In an attempt to forestall another round of Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, the federal government has deployed additional personnel, thermal scanners and sanitisers in two major international airports in the country.
It is understood that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, were the two major focus areas, with plans already underway to extend similar surveillance to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State, as well as the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The development is coming on the back of the reported outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently.
The World Health Organisation recently confirmed the death of at least one person as a result of Ebola in the North-East of Congo, a development that has prompted increased surveillance in Nigeria.
Confirming the development, officials at the NAIA as well as the MMIA told reporters on Sunday that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was aware of the development in Congo and had directed Port Health officials and its doctors at the airports to step up their activities.
Also speaking, the Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told The PUNCH that although the screening of passengers had been on since the last Ebola incident in Nigeria, the authority had stepped up its surveillance on inbound travellers at the arrival halls of the Lagos and Abuja airports following the recent Ebola case in Congo.
She said: “Of course, the Congo incident has called for increased surveillance and screening. I’ve spoken with our doctors in Lagos, Port Health officials as well as those in Abuja and FAAN will definitely come up with something. There has to be increased surveillance now that Ebola has been detected in Congo.
“By tomorrow, we will definitely come out with other things that FAAN is doing with respect to the issue you raised and I’ll let you know.
“However, we have always had thermal scanners in our airports that monitor temperature of passengers and capture their pictures. We still have hand sanitisers in our rest rooms too.”