Coronavirus: NAQS, FAAN put staff on alert

By Emma Okereh

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has called on it officials to be on alert across the country to detect and curb the reported outbreak of coronavirus disease.

A statement issued by its head of media, Dr.ChigozieNwodo on Tuesday in Abuja, directed all the staff at entry points into the country to work in partnership with Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to prevent the disease.

The statement identified China as one of the countries that is grappling with the outbreak of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV).

It said the virus has killed 26 people and affected 800 in central Hubei Province. Recently, Vietnam and Singapore were added to the nations recording confirming cases, joining Thailand, the United States of America, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

The statement said: “The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service is collaborating with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure that there is no gap or breach on the veterinary quarantine front at the airports.

“FAAN has issued a travel advisory admonishing passengers to submit themselves to standard quarantine formalities.

“As the single point of command for all agricultural quarantine activities in Nigeria, NAQS is obligated to buffer the nation from the potential introduction of this high-risk virus. The stakes are high. Therefore, officers must be on their professional guard.”

According to the statement, all officers stationed at ports of entry are advised to heighten alertness and make certain that procedural quarantine inspection is performed stringently, diligently and rigorously. There must be no exception or exemption.

It said the Director General was positive that the ever-stable sense of duty of NAQS officers will remain an impenetrable bulwark against any threat to the agricultural economy, safety and the environment.

However, the World Health Organization has described this outbreak as an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring it a public health emergency of global concern because the death toll has yet to meet the threshold.

The report says, ‘Coronaviruses (CoV) are zoonotic, meaning that they are cross-transmittable between human beings and animals. Hence, CoV represent an equal opportunity danger to human life and the agricultural sector. A single case of introduction will have potentially broad and prolific ramifications.”

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