Nigeria: Coronavirus - Nigeria Will Not Quarantine Suspected in-Bound Travellers - Minister

Nigeria will not officially be quarantining travellers coming into the country but will insist on their self-isolation for 14 days, the minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said.

Mr Mamora, while giving a national update on coronavirus in the country, said self-isolation has been an effective way of checking the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

He said anyone coming into the country from countries with reported cases of Covid-19 will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

He explained that the government will be taking thermal temperatures, visual scanning and giving forms to every airborne passenger coming into the country.

He said the Port Health Services screen travellers, review travel history and persuade passengers to provide accurate information on forms for effective tracking.

Mr Mamora said Nigeria will only do more of supervised self-isolation of passengers using the details they have provided to check on them (travellers).

"We will monitor the travellers who come into the country. We will also be doing the thermal and visual screening. We don't consider it very necessary at this point in time to isolate (quarantine) people compulsorily when they are not giving any symptoms or features of Covid-19," he said.

Mr Mamora had earlier said Nigeria will not be restricting any foreigner from travelling into the country irrespective of where they are coming from.

He had said there has no need yet for the restrictions but added that the nation would do so when the situation warrants it.

No ban on gatherings

Also, Mr Mamora said the country will not be banning any public gatherings as there is yet no need for such measures.

Some countries such as Ghana, Iran, among others had placed a ban on public gatherings in others to reduce the spread of the virus.

However, Mr Mamora said there is no yet need for such in Nigeria. He said NCDC has developed guidance for mass gatherings.

"We have not advised against any closure or cancellations of large events. However, organisers of the event must ensure that appropriate measures are in place such as temperature scanner, hand washing facilities, etc," he said.

Training

In the meantime, he said the government has also begun training health workers on how to handle Covid-19.

He said training has been done for health officials in Lagos and Ogun states, "and others would follow soon".

Mr Mamora also advised that Nigerians should endeavour to practice good hygiene and wash their hands with water and soap regularly.

"This is also a good time to push for cashless transactions because it will be of good for everyone," he said.

Meanwhile, the Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, at the briefing spoke on what he learnt from China where he was one of the ten-member delegation sent by WHO to study the measures made to curb the outbreak.

Mr Ihekweazu said that the entire (Chinese) community was mobilised to move the country out of the outbreak.

"It was not left to the government, doctors, port health services or China CDC. I appeal to all of you to see it as our collective challenge and collective responsibility in providing Nigeria with the information to move the country forward.

"We have people who are developing guidelines for schools, for mass gatherings and all of these are available on our website. We know information is changing rapidly that is why we have not printed them," he said.

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