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FG advises Nigerians to delay visits to countries with Ebola cases

FG advises Nigerians to delay visits to countries with Ebola cases
February 22
20:38 2021

The federal government has advised Nigerians to delay travel to countries that have recorded new cases of the Ebola virus.

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Guinea and Congo have reported new cases of the Ebola virus over the past four weeks.

Speaking during the presidential task force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said the country is observing developments on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea.

He also explained that Nigeria is working closely with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) to prevent the spread to other countries in the region.

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“Our port health service officers are on high alert to step up border surveillance of travellers arriving by air or over land from destinations around the outbreak country to avert disease importation,” Ehanire said.

“Although Nigeria was classified as a moderate Ebola risk country because of our distance from Guinea, health workers in our hospitals have also been put on alert to have a high index of suspicion, and the population is hereby requested to report suspicious symptoms, including fever and bleeding in the community, among recent arrivals from the West African subregion.

“I also use this opportunity to advise Nigerians intending to visit countries in the general area to delay the visit, while WHO carries out support activities, including ring vaccinations.”

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On COVID-19, the minister said despite available records showing that there is a global decline in cases and deaths, Nigeria is still intensifying its monitoring.

“This trend in reduction compares with global observations of seeming decline in COVID cases, signifying that the second wave may be receding,” he said.

“We are intensifying the monitoring of COVID-19 positive cases, especially those that can self-isolate, by strengthening and improving the capacity of personnel, to manage home-based care.

“However, I emphasise that those on home-based care should report to their hospital or case managers immediately they begin to experience symptoms, or feel their symptoms are getting worse.

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“Experience has shown that COVID-19 disease can deteriorate suddenly and rapidly, resulting in life-threatening severity, that could be managed if presented early enough. Late presentation is a leading cause of increase in mortality.

“It is important to follow medical advice and comply with directives. The bed occupancy at our isolation and treatment centres is about 36 percent, so there is sufficient bed space to comfortably accommodate patients, and we stand ready to redistribute from heavy burden to lower burden hospitals if the need arises.”

The minister added that there are reports of an offer of 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines to the AVATT portfolio, which will boost availability to 557 million.

“This would be a great relief to the African region and also increase the variety of vaccines to four. The vaccine coordination committee will advise on the best options for Nigeria, bearing salient factors in mind,” he said.

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“Nigeria is aware of official reports of large-scale fraud and counterfeit vaccines that are already in circulation. Since our vaccine needs for this year are virtually fully satisfied by multilateral and bilateral original manufacturer sources, the ministry of health does not, for now, intend to procure vaccines from private importers, and no vaccine will be allowed into the country unless they are certified by NAFDAC.”

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