The Federal Government has released N386m to two health agencies to ensure that the deadly coronavirus, code-named Convid 19 by the World Health Organisation, does not spread to the country.
This was made known by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Abdulahi Mashi, during a press conference by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora.
Mashi said, “It is true that intervention was sought from the presidency and the Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning because of the level of the emergency. I can confirm to you that N71m was released to the Port Health Services division of the (health) ministry. The Nigeria Council for Disease Control was also given N315m directly. Other requests are in the pipeline and yet to be released.”
Mamora said the Minister of Health had created an inter-ministerial committee to provide oversight leadership, coordinated by the NCDC.
He said, “Nigeria is receiving technical support from WHO, Africa Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organisation. The Port Health Services has intensified screening of passengers coming from China and other countries of high risk. Screening forms have been provided to all airlines.
“As of now, there is no report of any confirmed case in Nigeria. Clinicians are being trained on management of cases at the moment. We are developing a stockpile of medical supplies to be used in the event of any outbreak. Our capacity for testing has been enhanced because we have three laboratories in Edo and Lagos states as well as in Abuja.”
On Lassa fever, he said, “We are responding to Lassa fever outbreak. Between January 1 and February 16, we had 586 confirmed cases with 103 deaths from 26 states. Of all confirmed cases, 73 per cent is from Edo State.”
On the strange disease in Benue State, which has claimed some lives, the minister said what was known so far was that the use of a certain chemical to fish in some rivers contaminated the fish and the body of the water, which resulted in the death of those who consumed them.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Authority has warned that global airlines could lose almost $30bn in revenue due to a rapid decrease in travel demand, caused by coronavirus epidemic.
IATA gave the warning in its latest airline industry forecast.
“If it spreads more widely to Asia-Pacific markets, then impacts on airlines from other regions would be larger,” the organisation said.
According to IATA, the outbreak will also likely reduce global traffic by almost five per cent, marking the first overall decline in demand since the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
“Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes,” the IATA Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, said.