By Amara Christa – 15th May, 2020
Federal government says it has no responsibility to tell the whereabouts of the Chinese medics who came into Nigeria at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in the country as they were not invited by Nigeria but came in on a company visa.
There has been controversy on the Chinese Medical team who arrived Nigeria on 8th April, 2020, and went on to observe the 14-days mandatory quarantine, and all returned negative, after being monitored by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in an undisclosed location.
Health minister Osagie Ehaire said the medics are not government guests but the staff of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
He spoke on Thursday in Abuja, at the 31st joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“I think not all of them were doctors and I heard that some of them are technicians, but they are staff of CCECC. The Ministry of Health is not their host, so we can’t always explain what happened to them or where they are. There seems to be a lot of interest in these doctors. But they are the staff of the company and I think that they are on a company Visa.
“I will be very happy if you don’t ask me about where they are because they are not really our guests. But we have been able to learn some things from them by interacting with them from their experience in their country and they did tell us and we shared ideas on what they did in their country in managing COVID-19,” Ehanire said.
He said that the team is not coming to treat COVID-19 patients in Nigeria.
Conditions for self-isolation
Speaking on the conditions for self-isolation for returnees, the Minister said government is considering it and will follow the guidelines developed by the NCDC to carry it out.
He however said only those who meet certain criteria will be permitted to self-isolate.
“The self-isolate at home is an option we have been talking about. The NCDC has released a guideline for that but not everybody is eligible for that. The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has come up with a very beautiful contribution that creates circumstances under which it is safe for some people who have undergone certain questionnaires to be at home but definitely supervised self-isolation.
“Recent returnees from the United Kingdom, United States of America, and Dubai are still undergoing their routine 14 days of quarantine and there is no report yet because they are still under observation. After 10 or 11 days, they will have their test done to show who is positive or not,” Ehanire said.