Nigeria determined to prevent repeat of 2014 Ebola outbreak

World Today

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is at a pivotal stage, according to the World Health Organization. The group said the next few weeks will determine if the virus can be contained, of it will spread and claim more than the 27 lives already taken.

Nigeria, which suffered in the deadly 2014 outbreak, is closely watching and taking protective measures.

CGTN’s Deji Badmus reports from Lagos.

Once beaten, twice shy. That’s the case of Nigeria and the Ebola virus.

It was through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport that Patrick Sawyer, the late Liberian diplomat, flew into the country in August 2014. Along with him came the Ebola virus.

By the time the disease was finally contained in October, 20 people had been infected, and eight had died, including Sawyer.

Health authorities are determined to avoid a repeat. Port health officials are prominent, with thermal scanners and quarantine facilities in place at all major airports.

“Once you arrive into our airports, you walk past the thermal scanner. It will immediately take your temperature, and if it’s above the normal, you are pulled aside for further checks,” explained Henrietta Yakubu of the Federal Aviation Authority. “We never relaxed that surveillance.”

Nigeria may not share a common border with the DRC, but it has not enough ties to cause concern. A number of Nigerians live and do business in the DRC, forcing authorities to leave nothing to chance.

“The first contact the passengers have is with the port health officials, before they even get to immigration,” Yakubu said. “I’m assuring our passengers that we are not joking with this issue.”

Similar measures are being scaled up at all ports of entry into the country. Pre-flight screenings are also being urged for all incoming travelers.