Fresh indications have revealed that since the outbreak of Coronavirus early this year, no vessel has arrived in Nigeria from China, a strong trading partner with Nigeria.
A Port Health Official at the Lagos Port Complex who spoke exclusively to Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week on condition of anonymity said that the agency has taken all necessary measures to ensure that the virus is properly prevented from further spreading into Nigeria through the seaports.
He explained that one of the things the agency does is to check the temperature persons who have anything to do at the port.
He said the Port Health takes profiling of crew members of ships very seriously.
He told our correspondent that although it has not recorded any vessel coming from China in 2020, but for vessels coming from countries where Coronavirus has been confirmed, the Port Health official subject the crew to separate checks and through screening.
He told our correspondent that: “Any vessel coming from the suspected areas, we screen them separately thoroughly before we allow them. We have not seen any case and we have not even received any case of vessels coming from China up till now, we are yet to receive any vessel coming from China. All the necessary measures are put in place to fight the virus, we have been lectured about what to be done and we have also been trained in what to be done at the appropriate time, everything is in place”
“As I am talking to you now, there is a notice at the entrance gate, if you get there you will see a banner there and you see the various stickers on what to be done and how to prevent it (CONVID-19). We kit ourselves to examine vessels that are coming in, we check the crew temperature and collect information of where they are coming from”
He added that anybody with a case of high temperature will be treated separately.
“You will see jobs by NPA creating awareness of Coronavirus as regards what to do and how to go about it and it states that the Port Health Services are on ground. And it also states what to do whenever you have anybody with a high temperature”.
According to him, “The information we always ask from vessels are these: we must know the ports they have visited, and which port did they embark from; these are the information they must provide to us. Instead of 24hours subscription, we have extended it to 48hours so that we will have enough time to verify the information they have given to us. We will get there house address both here in Nigeria and where they are living outside the country. So we are on ground to checkmate the menace”, he assured.
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Chigozie Nwodo, said that the service had first issued an alert when the virus was first discovered in China, so that its officers can up the game at the ports.
“We issued an alert when the virus was recorded in China so that our officers can tighten their guards at the ports where we operate; talking about airports, seaports and land borders, so we have been on alert since the outbreak was recorded”