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Lagos commissioner hopeful of Ebola-free status for Nigeria

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LAGOS – The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, on Friday expressed optimism that  the World Health Organisation (WHO) would soon declare Nigeria Ebola-free.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Idris said that he was confident that Nigeria would no longer record any cases of the disease.

He noted that WHO would declare Nigeria and Senegal, Ebola-free if both countries would not record any new cases of the disease after 42 days of confirmation of the last cases.

NAN reports that the last case of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria was confirmed on Sept. 8.

Idris, however, regretted that the stigma associated with the disease had continued to negatively affect businesses.

“The Ebola saga has really affected a lot of things; a lot of people who often came from outside are not coming; this is happening in every affected country.

“The fact is that every industry has gone down; sporting industry has been affected, trade has been affected, and in Liberia, food industry has been affected,” he said.

Idris said that it was important for Nigeria to remain Ebola-free and to broadcast the message of freedom from the deadly disease to the whole world.

“It is important to let the world know that we are Ebola-free. The Federal Government is very serious about maintaining an Ebola-free status.

“We should be happy with our achievement; at the same time, we should not rest on our oars.

“As long as we have this situation in neighbouring countries, we are still vulnerable; so, we should do whatever is necessary to prevent any new cases,” he said.

Idris said that since there were no new cases, the government had focused on surveillance.

“We are not disbanding the structure that has been put in place to quarantine and treat patients; instead, we are now focusing on our surveillance system.

“At every port of entry, we will continue to survey everyone coming in as well as raise awareness to address the challenges we are facing in terms of public fear and panic.

“We have also focused on training of health workers, so that if any new case arises, they would be equipped to handle it properly,” he said. (NAN)

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