• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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No case as officials report doubled screening alert at air, sea ports

Buhari’s visit to Lekki Port raises fresh hope for rail connection

Officials at all the air and sea ports in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as at Monday afternoon, March 2, 2020, reported double screening alert status at the entry points. None has reported any serious case warranting isolation, let alone quarantine services.

BusinessDay inquiries at all the air and sea ports showed that each station has received national instructions on exactly what to do and they claimed to be keeping up to speed with the directives.

At the Port Harcourt International Airport, the public relations officer, Kunle Akingbade, said double alertness and higher level screening was now going on at the international wing of the airport, as a matter of standard operation procedure (SOP).

He said special cameras had been in use that get the body statistics quietly and feed into a computer that analyses the information, and confirmed the use of temperature guns also that serve specific purposes.

On the situation at the local wing, he said there is no mass screening unless there is high suspicion or a person was being tracked from another city.

At the Port Harcourt sea port, the public relations department showed a video of the national standards which they said is being fully followed. This includes screening all vessels coming from outside Nigeria and isolating vessels coming countries with known cases of COVID-19. Those with any sick person no matter the cause are directed to different locations and handled separately.

At the Onne seaport managed by Intels, a source from the public relations unit said the instructions were clear and that the port health department is working with the port authority and the federal ministry of health which comes to verify the update daily.

The source said since Lassa fever outbreak, standard procedures have been in place and seminars and training have intensified. Washing of hands and sanitizers have become a procedure, he said.

He talked about an isolation centre already in place at Intels and links with the centre for disease control (CDC) in case of any incident.

Meanwhile, the governor, Nyesom Wike, has released the appointment of commissioners including one that would surely be the next commissioner of health. The appointed had lingered since May 2019, when he was sworn in. When pressure came, he released some 13 and left out the rest.

The advent of Lassa fever and now coronavirus requiring top level management caused huge condemnation and criticism. On Monday, March 2, 2020, he released the list of both with the name of the immediate past health commissioner, a professor, Chike Princewill, included.

The Commissioner of Information, Paulinus Msirim, has however set up a top media team made up of general managers of state-owned media organs to help release proper information in the face of hunger for genuine news instead of the massive fake news now ruling the airwaves on COVID-19 matter. He said the team would work with the officials from the Ministry of Health on the matter to make Rivers State ready.

Speaking on behalf of the State Ministry of Health, the Director, Public Health and Disease Control, Golden Owhonda, said the governor has so far provided everything needed to be ready to fight COVID-19, pointing out that rivers did well during Ebola and has built up capacity and experience.

He said: “We’re training more ad hoc staff for readiness even though we have one of the best hands you can find in the country. The capacity for pathogenic disease containment is very strong right here in the State. We intend to boost this more because this is a new disease, it’s a learning point for a great deal of technical people. So, everyday we’re building our capacity to be able to contain any form of importation if this disease that we find”, he said.