• … Varsity launches campaign against COVID-19, Lassa Fever
  • Prof. Nwajiuba and members of the committee after their inauguration
    Prof. Nwajiuba and members of the committee after their inauguration

    By Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha

  • Staff of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, who were sent overseas for academic purpose upon returning back to the institution, will have to face seven days self quarantine before resuming work.
  • This was disclosed on Friday by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba during the inauguration of a 13-man committee on coronavirus and Lassa Fever.
  • He said it was part of the precautions put in place by the institution in the fight against coronavirus, Lassa Fever and any other viral disease.
  • Nwajiuba added that the said staff wouldn’t need to visit the institution to notify the management of their arrival, rather, they will have to call the varsity’s Chief Security Officer on the telephone and proceed on the self quarantine.
  • “We met this morning with those in our medical personnel sector and agreed that all our staff who are outside who come back will first have to report that they are back through a phone call to the CSO and we expect them to embark on self quarantine for 7days before reporting to work” he stated.
  • He mandated every student to procure hand sanitizers while coming back for the new session as they resume lectures on March 28 after the first semester break.
  • While the university will ensure that there are ‘Veronica’ buckets with water containing disinfectant placed at strategic places in the university.
  • “We are asking all our staff and all our students to procure hand sanitizers. We as the university will make sure ‘Veronica’ buckets with water, are available round the campus, in the classrooms, laboratories, and admin block and encourage people to wash their hands as frequently as possible as they move round public buildings”, according to the VC.
  • He stated that one of their mandates as a university is community service and as such, the message to increase personal hygiene, proper way of sneezing, are at the same time passed to their host communities and the state at large.
  • Nwajiuba lamented the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the nation’s economy.
  • He said: “If factories in China are shutting down it has consequences for global trade, it has consequences for supply of goods which you buy from there.
  • “If flights are being cancelled, the aviation industry is gradually being minimized, it has its own consequences.
  • “One of my greatest fears when I heard that an Italian was in a plane that landed in Nigeria, I said to somebody if you have a plane coming from Europe into Lagos, something tells me that more than 50% of the passengers there may likely be headed to east of the Niger and it’s a very big risk.
  • Luckily, we have no reported case across the country. Because for people who are very good at migration, migration is one of the easiest way to spread diseases historically and that’s what applies in this case now.
  • “We are facing severe inflationary consequences. You know when price on one sector is rising you expect it to have consequences on other sectors. The exchange rate is the more dramatic one as we have seen in less than a week, the dollar has moved from about N257, 00 to N275.00.
  • This has implications for the domestic economy as those who have to pay for imports of some commodities in foreign exchange will have to pay higher and those costs by producer or importer will have to be passed onto consumers and that also will add to rising inflation.
  • “… The fact that this year’s budget is made at about $67 per barrel and now the oil is selling for less than $40, per barrel, that will put severe pressure on the ability of government to fund the economy and the budget”.
  • He advised management of the Nigerian economy to look inward and channel it’s strength in producing instead of importing.
  • While commending the federal government for the closure of Nigeria’s land borders which has encouraged local production.
  • Earlier, chairman of the committee, Dr Henry Aloh, said they have been given the mandate not only to look out for cases of coronavirus or Lassa Fever in the university community, but to make sure that, “we enlightened not just the people of Ikwo, but the entire Ebonyi State of what we need to do to protect ourselves from coronavirus and Lassa Fever and any other infectious disease, he added”.
  • Aloh said during the sensitization they will emphasis the importance of good personal hygiene and not touching the face with bare hands, avoiding crowed environment among other things.
  • “We are going to do these and many other things because, like the Vice Chancellor rightly emphasized, one of the functions of the university is to offer community service, and Alex Ekwueme Federal University is doing so to the entire Ebonyi State and south east indeed.
  • “We will do so by using social media and other forms of communication to spread to the people the best way to protect ourselves from coronavirus as well as Lassa Fever that is even more common in our locality.
  • ”Hitherto, at the medical center what we do is to develop high index of suspicion about Lassa Fever knowing that the commonest symptoms are fever, body pains, headache and hemorrhagic symptom, bleeding from nose and mouth and over a time we developed a protocol for watching out among the health workers, making sure that once you observe a patient what you do is to contact the virology center in Abakaliki.
  • “That we have done over a period of time now, we are going to reinvigorate on this and ensure that we now expand it to coronavirus and any other viral infection,” he assured.
    In his brief presentation on the effect of COVID-19, Dr Robert Onyeneke, of the department of Agriculture ( Agricultural Economics and Extension Programme) AE-FUNAI, noted that the virus is slowing down greenhouse gas emission due to decreasing demand for air travel, oil and electricity.
  • However, Onyeneke noted that report has it that COVID-19 may cost the global economy $2.7trillion, stressing that the world’s 10 biggest economies are already in shock as they struggle to contain the virus.
  • He said prices of goods have continued to skyrocket in the market, and the big businessmen in the country are not left out as they are the worse hit.
  • Adding that there is serious fall in the price of crude oil, and less inflow of dollars into the country.
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