Coronavirus: FG stops Nigerians from going to China

The Federal Government has asked Nigerians to halt any plans to visit China for now in view of raging case of Coronavirus in the Asian country.

Also, the Anambra State government has banned its citizens from travelling to Wuhan, China, following the outbreak of the disease.

The developments came as the House of Representatives warned Nigerians against self-medication as part of the measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Federal Government had briefed him about the measures put in place to prevent the disease from spreading to the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday that the FEC approved a travel advisory for Nigerians, stating clearly that all travel plans to China be stopped in the meantime.

Ehanire updated the session on the spread of Coronavirus at the meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The advisory also directed all returnees to Nigeria from China to be indoors within a period of two weeks to fully monitor possible symptoms.

The government also directed all airlines flying into Nigeria to report any passengers with signs of illness to airport authorities upon landing at any airport in the country.

The minister stated, “In view of the trending stories around the Coronavirus, it has become very necessary to issue a travel advisory to Nigerians. The first is that all Nigerians and all from Nigeria, intending to travel to China should delay all their travel plans until further notice, except it is extremely essential for them to do that trip.

“All persons arriving from China or any country that has a major outbreak are advised, if they have no symptoms at all, to self isolate. This means that they stay indoors in their homes for at least two weeks and if they develop any symptoms, like cough, catarrh, sneezing and breathing difficulties within this period, to report to the nearest health facility.

“We are also advising all airlines to report any case of a passenger falling sick on board before the plane lands. That is a requirement in the agreement.

“The Nigerian Port Health Services and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control are on the alert at our airports and other points of entry. That is the advisory.”

The minister clarified that returnees were not only Chinese who might have travelled out of Nigeria, but all persons visiting Nigeria from any part of the world with disease concerns or health alerts.

Gbajabiamila said, “My office has been briefed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on our preparedness to prevent the occurrence of this disease here, as well as the contingency plans to prevent its escalation.

“The NCDC, working with the Ministry of Health, the Ports Health Services, the United States Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation, amongst others, has put in place protocols for identifying, isolating and testing those who are deemed to be most at risk. And they have enhanced screening and surveillance at our nation’s ports of entry.

“There are no direct flights from China to Nigeria, so we do not have the option of placing an embargo on flights coming from there. However, the NCDC maintains open lines of communication with the government of China to ensure that passengers coming from there through whatever route are identified and screened at the points of entry.”

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba, warned Anambra citizens to shun Wuhan.

The statement read in part, “The Coronavirus pandemic may have started in Wuhan but it is a clear and potent danger to the international community, including Anambra State.

“We advise all the people of the state not to travel to the city of Wuhan for now despite its allure as an industrial and transport hub.”

The statement added, “The safety and comfort of every Anambra person, whether at home or abroad, will remain on the priority list of the Governor Willie Obiano administration.”

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