The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said that the Chinese government, through its embassy in Nigeria, is working with the state to prevent the entry of coronavirus into the state.
Abayomi disclosed this on Wednesday while giving an update on the state government’s level of preparedness to prevent or contain any possible entry of the disease as well as other infectious diseases into the state.
He said the areas of cooperation include the issuing of advisory on travel between China and Lagos and self-quarantine of persons coming in from China and other endemic countries especially from South-East Asia to Lagos.
The Commissioner noted that the Chinese government has sent notification to her citizens to remain in China until there is clarity about the spread of the infection.
He added that the Chinese government has also instructed that their citizens who choose to return to Nigeria should be self-quarantined for 10 to 14 days.
“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.
“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, 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,” he said.
He added that officials of the Ministry of Health would meet with the association of businessmen in Lagos, particularly those who make use of the China-Nigeria trade routes, to advise them on their travels to Asian countries particularly China.
The commissioner, while outlining strategies and plans that have been put in place by the state government to prevent or contain the possible outbreak, averred that Lagos is particularly vulnerable and susceptible to an entry of the virus due to the large trading population between Nigeria and China.
He also noted 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 the spread of infectious diseases.
Abayomi explained that the state government recently activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) which is the command and control centre to coordinate operational information and resources for the strategic management of emergencies in preparation against infectious diseases.
“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,” he said.