on health, just as he briefed the Senate panel on the level of his ministry’s preparedness to manage the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Also recall that the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian had disclosed that 60 Nigerians were trapped in Wuhain as death rose to 361.
According to him, the Coronavirus infection had risen to 17,205 from 14,380 confirmed cases while 361 persons had died from the disease, which originated from Wuhan in China.
He said that about 21,558 individuals were also suspected of being infected with the virus in the Chinese mainland, just as he disclosed that 475 others had been discharged from the hospital after recovery.
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