By Kuni Tyessi
As the affected numbers of persons with the dreaded Coronavirus increases, the Federal Government has directed heads of federal institutions and principals of Unity Colleges nationwide, to as a matter of urgency close down the institutions in order to curtail the spread of the disease.
So far, three hundred of the infected cases are found in African countries, many of which are either returnees from countries with significant endemicity, or primary contacts of such returnees in which over 160,000 persons have been infected worldwide, of which over 6000 have died.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echonu who disclosed this, Thursday, said the decision to close down the schools was to protect and safeguard the lives of students and pupils from the deadly scourge.
Already some state governments and the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have closed down schools and the scheme to checkmate the spread of the virus.
Echono said: ”We have directed all higher institutions to close this weekend. Unity Schools that have completed their exams are to close immediately. Others are to hurry and close the latest on 26th March.”
￼The permanent secretary said the ministry will monitor development as total closure might be ordered at any moment.
Similarly, President of the Guild of Medical Directors, Prof. Femi Dokun-Babalola has said that testing of the virus should go beyond the usual temperature test and there should be a general warning that all travellers coming into the country must as a matter of necessity, self quarantine for at least two weeks.
He said this was because “it is possible and even likely, more cases of COVID-19 may have entered our shores un-detected.”
Emphasising that enhanced measures will go a long way in further protecting Nigerians from the ravages of the COVID-19 epidemic, he added that similar measures had been taken in Ghana, Sudan and South Africa, among other nations in Africa.
“In particular, it is our opinion that restrictions should be placed on flights coming from meso-endemic and hyper-endemic countries. Nigerians coming in from the UK in particular should ALL be tested beyond the usual temperature check, and advised to go on quarantine for fourteen days at home if negative.
“We suggest that Nigerians coming in from these countries should be quarantined for fourteen days as required by the WHO.
At the moment, several Europeans are streaming into the country only to embark on a journey to the USA by Delta airlines.
“We also believe that a more robust protocol should be introduced for the detection of cases including random tests in households where foreign trips have just been completed.”