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‘I am well,’ NCDC debunks claim of DG’s quarantine over COVID-19 Virus
The several news platforms reported yesterday that the NCDC boss was quarantined for the possible infection of Covid-19.
Ealier, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed Tuesday that the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, has been quarantined for 14 days.
Ehanire made the claim when he appeared before the Senate leadership to provide an update on the activities of his ministry to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
He told the Senate top officials that Ihekweazu was quarantined because he just returned from China, adding that it was a standard practice for any individual entering the country to be quarantined for 14 days before mingling with other members of the public.
But, the NCDC through its official Twitter handle debunked the claim.
While he was part of @WHO high-level mission to China, he returned healthy, has tested negative and has no symptoms
He’s in self-isolation for 14 days in accordance with NCDC’s advisory https://t.co/UyuFfGAyD5
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 3, 2020
It also issued a press statement clarifying the true situation.
Describing the earlier report as false, the NCDC stated that the DG only went on self-isolation as contained in the NCDC public health advisory, after returning from China. He was reportedly part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) delegates that travelled to China between 16th and 24th February, on a high-level mission to the virus originating country.
The statement further added that Ihekweazu had simply adhered to the same NCDC principle to protect himself and the public.
However, while both terms may give almost the same meaning, self-isolation is described as a sort of voluntary quarantine where people could make personal arrangements, rather than being subjected to observation by apparatus of the state.
The statement reads in part: “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is aware of reports from the media stating that Dr. Ihekweazu is in ‘quarantine over coronavirus’. This is false.
“Between the 16th and 24th of February 2020, the World Health Organization deployed a
high-level mission to China. The joint mission had 25 national and international experts,
including the DG of the NCDC Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu. He also made this known via his Twitter account https://twitter.com/chikwe_i/status/1233862464917385217?s=21.”
It reads further that, “The Mission met with counterparts in China to understand their response to COVID-19 and how the global community can learn from this.
As recommended in NCDC’s public health advisory, travellers from countries with ongoing transmission of COVID-19 are advised to proceed on 14-day self-isolation, whether well or unwell.”
“The Director-General has adhered to this, to protect himself and the public.
“He has been tested since his return, and has shown no symptoms of COVID-19 infection. He remains in good health.”
The statement, however, referenced the Minister of Health’s recognition of Ihekweazu’s contribution, which, he noted, “reflects the high-level recognition and respect the global health community has for Nigeria.”
Nigeria had its first case last Friday and other suspected cases thereafter.
The WHO also applauded the Nigerian government for the actions taken to manage the deadly virus.