The Federal Government has placed 69 persons who had first contact with the Liberian-born victim of Ebola Virus Disease, Patrick Sawyerr, on surveillance, while two persons have been quarantined, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said.
He also said government had not shut its borders for now, “except when it becomes necessary.”
According to him, the 69 persons will be under surveillance for a period of three weeks from the date of contact in line with the specifications of the World Health Organisation.
The minister at a joint press briefing with the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Thursday on the update of the virus, said Sawyerr with dual citizenship from both Liberia and United States, was confirmed dead barely four days after arrival in Nigeria.
He said, “We decided on the proper manner on how to dispose off his body because the corpse of any victim of Ebola disease is very toxic. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control decontaminated the body. We are tracking all those who had primary contact with him. As of today, 69 persons have been placed under surveillance while two persons have been quarantined.
“All those in the same aircraft to attend the meeting with him in Calabar are presently under surveillance. They will remain under this surveillance until a period of three weeks from the date of contact. We have a copy of the passengers’ manifest and we discovered that the sitting arrangement was free sitting. We are working with the airlines to track down those other passengers yet to be identified.
“As a Federal Government policy, we have not closed our borders, unless it becomes necessary. But the Aviation Minister is working with us in many aspects to make sure that the virus does not spread.”
Chukwu also stated that the virus “can be contacted on air even while airborne once you contact the droplets.”
The Minister said government was engaging the states right from the moment that the disease was first reported in Guinea.