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Coronavirus: CSOs ask FG to restrict travellers from high-risk countries

Coronavirus: CSOs ask FG to restrict travellers from high-risk countries
March 17
16:18 2020

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have expressed concerns over the inflow of  travellers into Nigeria despite the worsening spread of coronavirus across the world.

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In a statement on Tuesday, 21 groups called on the federal government to restrict travellers from high-risk countries.

Nigeria recorded its third case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus strain, after a 30-year old woman flew into the country from the UK.

The index case, which infected a local, flew into the country from Milan, Italy.

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The groups said the record of a new patient beckons on the need for urgent measures to be taken in order to curtail further spread of the disease.

Many persons, including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar have called on the government to ban flights from countries with high record of the disease.

According to the groups, only “essential travellers” from countries with a record of the outbreak should be allowed into Nigeria, and that such travellers must first be made to undergo mandatory self-isolation or quarantine.

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The statement read: “Civil Society groups in Nigeria are deeply worried that Nigeria continues to be exposed to both visitors and returning Nigerians traveling from areas heavily exposed to corona virus.

“The recent announcement that a third case has been diagnosed in Lagos calls for a more stringent measure in protecting our borders and managing movement in and out of Nigeria. We cannot and should not contemplate banning Nigerians from returning home in these difficult times, but it is obvious that it is time for drastic measures to protect our country and a fragile health system that has been neglected for too many years.

“The Federal Government and States must recognize like other countries that this is the most urgent of national security matters.

“We call for the following steps immediately: Restriction to only essential travellers coming from any country overseas that has an on-going outbreak of Corona virus. For both Nigerians returning home and any travellers deemed essential by the Nigerian government there must be mandatory and closely monitored self-isolation or quarantine measures for at least two weeks.

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“NCDC should immediately receive funds that will be adequate for it to radically scale activities and make a major urgent investment in testing for corona virus. State Governments should move immediately to provide their own technical teams with adequate resources for an effective response to a health emergency and any state that has not acted yet should be pressured to do so immediately.

“Effort should be put in place to closely monitor our land borders and ensure basic health protocols for prevention of corona virus spread.

“Governments at all levels (Federal, state and local) should consider immediate measures to limit public gatherings and promote safe social contacts amongst citizens.

“As has become apparent internationally, if we act boldly and decisively as a nation corona virus outbreaks can be contained, albeit with considerable difficulty. Delay or inadequate responses are disastrous. Vigilance will be vital, and we must understand that Nigerians returning to our shores need to be as vigilantly monitored and assisted as any visitors.

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“We are aware that a number of capacities in Nigeria need to improve – such as resources for testing widely for corona virus should an outbreak occur. Making such resources available should be a national priority for all appropriate levels of government.”

The groups further called on Nigerians to adhere to all the guidelines given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The signatories to the statement include Policy and Legislative Advocacy Centre, Centre for Liberty, Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), Silverchip Fox, TechHer, Butterfly Effect Empowerment Initiative, YIAGA Africa, Concerned Nigerians.

Others include Free Nigeria Movement, Adopt A Goal Initiative, Dinidari Foundation, Rule of Law Development Foundation, Education as a Vaccine, Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), Centre for Democracy Development, Girl Child Africa, Tap Nitiative, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA), Raising New Voices Initiative, Global Rights, Connected Development (CODE).

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