The Federal Government has announced that all government and private owned primary and secondary schools in the country closed because of Ebola virus may resume academic activities at the middle of this month.
Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu alongside Minister of Information! Labaran Maku, stated that based on advice from experts and the containment measures that had been taken to contain the spread of the disease, the schools would have to resume earlier than announced.
He said the Minister of Education is expected to hold an emergency meeting with all Commissioners of Education to review its earlier decision on the school calendar to announce a resumption date.
Chukwu, who had earlier briefed Council bringing it upto date on efforts to contain the spread of the disease, further said that only two people were currently being treated for full blown ebola disease in the country, the wife of the doctor Samuel Emenuo, who died in Port Harcourt and his sister and they were being kept in isolation centers in Lagos and Port Harcourt respectively.
The total confirmed cases of Ebola in Nigeria stands at 18 including the index case, Late Sawyer. Fourteen of the cases were recorded in Lagos while four were recorded in Port Harcourt.
Those that have been managed and discharged are eight while while seven deaths have been recorded from the disease in Nigeria.
Chukwu also refuted media reports stating that 60 Ebola contacts were missing in Port Harcourt and that thorough investigations of rumours of the disease in Abuja and Calabar have proven negative.
He also said that the test result of the Ahmadu Bello University student in Zaria, Kaduna State is being awaited to confirm investigations carried out on him.
Speaking on Olu-Ibukun Koye, a Nigerian diplomat with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), 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 whether government was planning punitive measures against Koye, Chukwu said the matter was still at exploratory stage.
“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 stated.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health is also looking at the quarantine law, saying that the ministry was in touch with 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 added.