Ebola: Schools May Resume Middle Of September
The Federal Government has said following the advice medical experts on the Ebola Virus Disease, the resumption of schools may be brought forward to the middle of this month.
Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau had on Tuesday, August 26 announced the extension of the resumption of schools to October 13, to curtail the spread of the disease.
Briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu said based on advice from the medical experts and the containment measures so far taken , the schools would have to resume earlier than announced.
Chukwu said the Minister of Education is expected to hold an emergency meeting with the Commissioners of Education in the thirty Six States to review the earlier decision on the resumption date.
Giving an update of the Ebola epidemic, the minister said only two people are currently been treated for the ebola virus disease in the country.
He said a total of 18 cases have so far been reported in the country, adding that 14 was diagnosed in Lagos while four were diagnosed in Port Harcourt .
Chukwu also noted that the country has recorded seven deaths from the ebola disease including the Liberian-Amerian, Patrick Sawyer who brought the disease into the country.
He added that people being treated include the wife of the medical doctor, Samuel Emenuo, who died of the disease in Port Harcourt after treating an infected patient, Olu-Ibukun Koye, while the other one is the sister of the late doctor.
The Health Minister, who weekly briefs the FEC on the Ebola disease brought to Nigeria by the Late Liberian American, Patrick Sawyer in July, said there are presently 296 contacts under surveillance in the country.
The 296 under surveillance, he said, include 255 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and 41 in Lagos State, while Enugu is completely free of the disease.
Responding to questions on Koye, a Nigerian diplomat with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who had fled to Port Harcourt , Chukwu said “ presently he doesn’t have the virus in his blood now so he cannot infect other people but he has high antibodies which is just showing that he had the disease. He is part of the 18 cases that have been confirm in Nigeria. He is with us in Lagos, not in isolation because he is not sick anymore but because of his aberrant behavior we needed to be sure that there is nothing further that can prove risky to society”.
On if Koye may be sanctioned for violating quarantine laws, Chukwu said the matter was still being exploratored.
“We are looking at three possible areas, one we are asking the ministry of foreign affairs since he is working for a diplomatic mission to advise us. Secondly, we also need to look at our laws. What currently our quarantine law provides is too old, it came from the colonial period and I do know that in the National Assembly there are attempts currently to see how to amend that law and make it to be up-to- date”, he said.
Chukwu added that the Federal Ministry of Health is also looking at the quarantine law, while discussing with the National Assembly in order to bring an executive bill
“what is important is that both the Executive and the Legislature are looking on how to bring to current standard our current quarantine laws which is outdated. But we are looking at what it provides even in terms of possible prosecution”
“We also have the psycho-social team, which is part of the management team for this Ebola virus disease. You know sometimes we assume everyone is normal so we are looking at other aspects, were there any problems with this man because at the time he did it Patrick Sawyer was dead so he knew the dangers and so we need to be sure of all these things. So we have not taken affirm decision on that but he us still with us” he said.