Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, Maku hinted that the weekly parley centered mainly on efforts the country was making in containing the Ebola disease.
He noted that on the directive of the President, he and his health counterpart, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, briefed the council on the progress so far recorded since the outbreak of the Ebola.
The Minister stated that the first major step the ministry had taken was to quarantine all those who had primary contacts with Sawyer.
He said: “So far, as the ministry reported this morning, all those who had primary contacts with the subject had been quarantined which is the way the global community handles the disease and the secondary contacts have also been traced.
“There is a strong team in Lagos which has been set up by the emergency response centre that is tracing every contact that has been made with either the index case or with primary contacts. So far the number of people that have been traced is 198. Out of this number, 177 are in Lagos and they are being traced, some are in quarantine, some are being monitored by health specialists, with their movements being monitored and they are under directive from the Ministry of Health.
“So those in quarantine include people who have so far made contacts with index case or secondary. So 198 of them, 177 in Lagos and 21 persons in Enugu are also being watched. This is because one of the nurses that was involved in the treatment of the index case, unfortunately disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu. We have no problems as all those who had been in contact with her, including her husband are also under quarantine and so the medical team had been able to trace all those who made contacts with her.
“Apart from those who made contacts with the late Sawyer, and the secondary contacts with those who handled his case, there has not been any known case in Nigeria that has the probability of contracting this virus. Nigeria has responded with the best international standards that can be imagined.”
He stressed that the disease had not reached the proportion of an epidemic, noting that so far, only 10 persons had been tested positive, including the late Sawyer. He said two citizens, one of them being the nurse who handled the Sawyer and the second one was the protocol officer, who welcomed him at the airport and helped in conveying him to hospital had died.
Maku said the country had moved in a way that it had not done before, “and globally the standards we have kept, the efforts we have made, the policies we have deployed, the measures we have taken surely should give our citizens and the world at large the confidence that Nigeria is doing everything possible to contain this virus.
“In addition to this, the Ministry of Health has also been in close touch with all the state governments. And the governors are receiving continuous briefings on the measures we have taken and what we should do at the state level.”
The Minister allayed the fear of the existence of the virus in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, noting that with the containment policy already put in place by thee Federal Government, Nigerians had no cause to be worried.”