Health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has revealed that 22 persons have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), among the 1,473 persons of interest tested since the reopening of the nation’s international airspace.
Ehanire disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing yesterday in Abuja, and said these persons, were among the passengers who recently returned from overseas.
According to him, “we are especially worried, about the huge COVID increases in certain countries with which we have high volume of human traffic.
“The Federal Ministry of Health therefore wishes to advise Nigerians against non-essential travel to high burden countries. The risks that the movement of travellers creates can only be countered with improved surveillance programmes.
“I wish to specially solicit that all travellers cooperate with border authorities to protect our people and also our health system from stress. We are obliged to reduce the risk of COVID importation to a minimum.
“As at 26th September, of a total of 1,473 Persons of Interest (POI) tested across three laboratories in the FCT since the opening of the international travel air space, 22 tested positive.”
The minister further noted that “our testing and tracing capabilities have improved a lot, such that virtually every state has at least one laboratory that has increased our daily testing capacity to about 3,500.
“We are, however, testing well below that capacity, because laboratories are receiving fewer samples than they could handle, leaving some partners to doubt our reports.
“I therefore appeal to state governments to improve on sample collection and capacity utilisation.
“All persons with COVID evocative symptoms, or who may have come in contact with a confirmed COVID case should please submit themselves for testing,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has revealed that Emirates Airlines would begin operations into Nigeria today as the United Arab Emirate (UAE) had resumed issuing of visas to Nigerians.
Sirika also stated that of the passengers who have returned since the opening of the airspace, 27 persons have been found to have fake COVID-19 test results or none at all.
He said that the airlines that brought them in would face the penalty as stipulated before reopening of the airspace.
He also revealed that all planes coming into Nigeria were expected to carry only 200 passengers and the situation would remain so for now.