The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says the possible delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project owing to the outbreak of Coronavirus is better than jeopardising health of Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had on Thursday disclosed that the outbreak of Coronavirus in China might delay the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
The COVID- 19, which has become a global health challenge, is threatening the April deadline of the project, being handled by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The minister said the delay might not be unconnected to the fact that the bulk of the workforce handling the project were stuck in China, where the disease broke out and spread to other countries.
According to him, the Chinese government prevented some of the workers from returning to Nigeria because of the virus.
Reacting on the possible delay, Jerry Oche, Lagos Railway District Manager, told the NAN that Nigerian government would not sacrifice health of her citizens because of any project.
“The simple question we should ask ourselves is what do we want? Do we want to be infected with the Coronavirus because we want to meet the time for the completion of the project?
“Or we prefer a situation where the Chinese takes care of themselves and get over the epidemics before coming to complete the project so that we all be safe and healthy?
“The project we are talking about is for the living people not for the dead. If the Coronavirus should infect us, how do we handle that?” he said.
According to him, most Chinese working with the CCECC went to China for New Year celebration holidays and had not returned before the outbreak of the disease in their country.
Mr Oche said that if the Chinese were going to come back to Nigeria and continue the project, they must be certified Coronavirus free so as to protect the country.
“If the project is going to be delayed and we are safe of this disease, I think it is better. Even, if they come and carried the virus, they won’t be able to do the work.
“It will now be double jeopardy for the country. We will be running from pillar to post to contain the spread and the work will be stopped also. Safety is still the first,” he said.
Mr Oche, who noted that everyone knew that the Federal Government was very passionate about the project, said that the health of Nigerians remained a priority.
NAN reports that work across the 10 stations along the 157 km long Lagos-Ibadan standard guage rail line had been skeletal since the beginning of the year because of the COVID-19.
Most staff working on the project are yet to resume because of the deadly disease.
Nigeria Records 328 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Now 11,844
Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases has now reached 11, 844 as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), announced 328 new cases on Friday.
Lagos will soon run out of isolation centres – Commissioner
The Lagos State Government has revealed that if the state continues to record over 200 to 300 positive cases on a daily basis, it will soon run out of isolation centers. It added that with the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, only moderate to severe cases will be managed at the isolation centers while the asymptomatic and mild cases will be managed at home.
n a chat with journalists in the state on Friday, the Commissioner for health, Prof Akin Abayomi insisted the modalities for the community based/home-based care will be defined as to who qualifies to be managed at home and who will be managed at the isolation facility. He noted that if Lagos continues to record over 200 to 300 positive cases on a daily basis, the State will soon run out of isolation centers.
Hence, the need for introducing the home-based care within a week or two. He said the community/home-based management will be introduced to Lagos to reserve the isolation center for the critically ill.
“We will be operating from the primary healthcare centers (PHCs) and that is where we will decide who qualifies to be managed at home or at isolation center. “Part of the condition for being managed at home will be; is the home adequate? “Is the person feeling unwell or having pre-existing medical condition or having difficulty breathing? “The answers to these and more will determine where the person will be treated for COVID-19” The Commissioner stated that though there are plans to recruit more manpower, there are volunteers who are being trained at the moment and will be deployed for the home care management within a week or two. “For the mild/asymptomatic cases who will be managed at home, we will call them, our volunteers/PHC workers deployed for that purpose will visit them, we will ensure they have regular consultation through our telemedicine online care, and we will monitor their progress too. “At the same time, they will be given care packs and medications which includes pain killers and vitamins. “We will also give enough information to the masses on their safety as well as that of their families and neighbors during the home management period.” The health Commissioner further disclosed that there are plans by the state government to increase the capacity of daily test from 1,000 to 3,000 daily He said Lagos has so far done over 22,000 tests, adding that, the more tests are done, the more cases will be recorded, hence the need to quickly plan for more cases.
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