President Goodluck Jonathan has welcomed the declaration by the World Health Organisation, WHO, on Monday that Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free after 42 days without any incidence of the virus.
A statement by a presidential spokesman, Rueben Abati, said Mr. Jonathan dedicated the certification to the many “patriotic health workers, volunteers and ordinary Nigerians who worked tirelessly, some of them paying the ultimate price, to stop the deadly virus in its track after it entered the country in July this year”.
The president also praised the state governments and other bodies involved the fight against the dreaded virus.
The Ebola Virus Disease was imported into Nigeria in July by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who travelled from Monrovia through Lome, Togo, to Lagos.
The virus later spread to Rivers State. Nigeria recorded 19 Ebola cases, and seven deaths.
“The president seizes this opportunity to also reiterate his appreciation of the contributions of state governments, WHO and other international health organisations, relatives of infected persons and other Nigerians who either courageously underwent the rigours of being quarantined or complied with all directives issued by health authorities to defeat the virus.
Mr. Jonathan said Nigeria’s globally-acclaimed success against Ebola is a testimony to what Nigerians can achieve if they set aside their differences and work together.
“As the nation applauds the success of its collective effort to stop the transmission of the Ebola Virus within Nigeria however, the President warns that the entire country must remain fully alert and vigilant against the re-entry of the virus,” he was quoted as saying.
The statement said Mr. Jonathan agreed with WHO that while Nigeria has won a battle against Ebola, the war will only truly end when West Africa, Africa and the world are declared free of Ebola” the statement read in part.
“The President has consequently directs that all the anti-Ebola measures taken after the entry of the virus into the country should remain in place and that health officials should continue to actively screen persons entering the country through its air, land and sea borders for any sign of the virus,” the statement said.
“He also urges all Nigerians to continue to follow the anti-Ebola advisories on sanitation and personal hygiene issued by Federal and State Health authorities.”