Coronavirus: “Our Biggest Source Of Risk Is From People Returning To Nigeria” – NCDC

Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has raised an alarm about the activities of travellers returning to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the biggest source of risk faced by the nation, is from people returning to Nigeria.

Ihekweazu, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on March 23, noted that the agency has been following up with returning travellers in self-isolation, as part of the preventive measures by the Federal Government.

He stated that;

Yes, we are following up on all contacts and really, we have identified a handful of cases from those contacts.

Our biggest source of risk at the moment is people returning to Nigeria from countries that have a large volume of infections. 

The NCDC boss added that;

Most of these are Nigerians, there is nothing wrong with coming back to your country.

But we are asking every Nigerian that has come back to please do what we have asked them to do – stay at home for two weeks … you can save us a lot of work by doing this.

He explained that the health agency has moved from giving a daily briefing on the disease to a real-time release of information.

Ihekweazu stressed that the primary containment strategy was to identify all cases as quickly as possible and bring them into treatment centres, list all their contacts, and follow up all their contacts daily for 14 days.

The NCDC boss, however, regretted that a large number of contacts were added daily, adding that the exact number of contacts being monitored is yet to be ascertained.

According to him, it is not an easy exercise but the NCDC and other partners are working hard to ensure the contacts are followed up.

Ihekweazu said,

We all know the right thing to do; we don’t need to police anyone self-isolating, but we will do our very best. 

The human resource requirement for the scale of work we are required to do at the moment in the containment phase is incredible because every day, the number of people coming back is increasing exponentially and we cannot increase our workforce exponentially.

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