The Lagos State Government this afternoon listed the elderly, pregnant women, children and people suffering from chronic illness as those vulnerable to the now dread, Coronavirus, warning them to stay away from Hajj this year.
The Lagos State Government who made the announcement at a joint press conference addressed by Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, that of information, Mr. Remi Ibirogba and Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Alhaji Hakeem Bello in Lagos noted that the virus is not in Nigeria but that at least 90 people have been infected with it.
Idris explained that the virus is now prevalent in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate and that 45 people have so far died of the ailment. According to him 70 of those infected were found in Saudi Arabia, out of which 38 have died.
He explained that the authorities at Saudi Arabia and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are not restricting movement to places where the virus has been discovered since they are still studying the situation to know how best to deal with it.
This he said explains why going on Hajj must be careful as a result of the large crowd that would be in the holy land. The commissioner advised those sneezing to form the habit of frequent hand washing, while people should generally avoid those sneezing and coughing.
“But more importantly, the authorities in Saudi Arabia are saying that elderly, pregnant women, children or people with chronic illness, cancer, chronic lung infections, and people with stroke should not bother to perform Hajj for now because they are extremely vulnerable. Apart from the corona virus, they are also vulnerable to cerebrospinal meningitis(CSM), hence it is necessary to be vaccinated when going there because of the large number of crowd, and heat in Saudi Arabia”, idris said.
He explained that there is no reason to panic since those coming into the country from where the virus has been established will be subjected to examination at the borders. He added that a Federal Government delegation is already in Saudi Arabia on fact finding mission adding that Nigerians will be briefed on how to go about the virus when they are back. He said the virus has no vaccine for now hence the need to take precautionary measures to avoid being infected.
He called on those going for Hajj to take alot of fluid as a result of the hot weather adding that those vaccinated with CSM have no reason to fear once it is fresh but that others need the vaccination since people are prone to CSM in a large gathering.
Meanwhile the WHO few days ago held a meeting to decide whether or not to classify Coronavirus a pandemic.