By Richards Adeniyi
As part of measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that it would soon set up an isolation centre for vessel crew who are sick or show symptoms of the virus.
Speaking at a stakeholders sensitization programme organized by NPA in Lagos on Friday, the General Manager, Medical Services of NPA, Christy Akpa, said vessels coming from Asia have also been placed on red alert just as she maintained that the authority is fully prepared to help the country combat the spread of the virus.
She said, “I want to assure the whole nation that NPA is well prepared to handle any incident of suspected case on board any vessel that shows symptoms of corona virus. We have already heightened our alert on ships that are coming from Iran, Taiwan, China or other countries that have been affected by this virus. We are making arrangement for isolation centres to hold the people that are sick while we bring in the state government that will isolate all and take them to the isolation centres with dedicated ambulances.
“When these ships berth, we don’t just leave them, we continue to monitor. It behooves on us that until the ship sail out of our territorial waters, it is mandatory that we continue to monitor to ensure that we fight this virus,” she said.
Akpa added that NPA is working and collaborating with Port Health Service officials to ensure that all the crew on board are administered the passengers’ declaration form.
“We are highly collaborating with the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Government through the Commissioner of Health. In addition to screening temperatures of every port users, we have developed a weekly log knowing the incubation period of this corona virus, so we don’t just scan your temperature once and go to bed but we are constantly monitoring with the Port Health Services and also keeping this log on daily and weekly basis, even when there is no confirmed incident. The log is mainly targeted at the crew because these are ships that are coming from outside the country,” she said.
The General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Engr. Adams Jatto, reiterated NPA’s determination and commitment to combat the spread of the disease, stating that the collaboration between NPA and port terminal operators will help forestall the spread of the virus at the nation’s gateways.
He said, “We are aware that the virus is spreading round the world in a very rapid form and of course there is need for us to curtail it. We have been informed that there is no cure for this disease and the best thing for us to do is to have a precautionary preventive measure for us to ensure that it does not spread. So on the basis of this, we have to call the terminal operators and of course the stakeholders for us to rub minds together and see how best what can be done to curtail this menace.
“We know the port is one of the entry points into the country. That is why we deem it fit for us to discuss what we have done and what is expected of the terminal operators for them to be able to curtail this menace. We have had collaborative efforts with the operators for us to fight this disease and we have seen what they have done in terms of the necessary medical materials in place in each of the terminals. We have been told they have sanitizers’ as preventive measure for dockworkers who access the vessels and there are things they said we should do, which I believe the management will be able to take care of as regards the isolation centre.”