Lagos Ready to Combat Coronavirus - Commissioner
By Olamide Fadoju
The Lagos State government has explained its readiness to deal with the coronavirus if it finds its way into the State.
The coronavirus also known as the Covid-19, has killed more than 2,000 people in mainland China where it originated and there are some confirmed cases in Africa, including one in Nigeria.
In spite of this, Lagos says it has plans in place to contain the virus.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi spoke with Sandra Ezekwesili on the programme "Hard Facts" on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM Lagos He said the State is collaborating with the Federal Government to prepare for any incidence.
According to Prof. Abayomi, the state has prepared isolation centres to quarantine suspected carriers of the virus. Health professionals are also being trained to adequately prepare them to handle the virus.
“We have the major isolation centre in Yaba and we are constantly trying to perfect the system and if that fills up we have identified five of the largest general hospitals where we will deploy overflow and if those fill up we have our IDPs camp which can accommodate 200 people.
“There is a hierarchical process of overflow but at the moment we don’t have one patient in Isolation. We have deployed testing to Lagos and they have standard health care professionals. They are going through training too.”
In the meantime, Nigeria has increased surveillance at its borders to prevent carriers of the virus from entering the country. There are concerns that the measure could be ineffective.
The commissioner admits there are various factors that make it difficult to enforce such checks at the ports but the State is working to make things better.
“We are concerned, It is difficult to determine whether travellers are putting accurate information on those forms, for example, their point of origin anyone can write what they feel like to bypass surveillance because nobody wants to be delayed at an airport. If you write down a certain piece of information and think the authorities may flag you down because of the things you put down.
“There is a certain time of the evening when a lot of flights come in at the same time and at that point the airport becomes congested and so it’s possible that during that period that people may be able to slip through the system,” He said.