Port Health Service On Red Alert To Prevent New COVID Variant Entry Into Nigeria

Port Health Service On Red Alert To Prevent New COVID Variant Entry Into Nigeria

Port Health Services (PHS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport MMIA, has been placed on red alert to prevent the entry of the new COVID-19 variant into the country.

Omede Ogu, Officer-in-charge of the service made this known on Friday after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said it was closely monitoring BA.2.86, a new variant of COVID-19 after it was detected in Israel, Denmark and the United States.

The variant has also now been detected in Switzerland, South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK).

The port health services are tasked with inspection, disease surveillance and environmental health activities of ships, aircraft and land vehicles.

Speaking with NAN, Ogu said information on the new variant had been placed on the port health services emergency platform, while other agencies at the airport had also been informed about it.

“There is currently one confirmed case in the UK in an individual with no recent travel history, which suggests a degree of community transmission within the UK,” he said.

“Our mandate is health safety and security at the point of entry and it covers both routine and emergency situations.

“The ambulances are in good condition and our clinics around the tarmac are in the perfect shape to review any form of emergency, and facilities are inspected daily.

“Personnel are trained on a weekly basis and this training is called Weekly Pretentious Infection Training. The purpose of this training is to keep our personnel abreast of steps to take when confronted with emergencies like this.

“Our personnel are on the ground and our structures are constantly reviewed, so we assure everyone that there is absolutely nothing to be worried about.”

Ogu said there are cameras on the tarmac that capture the body temperature of passengers when they alight from the plane.

“The instruments are categorised into three: the hand-held thermometer, a tripod tarmac scanner and the distant tarmac camera,” he said.

He asked Nigerians not to panic, as the new variant was still at the observatory level.

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