The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has urged its Biosecurity Department to initiate public awareness mechanisms that will educate the public on what to do and who to contact in the case of suspected infection of coronavirus.
The NBMA Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rufus Ebegba, who made the disclosure at a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 with the management and staff of the Biosecurity Department over the outbreak of coronavirus, listed such mechanisms to include logos and pamphlets containing information about the disease.
He said this would help in creating awareness about the disease and what the agency is doing.
He said the essence of the meeting is to ensure that coronavirus and any other harmful biological agents do not take the country by surprise.
“We need to be adequately prepared and take proactive steps about these harmful biological agents and to ensure that they are properly contained so that they do not cause harm to humans and the environment,” he said
He added: “We need to be conscious of what is on ground and how to tackle it and to work with other sister agencies to ensure that this virus is well tackled. Biosecurity has now become part of the mandate of the agency and there is the need to develop this mandate.
“Biosecurity is a serious issue and we must prove our relevance in this sector. As an agency in charge of biosecurity we must rub minds on how best harmful biological Agents can be contained and eliminated.”
The DG/CEO restated that Nigerians should take precautionary measures such as proper handwashing and seeking adequate medical care in case of any symptoms like flu and avoiding centres where the outbreak is prevalent.
“This coronavirus can affect the lungs and symptoms include common colds and flu and can spread person to person by coughing and sneezing. Its symptoms include difficulty in breathing, fever and coughing and can lead to organ failure, pneumonia and death. The best way to combat it is to avoid close contact with people who might be sick or carrying it,” he said
He stated that the federal government is doing everything possible to ensure that coronavirus does not come into our borders and advised citizens to avoid countries already confirmed to have cases of coronavirus.
He said the safety of Nigerians is a priority for the federal government, which he noted is doing everything possible to ensure that harmful biological agents are properly contained and eliminated so that they do not cause harm to humans and the environment.