NPA enforces measures to prevent coronavirus at seaports

By Gloria Nwafor |   11 March 2020   |   3:40 am  

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has embarked on measures to prevent and possibly curtail any case of coronavirus through the nation’s seaports.

As the world is currently faced with the deadly virus, the precautionary measures by NPA became pertinent, especially as the ports are entry points into the country.

Speaking at a sensitisation workshop on coronavirus at the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the authority would leave no stone unturned to ensure the disease does not spread through the maritime sector.

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She said: “We are aware that the virus is spreading around the world in a rapid form and there is a need for us to contain it. The first thing to do is have precautionary measures to ensure it doesn’t spread,”

Bala Usman, who was represented by General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Adams Jatto, said that measures such as the use of hand sanitisers and facemask, among others, have been deployed.

She noted that the ports have been diligently involved in ensuring the health of its populace is priotised.

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General Manager, Medical Services, NPA, Christy Akpa, noted that the NPA is capable of handling any suspected case of coronavirus, as measures have been put in place to manage any incidence.

She said: “We are collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Government. We are presently screening temperature of everyone coming in through the seaports and working in collaboration with Port Health to ensure that all crewmembers are administered the passenger declaration form,”

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Akpa further explained that the medical service of NPA has developed a weekly log, which contains travel history, bearing in mind the incubation period of the virus, for daily monitoring.

On vessels coming in through the ports, she noted that any captain who records a suspected case has been mandated to alert everyone by flying two yellow flags.

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“We are making arrangements for isolation centres to hold those people that are sick while we bring in the state government that will take them to isolation centres with dedicated ambulances.

“We have already heighten our alert on ships that are coming from Iran, Taiwan, China, and other countries that have been affected by the virus,” she said.

Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Mrs Olufunmilayo Olotu, said the complex would provide space as an isolation center, in case of anyone, is suspected to be carrying the virus.

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She added that all vessels coming into Africa (including Nigeria) through Mauritius, are thoroughly screened, and once any suspected cases has been established, the vessels are turned back.

Olotu emphasised the need for all staff to be adequately kitted with necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), urging terminal operators and shipping agencies to enforce all preventive measures.

Nigeria had on Monday recorded a new case of coronavirus victim in the country, making it two positive cases.

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