The Ministry of Health, led by the Honorable Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the Federal Government will spend N620m as a special intervention fund to monitor, detect and contain the deadly Coronavirus.
This statement was made when he appeared before the Senate Committee on health. He briefed the Senate panel on the level of his ministry’s preparedness to manage the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. And funds for this exercise would come directly from the service-wide vote.
His appearance was sequel to a resolution of the upper chamber based on a motion by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, on the need to summon the minister over the virus outbreak.
According to Enahire, he said that on Thursday the ministry submitted a memo proposing for the release of the sum of N620m to take proactive measures to contain the virus.
He said Nigeria was prepared to ensure its health security which could disrupt economic stability if left unchecked.
Accompanying the Minister to the Senate was the Director, Port Health Services, Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, and the Director-General National Centre for Disease Control. Enahire said also that the sum of N71m has already been released to the Port Health Services for its operations.
Ehanire said the ministry had a multi-stakeholder meeting to deploy Port Health Services therein to screen all passengers.
He said the national intervention on containing the Lassa fever outbreak enjoyed timely release of N313m intervention fund from the Federal Government to manage the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Senate expressed concerns over the non-screening of the Chattered flight passengers’ wing of the local flight arrivals at the airports.
The senators expressed fears that it may be a loose end to import the Coronavirus.
Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said the absence of health services at the private terminal could make for easy movement of infected bodies into the country.
The Senate, therefore, ordered the Minister to deploy health officials to the private tarmac and conduct screening of VIPs on chartered flight stressing Coronavirus was both a national and global health emergency issue.