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NCDC boss in isolation after China trip, Reps move to suspend plenary

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The fear of the coronavirus spread in the country grew on Tuesday as the House of Representatives resolved that the National Assembly should suspend plenary to prevent lawmakers from being infected with the disease.

The House took the decision as the Minister of Health, Dr  Osagie Ehanire, said the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control,  Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who had just returned from China, was in self-isolation for 14 days.

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Also  the Federal Government said it had deployed environmental health officers in public places such as motor parks, markets and schools to stem the spread of the disease.

But despite government’s efforts, fear of spread of the disease heightened as patients and their relatives in some hospitals, including the National Hospital, Abuja, were on Tuesday wary of people with symptoms such as sneezing and coughing, which are similar to coronavirus.

As the coronavirus panic increased, the Vice- Chairman of  Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi,  raised the alarm that unrestricted smuggling of Chinese okirika (second hand clothes) into Nigeria through Onne Port in Rivers State could worsen the disease in the country.

Following the diagnosis of an Italian businessman with the disease on Thursday, no fewer than 58 people are currently being isolated.

The Italian, who arrived in the country on Monday last week, abroad a Turkish Airlines flight, went to Lafarge African Plc, Ewekoro, Ogun State, from where he was referred to Lagos, when he developed symptoms similar to coronavirus.

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He was diagnosed with coronavirus and he is currently in isolation at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

The government, had on Monday raised the alarm that 158 people abroad the same plane with the Italian could not be traced, raising concerns that the level of the spread of the disease could not be ascertained.

On Tuesday,  the House of Representatives called for the suspension of the National Assembly plenary for two weeks.

The House said the management of the legislature should install screening and sanitation devices at the National Assembly complex during the period.

While they were making the call, the lawmakers were cautious in their interactions with one another for fear of being infected with the virus.

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For instance, as the presiding and principal officers walked into the chamber, the Deputy Minority Whip, Adesegun Adekoya, was seen extending his legs to members on both sides of the isle to greet them.

Another member, Buba Yakub, after having a conversation with the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, also greeted the Clerk to the House, Patrick Giwa, with legs.

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