Funsho Arogundade & Kazeem Ugbodaga
Nollywood star, Jim Iyke is in the eye of the storm as many Nigerians are calling on the country’s health authorities to subject the actor to a screening and possibly quarantine him following his recent return from Liberia which is ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus.
The call was necessitated by the actor and Television reality show star’s confession that he had cut short a business trip to Monrovia, Liberia and fled the country where the Ebola disease has killed many people in the last few weeks.
Iyke had revealed via his Instagram page that he cut short his business trip to Monrovia, Liberia because of the deadly Ebola virus.
“Monrovia, unfinished biz; Leavin tonite. Nt ashamed to admit. Tis ish scares the Jesus outta me. #Ebola!!!!” Iyke stated as he posted photo of himself on his Instagram account on Tuesday sitting in the airport’s VIP lounge, wearing a face mask.
Efforts made by P.M.NEWS to speak to the actor or his management were abortive as there was no response to calls put through to his phone.
Also many of his colleagues in the movie industry including Ms Ibinabo Fiberesinma, President, Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, avoided comments.
But the image of Iyke on Instagram sitting on green leather seats in the airport’s luxury first class lounge wearing an expensive designer wristwatch and sunglasses, has triggered a flurry of comments on the social media with calls on the authorities to take the actor into a facility for proper check so as to prevent the spread of Ebola virus in the country.
“Pls Jim Iyke has to be quarantined and thoroughly tested before he can be released back into circulation in Nigeria,” one Chika stated.
Another concerned Nigeria who simply called herself Mosun was unsparing of Iyke. “What took him there in d 1st place or he didn’t know they had ebola before he carried his 2 left legs there? He should just stay put there since he loves money than his health. He shldn’t expose the rest of us because of his own greed.”
A Twitter user with handle @Avariberry tweeted: “Jim Iyke or not… he gotta be screened. #TestJimIyke.”
Another worried fan with Twitterhandle @IcallDibbz_ said: “Please ooo, James Ikechukwu, aka Jim Iyke, should be quarantined.”
However, much of the anger about Iyke’s Instagram post stemmed from fear among Nigerians that Iyke appeared to be travelling back to the country without having been tested to see if he was infected.
Following the death of America’s Patrick Sawyer last week at a Lagos private hospital, the fears of the global Ebola pandemic in the country has spiked.
Sawyer, a consultant for Liberia’s Finance Ministry, had boarded a flight in Liberia carrying the disease to Nigeria. He was suspected of infecting some passengers in the same plane with health officials trying to trace about 30,000 people at risk of contracting the deadly disease.
“Anyone on the same plane could have become infected because Ebola is easy to catch. It can be passed on through vomiting, diarrhoea or even from saliva or sweat – as well as being sexually transmitted,” Bart Janssens, director of operations, Doctors Without Borders, was quoted as saying after the death of Sawyer.
He warned each person infected with the disease could spread the virus to at least two other people.
However, the Lagos State Government says the 59 people who came in contact with the deceased Patrick Sawyer, were hale and hearty.
The 59 people are under observation after coming in close contact with Sawyer. They will be watched and observed for 21 days which is the incubation period of the disease.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina disclosed this on Wednesday, saying that no case of the virus had been reported in Lagos or any part of the country since the Liberian died.
“None of the persons said to have come in contact with the late Liberian victim of the Ebola Virus Disease, Mr Patrick Sawyer has manifested unusual body temperature or any other symptom of the dreaded virus.
“All the 59 persons who were in close contact with the deceased Liberian in Nigeria are hale and hearty and have not exhibited any unusual symptoms, just as there has been no case of the dreaded disease from the country’s borders,” she stated.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba advised the citizens to be wary of the activities of fraudsters who are making spurious claims about their ability to provide cure for the Ebola Virus Disease, urging them to always contact health providers to report unusual feelings.
He cautioned the people to desist from sending panicky text messages about the Ebola Disease that could heighten tension and create anxiety.
Ibirogba also called on those who wanted to make cheap money from the incidence to desist from their strange claims of cure for the disease lest they run foul of the law, as only medical solutions are known to be appropriate for the disease.
He reminded residents of the state to make use of the emergency phone numbers: 08023169485, 08033086660, 08033065303, 08055281442 and 08055329229 provided to contact health authorities in case anyone with observed symptoms of the Ebola disease is noticed.
The Commissioner also advised residents to observe the highest level of personal and environmental hygiene, adding that they should visit hospitals or Primary Health Centres nearest to them to report strange feelings.
Meanwhile, British airports and airlines are on high alert to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from reaching the European country.
Passengers thought to have the virus will be barred from boarding flights heading to the UK – and will be held at immigration if they appear ill on arrival, reports The Mail of London.
They will then be quarantined in highly secure isolation units, such as those at the Royal Free Hospital in North London.
But because it takes up to three weeks for symptoms to appear, there are fears some victims will slip through the net.
Doctors have been told to look out for symptoms of the disease and travellers returning from West Africa are urged to seek immediate medical help if they develop flu-like symptoms.
One of the deadliest diseases known to man, Ebola has already claimed more than 670 lives in its worst-ever outbreak.
For the first time, the virus, which kills up to 90 per cent of its victims, has spread out of the countryside to large towns and cities, raising fears it will arrive in Britain on an international flight.
It can be spread through sweat and saliva and there is no vaccine or cure.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee on the outbreak Wednesday, said Ebola was a ‘very serious threat’.
But he sought to calm fears, saying it “most unlikely” that Ebola could spread within the UK because of “frankly different” standards of infection control here.
He said the logical approach was to tackle the outbreak at its source in West Africa, adding: “We do not, at the moment, think this is an issue that affects the UK directly.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the NHS was looking at its capability and taking “precautionary measures” but he was “very confident” it will be able to cope if the disease arrived in the UK.