Abuja - The Federal Government on Friday announced the closure of a hospital belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Lagos following the visit of a suspected Ebola virus patient to the facility.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced the closure of the hospital to newsmen in Ikeja, Lagos, after a meeting with Gov. Babatunde Fashola at the Government House.
Chukwu said that the closure of the facility was part of government's measures to contain the spread of the virus in the country.
He said that the hospital would remain shut until it had been decontaminated to ensure it was safe for use.
"Yes, we shut the hospital and we are decontaminating it. That was the same thing we did to First Consultant Hospital where the Liberian with the virus was admitted.
"The closure would enable officials to have full access to the facility, decontaminate and re-open,” he said.
He disclosed that the blood samples of the suspected patient had been obtained and that the results of test on it would be out on Saturday.
Onyebuchi urged citizens not to panic about the virus and advised that they should take necessary precautions to contain its spread.
He cautioned against the use of gloves as a precaution to the spread of the virus, saying that the measure could be counter-productive.
"Do not wear gloves because it is counterproductive unless all of us are wearing gloves. If I am wearing and you are not wearing, you are only collecting from me and you will take it home and your family will get it,” he said.
The minister added that government had stepped up operations to contain the spread of the virus at the border posts by procuring more thermal hand scanners.
He urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of regular hand washing, adding that where there was no water, hand sanitizers should be used and in case there was no soap, water and bleach could also be used.
Chukwu stated that the Federal Government was working with the state governments on a number of measures to containing the spread of the virus.
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On ban on corpses into the country, he said that Nigerians with corpses that had full certification of death or causes of death could apply for waiver.
According to me, waiver will be granted once the person is certified to have died of causes other than Ebola.
Confirming the closure of the hospital, NNPC Spokesman, Mr Ohi Alegbe, said that the facility located at Muri Okunola area of Victoria Island, Lagos, would remain shut indefinitely. In a statement in Abuja, Alegbe said that the suspected patient first visited First Consultant Medical Centre where late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian, who died of the virus, was admitted, before moving to the corporation’s clinic.
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