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Additional personnel, thermal scanners and sanitisers have been deployed in Nigeria’s two major international airports by the Federal Government as part of measures to forestall another round of Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.
It was learnt that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, were the two major focus areas, although plans were in top gear to extend similar surveillance to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State, as well as the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
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.
Officials at the NAIA as well as the MMIA confirmed to one of our correspondents on Sunday that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was aware of the development in Congo and had directed Port Health officials and its doctors at the airports to step up their activities.
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.
Yakubu stated, “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.”
Explaining how the equipment works, Yakubu added, “These scanners are fixed apparatus at the arrival halls that take the picture and temperature of any given passenger at a particular time as the traveller passes through them. And we have Port Health officers behind the apparatus.
“So, once it detects a temperature that is above normal, the officials will just single you out immediately and take you out of the queue for further screening. That screening or exercise is going on up till this moment.
“In fact, the equipment and officials have never been removed even after the last Ebola incident. They are now fixed apparatus in the arrival hall. We have it in Abuja and in Lagos airports. I’ll have to confirm that of Port Harcourt, but I’m sure they are in Abuja and Lagos.
“Also going by the latest incident, we are increasing our screening.”