From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Rivers state Ministry of Health has assured that so far there is no case of coronavirus in the state following a case of the virus which was confirmed in Lagos State.
Director Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Dr Chinwe Atata made this known on Friday, at a press briefing held at the Public Health Emergency Operational Centre of the ministry.
She further said that Rivers State is on red alert and has strengthened surveillance at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa to place all asymptomatic travellers coming from countries that have already been impacted by the virus on self isolation and closely monitor them.
Dr Atata said an adhoc treatment centre has also been mapped out for the corona virus and called on Rivers Residents to always maintain 5 meters distance from people who are sneezing and coughing.
She called on health facilities to maintain a very strict infection control system while dismissing insinuations that the State Ministry of Health cannot contain infectious disease spread because the Ministry is yet to get a commissioner and a permanent Secretary.
She stated: “Following the confirmation of the first case of COVID – 19 in Lagos, Nigeria, it has become imperative to brief you on the state of preparedness and necessary preventive behaviour we should adopt in the interest of Public Health Safety.
“The Rivers State Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (especially the Ports health services), the National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum surveillance at all international entry points in the State.
“Surveillance at the International Airport Omagwa has been strengthened with multiple layers of screening from inflight assessment to the use of thermal cameras for early detection of suspected cases, as well as secondary screening for selected passengers.
“So far and for the avoidance of doubt, there is no case of COVID-19 in Rivers State”, Atata declared.