Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says the Nigeria has the capacity to detect and respond to the coronavirus if it finds its way into the country.

More than 170 persons have been killed while thousands infected by the deadly coronavirus,which originated in Wuhan, China.

There are reports that the new vurus originated from a food market that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals” in Wuhan.

Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of the inter-ministerial and multi-sectoral committee on the novel coronavirus in Abuja, the minister said: “While the risk of importation exists, we can assure Nigerians of the nation’s capacity to detect, assess and respond to this and other public health threats at the point of entry.”

He added also that, “There have been no confirmed cases in Africa but the potential has been clearly demonstrated. ”

He said the meeting was convened to discuss strategies for the prevention and importation of the coronavirus into Nigeria. He noted also that the federal government had approved N71 million to increase services of the Port Health Services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health.

He said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had activated a “Corona virus preparedness group,” and would activate its incidence command systems for the virus once a suspected case was recorded in the country.

He said the NCDC was also working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners to establish testing capacity at its reference laboratory in Abuja or abroad if need be.