Coronavirus: Senate raises the alarm, says no proactive measures in place

•Demands that travellers from China be quarantined

The Senate has expressed concern over lack of proactive measures by appropriate government health institutions and agencies to ward off the global scourge of coronavirus.

At the plenary on Thursday, it mandated its Committees on Primary Healthcare and Health to open discussions with the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that precautionary measures were put in place to prevent the pandemic from spreading to Nigeria.

President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan also suggested that travellers from China be quarantined.

He said: “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.

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The Senate resolution was sequel to a motion raised by Senator representing Ondo North, Senator Robert Ajayi- Boroffice.

Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Rules, Senator Ajayi- Boroffice decried the absence of health officials at the nation’s air and seaports to screen travellers into the country.

The Senator who gave his personal experience in South Africa where travellers were kept onboard the aircraft for medical screening for 30 minutes lamented that no such screening took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja when he returned to the country.

He said: “I was in South Africa on Friday, I came back yesterday (Wednesday). 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.

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“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 trail 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.

Tribune Online checks revealed that common signs of the scourge ravaging China and which has sent millions of people in the Asian country to early death include, respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

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