Posted by News Express | 13 March 2020 | 1,362 times
By MOSES EMORINKEN, Abuja
The Federal Government has stated that it will not stop the 20th National Sports Festival in Benin City from holding on the grounds of COVID-19.
The event is scheduled to kick start on March 22.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made this known on Friday in Abuja, said that the Ministry has recommended the organisers thoroughly screen participants and spectators before they enter for the festival.
According to him: “As far as the sport festival is concerned, we shall recommend to the organizers to screen everybody, booth participating and all the spectators, because at the moment we don’t see very strong threat internally.
“We are not recommending ban on everything unless the situation changes. Nevertheless, the precaution of making sure that everyone is screened is our focus. Those who are in any way looking suspicious will be disallowed entry straight away so that they don’t pose any kind of risk to others, until their symptoms are clear. If the organizers do that, I think there is no good reason not to hold the festival.
“Every country takes measures that are consistent with its own situation. There are countries where the virus is spreading widely and they have been forced to cancel various activities whether it is business, trade fair etc.
“We are not in that category, and we thank God. As it is now, we have seen a couple of cases, which we have been able to contain. If you don’t have very pressing reasons, you don’t have to start banning everything. But we are watching the situation very closely.
“Among what we do is very strict screening, and part of what we have been advising is travel restrictions of Nigerians to high-burdened countries. We have also repeatedly issue travel advisory to Nigerians to delay or postpone travel to any high burdened country.
“We have also requested countries who have a high burden to start doing departure screening, so that they don’t find themselves being among those that are exporting this virus. With the combination of departure screening at various countries, particularly with high burden, and then, arrival screening, we should be able to eliminate a large number of cases”. (The Nation)
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