The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, Wednesday, issued a red alert over the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China and its spread to other parts of the world as it deploys its officers to man airports across the country to ensure no breach on veterinary quarantine protocols and checks.
The alert was issued in a statement signed by the Officer-in-Charge, Media and Communications, NAQS, Dr. Chigozie Nwodo, who said the agency is ready to keep the virus at bay following its collaboration with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to screen passengers arriving airports in the country.
The statement reads in part, “China is grappling with an outbreak of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV). As of today, the virus has killed 26 people and affected 800 in central Hubei Province. On Wednesday, Vietnam and Singapore were added to the nation’s recording confirming cases, joining Thailand, the United States of America, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. “Coronaviruses (CoV) are zoonotic, meaning that they are cross-transmittable between human beings and animals. Hence, CoV represents an equal opportunity for danger to human life and the agricultural sector. A single case of introduction will have potentially broad and prolific ramifications. “Bearing in mind the zoonotic nature of 2019 n-CoV, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service is collaborating with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure that there is no gap or breach on the veterinary quarantine front at the airports.
FAAN has issued a travel advisory admonishing passengers to submit themselves to standard quarantine formalities. “As the single point of command for all agricultural quarantine activities in Nigeria, NAQS is obligated to buffer the nation from the potential introduction of this high-risk virus. The stakes are high. Therefore, officers must be on their professional guard. “Consequently, all officers stationed at all ports of entry are advised to heighten alertness and make certain that procedural quarantine inspection is performed stringently, diligently and rigorously. There must be no exception or exemption. “The Director-General is positive that the ever-stable sense of duty of NAQS officers will remain an impenetrable bulwark against any threat to the agricultural economy, safety, and the environment.” However, the agency said the World Health Organisation, WHO is yet to declare the virus a public health emergency. “The World Health Organization has described this outbreak as an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring it a public health emergency of global concern because the death toll has yet to meet the threshold”, it said.