House of Reps suspends plenary over coronavirus

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House of Representatives on Tuesday suspended plenary for two weeks over coronavirus.

Rep. Ndudi Elumelu proposed an amendment to the prayers of the motion calling on the National Assembly to suspend plenary for 2 weeks in order to oversee what is being done to contain the coronavirus nationwide. The amendment was adopted.

The lawmakers said the suspension is to enable the management install facilities to screen and detect the deadly virus.

The motion is titled “Emergency response to the dreaded Coronavirus” brought before the House by Unyinye Idem.

The lawmakers, however, did not state when they will be proceeding on the break.

Amending the motion, Elumelu said there were no facilities to check people entering the National Assembly Complex to detect coronavirus.

He said that anybody who is infected could walk into the premises, shake hands with people and spread the virus.

“I urge the leadership of the National Assembly to suspend plenary for two weeks to allow management to sanitise and put facilities in place to detect the virus.

“Let the Committee on Health and other relevant committees ensure compliance,” he said.

Moving the motion earlier, Mr. Idem said that there was a need for the leadership of the assembly to constitute a committee to interface with government to eliminate the virus.

He called for the release of more emergency funds to support the Ministry of Health to eliminate the novel virus.

The lawmaker stressed the need to intensify surveillance at all national borders and called for the immediate activation of centres designated for Ebola treatment.

Idem said that risk communication be intensified and laboratory services be expanded, recommending that two isolation centres should be sited in each geo-political zone.

Also contributing, Dagomie Abiante (PDP, Rivers) said that a motion to bring back Nigerians stranded in China was thrown out by the House for fear of importing the virus.

He said that though the Minister of Health assured that the country was ready to contain the virus, it had found its way into the country.

The lawmaker said that it showed that the government was not really prepared for the virus as Nigerians were made to believe.

Also speaking, Nasir Alliyu (APC, Kano) said that there were only three isolation facilities so far in the country.

He said they are located in Abuja, Lagos and Edo, saying that the one in Abuja which has a capacity of less than 30 persons has not been completed.

The representative said in a country with a population of about 200 million, the facilities is grossly inadequate to contain the virus.

“God forbid if we have to quarantine 10,000 persons, what do we do? There is a need to get really prepared,” he said.

Part of the recommendation by the House was that the government should convene an emergency national health conference for all health workers to come together to address the spread of the virus.

The House mandated all relevant committees of the house to ensure compliance.

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