Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it has reached an agreement with the China Embassy in Nigeria to quarantine all Chinese travelling back to Lagos from their country in order to avert outbreak of deadly Coronavirus in the State.
The government said it was putting adequate measures in place to combat possible outbreak of the disease in the state.
At a news conference at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Commissioner for Heath, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the government was leaving nothing to chance to prevent outbreak of the disease in Lagos.
According Abayomi, many people in China living in Lagos had travelled back to their country to celebrate the Chinese New Year and had not returned before the outbreak of Coronavirus in their country.
He said anytime from now, many of them might be thinking of returning to Lagos for their businesses, which he said portended great risk of possible outbreak in Lagos.
Abayomi stated that the state government had met with the Chinese Embassy and that they agreed to send message to their people in China to stay back until the outbreak is curtailed before returning.
The commissioner said if some of them returned in the next few days, the state government had the instruction of the China Embassy to quarantine such Chinese for 14 days in their houses to see if they would present symptom of Coronavirus in order to avoid spread of the disease.
In his words, “We are very happy with the cooperation we are receiving from the Chinese government. We’ve had a very serious and high level discussion with the Chinese government through their embassy in Lagos, our primary concern has been the return of their citizens to Lagos in a few days’ time and we are happy to inform you that the embassy of China is also concerned about this, and they have sent out information through notifications to their citizens and companies located in Lagos that their citizens should try and remain in China until there is clarity about how this infection is going”.
“However, if some of them choose to return, and we cannot restrict people, if they do return to Lagos, the instruction from the Chinese Embassy is that they should be quarantined for a period of 10 to 14 days in their houses, hostels and accommodations.”
The Commissioner added that officials of the Ministry of Health would meet with associations of business men in Lagos, particularly those who make use of the China-Nigeria trade routes to advise them on their travels to Asian countries, particularly China and educate them on precautionary measures against contacting the disease.
Abayomi added that the government was doing everything possible to ensure that there is resilient and measures put in place to checkmate people’s entry into Lagos from outside the country, especially those coming affected countries.
He noted also that the peculiar nature of the State due to its very high dense population, many high density residential locations and a significant number of slums also makes it become particularly vulnerable to outbreak spread of infectious diseases.
“Lagos is also particularly vulnerable because of its peculiar nature; it is the largest megacity in Africa, it has a very high dense population and it has many high density residential locations and a significant number of slums and therefore it becomes particularly vulnerable to outbreak spread and it our duty to ensure that we put all strategies in place to try and prevent the entry or the spread of the virus in our communities”, the Commissioner said.
Abayomi explained that the State government recently activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) which is the command and control Center to coordinate operational information and resources for strategic management of emergencies in preparation against infectious diseases.
He disclosed also that citizens are being sensitized on precautionary measures against the spread of the infection as well as other infectious disease through circulation of various messages for behavioural modification.
He revealed that the Biosafety laboratory located at the Lagos Mainland Hospital, built to ensure effective management of infectious diseases has fully commenced operations. He added also surveillance activities are being intensified across the state to fast track the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases whenever they occur.
“We have recently activated an Emergency Operation Centre to fast-track the management and diagnosis of any outbreak of infectious disease. We are also ramping up security in our bio security unit at the Mainland Hospital designed to cater for a large number of patients with highly infectious diseases but in case there is an overflow of patients, we have in place contingency plans”, the Commissioner said.
He explained that the second pillar of the developmental agenda for a greater Lagos promised by Governor Sanwo-Olu as espoused in his T.H.E.M.E.S agenda which put health and environment in the same category is very important because most of the dangerous pathogens are kind of zoonotic infections which comes from the food chain and environment to infect