NCDC has yet to issue health guidelines for airlines and airports

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By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos

Airlines and airports have not yet received any guidelines or health protocols from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) regarding the monkeypox outbreak, daily sun can reveal.

A source within the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said daily sun that the agency has not yet received guidance on what the NCDC’s monkeypox health protocol would be and as such cannot issue any guidance to airlines.

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According to the NCDC, in the past five months, Nigeria has recorded 21 confirmed cases of monkeypox with one death.

The NCDC also revealed that in the month of May, six new confirmed positive cases were reported in four states; Bayelsa (2), Adamawa (2), Lagos (1) and Rivers (1). In addition, 20 suspected cases have been reported in eleven states with Lagos (5), Bayelsa (2), Adamawa (2), Rivers (2), Niger (2), FCT (2), Delta (1), Oyo ( 1) , Kaduna (1), Edo (1) and Gombe (1). A 40-year-old man with renal comorbidity and on immunosuppressive drugs died of the disease.

More than 300 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox, a mild disease that spreads through close contact and can cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions, were reported in May, mostly in Europe.

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The World Health Organization said last Monday it did not believe the outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa would lead to a pandemic, adding that it was unclear whether infected people who did not show no symptoms could transmit the disease.

The WHO is considering whether the outbreak should be assessed as a “Potential Public Health Emergency of International Concern” or PHEIC. Such a declaration, as has been done for COVID-19 and Ebola, would help accelerate research and funding to contain the disease.

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Once monkeypox has been contracted, the length of time the rash appears and the scabs fall off is recognized as the infectious period, but there is little information on the spread of the virus from non-symptomatic people. .

The President of the National Association of Travel Agencies of Nigeria (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, said daily sun that so far the outbreak is not affecting flights as travel agents have not received any travel guidelines from airlines.

“The monkeypox outbreak is not affecting flights because so far there has been no official communication from any airline or the World Health Organization on the matter, which means the industry has not been affected,” she said.

On whether the Federal Government has adjusted the covid guidelines for travel, Akporiaye said, “The covid protocol for passengers entering Nigeria has not changed and it is still the same cost for those who have not been vaccinated. You would need a covid test before you could enter and you would still need a test on the first and second day. Only those who are fully vaccinated do not need to be tested, you just need to fill out your record locator and travel permit; that’s all.

“For those traveling outside, when you leave Nigeria it is the covid protocol of the country you are going to that you will adhere to. We hope the federal government will do something about the covid protocol. UK has lifted Covid rules for everyone whether vaccinated or not, US, Canada, Nigeria and some other countries have not lifted for unvaccinated,” a- she declared.

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