FG releases N386m for coronavirus prevention

The federal Government has released N386 million to two health agencies to strengthen coronavirus (COVID19) preparedness in Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Abdulaziz Mashi Abdulaziz, disclosed this to journalists, Friday in Abuja, while providing updates on the country’s preparedness against coronavirus and Lassa Fever in the country.

Abdullaziz noted that the amount was released by the government in two batches stating, “While the first batch of N71 million was released at the end of January to facilitate activities of the Port Health Services department of the ministry, the second was released after the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the government had budgeted N620 million to curtail the virus from entering Nigeria when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health.

“It is true that intervention was sought from the presidency and the Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning. This is because of the level of the emergency. I can confirm to you that N71 million was released to the Port Health Services division of the (health) ministry.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control was also given N315m directly. Other requests are in the pipeline and yet to be released,” he said.

Earlier, in his address, Minister for States, in the ministry Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, said information available to the Nigerian government was that the first case of coronavirus had been reported in Egypt and that the affected person was a foreigner.

Mamora added that the ministry has inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee to provide oversight leadership, noting that the committee was being coordinated by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and that it meets twice in a week.

“Nigeria is receiving technical support from the World Health Organisation, Africa Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organisation,” he said.

He added that the Port Health Services had intensified screening of passengers coming from China and other countries of high risk.

Screening forms have been provided to all airlines.

“As at now, there is no report of any confirmed case in Nigeria. Clinicians are being trained on the management of cases at the moment. We are developing a stockpile of medical supplies to be used in the event of any outbreak.”

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