Jonathan sets aside N1. 9bn to fight Ebola

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President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday approved the immediate release of N1.9billion to implement a Special Intervention Plan aimed at curtailing further spread of the Ebola Virus which he said its control and containment has become a national emergency.

He also asked school owners across the country to consider extending the current holiday until such a time the Federal Government would have carried out a reassessment of the level of the threat posed by the virus.

While asking religious organisations to discourage gatherings that may increase the spread of the virus, he also asked that movement of corpses from one community to the other or from overseas into Nigeria be stopped forthwith.

These were some of the decisions reached at an emergency meeting of stakeholders called by the President on the virus.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that the President also urged Nigerians to desist from spreading false information about the virus which can lead to mass hysteria, panic and misdirection.

He directed the Ministry of Health to work in collaboration with state Ministries of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control, the National Emergency Management Agency and other relevant agencies to ensure that all possible steps are taken to effectively contain the threat of the Ebola virus in line with international protocols and best practices.

He said the approved sum for the Special Intervention Plan was to further strengthen ongoing steps to contain the virus such as the establishment of additional isolation centres, case management, contact tracing, deployment of additional personnel, screening at borders, and the procurement of required items and facilities.

He commended the vigilance of aviation and health authorities in Lagos who identified and isolated the index case in Nigeria, the late Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian who flew into the country.

He also applauded the good work of health authorities at both State and Federal levels who have traced persons who had contact with him, isolated other identified cases and embarked on massive public enlightenment.

The statement read in part, “President Jonathan calls for even greater vigilance and co-operation at all levels to stop the Ebola virus from spreading further.

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