In a bid to stall the spread of the dreaded Ebola virus, the Federal Government, in conjunction with airlines, have agreed to set up isolation disease centres at international airports across the country.
The Federal Government on Friday announced its resolve to collaborate with foreign airlines flying into Nigeria on measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
This followed the first suspected case of Ebola virus in Nigeria, which was made public on July 22, 2014, involving a 40-year-old man from Liberia, who presently is late.
Airline personnel and senior government officials told our correspondent on Sunday that the aviation sector has been placed on red alert to bar the entry of the virus through the international airports.
The Coordinating General Manager, Aviation Parastatals, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the Federal Government has commenced the screening of international passengers suspected to have the virus
He said, “We have started the necessary screening at the airports and we are talking to the airlines to ensure that those who board their flights are not in the category of those infected with the virus.
“Secondly, we also look at the manifests thoroughly and on arrival, we look at all the critical issues. Right now, we have the Port Health at the airports and they have set up intensive screening centres, made up of medical personnel.
“We are also in the process of setting up isolation centres so that suspected patients will be isolated before being taken for treatment. So, we are working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health in that direction.”
Asked if the centres were set up in all airports across the country, he said, “It is for international airports and international points of entry. Ebola is not in Nigeria. So, our strategies are for the points of entry, as the minister said.”
The President, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Capt. Nogie Megison, told our correspondent that although it might not be easy to identify suspects carrying the virus, the airlines had been placed on red alert.
He said, “The disease as they say is not contagious until when the symptoms start to manifest. So, if somebody is carrying it and it is dormant in the person, there is no way you will know. So, it is the ports authority that needs to check that.
“However, we as airline operators, we will not carry anybody suspected to have the virus, but it is not something that we will start asking people to bring their clearance certificate before they board. But we are all alert not to carry anybody that is suffering from Ebola.”
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