By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Nigeria port health services are on alert
at points of entry to curb the spread of coronavirus to the country.
The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) was first identified by Chinese researchers with the pathogen behind a mysterious illness that had sickened 59 people in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in central China.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer of NCDC said on his tweeter handle — @Chikwe_I, that the centre was aware of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
“The boundaries we hold dear are not respected by infectious diseases.
“The recent emergency of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China and its spread to other countries within weeks reminds us of the threat infectious diseases pose to all countries.
“Though the risk of spread to Nigeria is moderate according to WHO, we remain at alert and continue to strengthen preparedness,” he tweeted.
In addition, he commended the pace at which China generated the genetic sequence of the virus and made the information available to the global health community.
He also tweeted that “this is a step in the right direction, which will further understanding of virus and define response activities.
“We are carrying out regular risk assessment and reviewing our level of preparedness in the event of coronavirus outbreak.
“Our emergency preparedness team holds daily epidemic intelligence review meeting to guide response activities.
“We continue to build strong systems.
“We are working closely with colleagues in the Department of Port Health Services to strengthen surveillance at various points of entry, especially from China.
“The advice to travellers from China is to report to port health officers or NCDC, if they feel ill.”
Meanwhile, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is expected to convene an Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations on Wednesday.
The meeting is to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made
to manage it.
Nine people have died and hundreds have been infected by a new type of coronavirus, according to Chinese medical authorities.
Beijing has identified 440 patients carrying the virus across 13 Chinese provinces, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
Elsewhere, the semi-autonomous territory of Macao also confirmed its first case on Wednesday, adding to infections detected in Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
As with all the cases that have been identified so far outside of China’s borders, the Macao patient had travelled to the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, where scientists suspect the virus was initially transmitted from animals to people.
The U.S. reported its first patient carrying the disease on Tuesday – a U.S. citizen who had visited Wuhan.