The Federal Government has intensified screening at the different ports in the country following an outbreak of a disease known as Novel Coronavirus in China.
This is even as the death toll from the virus, first reported in China, has increased to 17.
Reuters quoted Chinese media as saying the deaths increased in Wuhan province where the disease was first recorded.
In a travel advisory issued on Wednesday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the port health services unit of the federal ministry of health “has been placed on alert and has heightened screening measures at the points of entry.”
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also said in a separate advisory that the equipment and personnel used in combating the Ebola virus in 2014 “are still very much in place at the airports,” and urged passengers to comply with quarantine procedures.
Coronaviruses, which were previously unknown, are said to be common among animals, and are believed to have originated from a Chinese market where wildlife is traded illegally.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is considering declaring an international public health emergency over the outbreak.
In the advisory shared on its website, NCDC said the symptoms of the disease include cough and breathing difficulties, and that no specific treatment for it yet, although “many of the symptoms can be treated.”
It said it is in contact with the WHO and is currently coordinating a multi-sectoral technical group that is assessing and managing the risk of importation to Nigeria.
“Nigerians are advised to remain calm. Travelers from Nigeria to Wuhan, China, are advised to avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets,” the advisory said.
“Travelers from Wuhan to Nigeria, may be asked questions upon arrival by the Port Health Services unit at points of entry about symptoms of illness and travel history, and are advised to report immediately to NCDC if they feel ill after a trip to Wuhan.”
How to protect yourself
To reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, NDCD advised members of the public to adhere to the following measures:
Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.
Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.