Nigeria declares national emergency over Ebola

Nigeria's president declared a national emergency on Friday over the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed two lives in Africa's most populous country.

"President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Friday in Abuja declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a national emergency," his office said in a statement.

The president called on the population to avoid large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Religious and political groups, spiritual healing centres, families, associations and other bodies should ... discourage gatherings and activities that may unwittingly promote close contact with infected persons or place others at risk," said the presidency.

Jonathan also approved the immediate release of 1.9 billion naira ($11.6 million, 8.7 million euros) to fund measures against the spread of the virus.

Among measures to be undertaken include the setting up of additional isolation centres, screening at borders and contact tracing.

In addition, the president warned against any movement of corpses in the country.

"Every death should be reported to the relevant authorities, and special precautions should be taken in handling corpses," said the presidency in the statement.

Nigeria confirmed five new cases of Ebola in Lagos and a second death from the virus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections in sub-Saharan Africa's largest city to seven.

He warned the public to desist from spreading false information about Ebola virus "which can lead to mass hysteria, panic and misdirection, including unverified suggestions about prevention, treatment, cure and spread of the virus."

One such rumour that went viral in chain messages on phones and on the internet in the past 24 hours across Nigeria suggested that a salt and hot water combination can prevent or possibly cure the deadly virus.

Health experts on Friday debunked this claim.

Jonathan appealed to authorities of public and private schools to consider the option of extending current school holiday "until such a time when national reassessment of the level of the Ebola is conducted."

He said that medical workers should regard his declaration of the national emergency as a patriotic call to duty and service, the statement said.

It is unclear if public sector doctors have resumed work after the president of the union on Thursday announced the suspension of their pay strike which began on July 1.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WHO holds emergency Ebola meeting

Aug 06, 2014

The World Health Organization on Wednesday began a two-day emergency meeting on west Africa's Ebola epidemic, with the UN agency deciding whether to declare it an international crisis.

5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in W. Africa

Jul 28, 2014

(AP)—There has been panic and fear about the deadly Ebola disease spreading ever since Nigerian health officials reported Friday that a Liberian man sick with the disease had traveled to Togo and then Nigeria ...

Ebola risk in EU 'extremely low': Commission

Aug 08, 2014

The EU's executive said on Friday said the risk of Ebola across the European Union remained "extremely low" despite the World Health Organization's decision to declare it an international health emergency.

Recommended for you

Ebola: timeline of a ruthless killer

42 minutes ago

Here are key dates in the current Ebola epidemic, the worst ever outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever which first surfaced in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

21 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

Jan 30, 2015

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.