FG beneath strain to shut borders over coronavirus


• Nigeria will get third COVID-19 case
• Govt bans officers from international journeys
• No flight restrictions but, says well being minister
• Nation pushing luck too far, Lawan warns
• Buhari okays suspension of Edo sports activities competition
• Says govt will discover methods to guard residents
• Stakeholders search measures to manage public gatherings

The announcement by the Federal Ministry of Health yesterday of a brand new case of coronavirus illness (COVID-19) in Nigeria has intensified calls on the Federal Government to impose journey restrictions on the nation’s entry factors.

This is coming because the Federal Government yesterday banned all authorities officers from embarking on international journeys on account of the pandemic.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha made the disclosure following the inaugural assembly of the Presidential Task Force Team on coronavirus illness.

The president of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, informed reporters that it was excessive time the Nigerian authorities took the choice to “close its borders to countries with high cases of coronavirus.”

Also, the president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, defined: “When people come from countries with high prevalence of coronavirus, they should do compulsory quarantine. Suppose the people you ask to do self-quarantine refuse and go about their businesses, what would happen? They would spread the virus!”

He, nevertheless, added: “I personally do not subscribe to closing borders. If everyone closes his borders, what do you think will happen to the world? There are still necessary travels that need to be done. But if you travel, ensure you self-quarantine.”

Faduyile and Ohuabunwa said these following the presentation of a report by the NMA/PSN joint committee on inter-professional concord in Lagos, yesterday.

This was as 21civil society teams yesterday known as on the Federal Government to permit solely important travels into the nation.

They made this recognized in a joint assertion signed by Policy and Legislative Advocacy Centre, Centre for Liberty, Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), Silverchip Fox, TechHer, Butterfly Effect Empowerment Initiative, YIAGA Africa, Concerned Nigerians, Free Nigeria Movement, Adopt A Goal Initiative, Dinidari Foundation, and Rule of Law Development Foundation.

The others are: Education as a Vaccine, Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), Centre for Democracy Development, Girl Child Africa, TAP Initiative, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA), Raising New Voices Initiative, Global Rights, and Connected Development (CODE).

The assertion reads partly: “We can not and mustn’t ponder banning Nigerians from returning residence in these tough instances, however it’s apparent that it’s time for drastic measures to guard our nation and a fragile well being system that has been uncared for for too a few years. The Federal Government and states should recognise, like different international locations, that that is probably the most pressing of nationwide safety issues.

“Effort should be put in place to closely monitor our land borders and ensure basic health protocols for preventing the spread of coronavirus. Governments at all levels should consider immediate measures to limit public gatherings and promote safe social contacts among citizens.”

Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED), a civil society organisation, additionally known as on Buhari to shut the nation’s borders.

In a press release, the group’s director of media and publicity, Comrade O’Seun John, stated: “We discover it extraordinarily exhausting to grasp the motive behind the refusal of the President Buhari’s administration to shut the Nigerian borders and shut down our airports in opposition to travellers from coronavirus-infected international locations within the wake of the pandemic.

“It is unexplainable {that a} father will knowingly and wishfully expose his youngsters to the chilly palms of loss of life to fulfill the ego of superiority within the battle in opposition to the lethal COVID-19.

“Let’s make no mistake, Nigeria is getting ready to an outbreak and like South Korea, which was doing every little thing proper till Patient Number 31 determined to disobey social distancing orders, we can not afford to go away the nation to the unseen palms of the divine.

“President Buhari must take action. This is not a plea. He swore an oath of allegiance to Nigeria and Nigerians, and the safety of Nigerians must come first.”

The nationwide chief of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, stated the occasion’s place aligns with the choice by superior international locations just like the United Kingdom to close its borders as a part of measures for holding the pandemic.

He informed reporters on the finish of the occasion’s National Working Committee (NWC) assembly in Abuja that the APC wouldn’t sit again and watch the citizenry uncovered to the illness by foreigners. He promised to steer a crew of NWC members to interface with Health Minister Osagie Ehanire with a view to defending Nigerians.

Also, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charged the Federal Government to transcend “rudimentary interventions and adopt more stringent measures to further safeguard our nation from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It expressed concern that the present method in tackling the illness falls wanting the required pre-emptive measures, thereby leaving gaps that expose the nation to avoidable dangers.

The PDP, in a press release by its nationwide publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated: “Nigeria is a strategic international hub. As such, the Federal Government should adopt stringent pre-emptive measures by radically stepping up our international ports and border screening as well as quickly improving our internal surveillance and hygiene monitoring system.”

It additional urged the Federal Government to “go beyond its proposed secondary screening of travellers from certain countries and extend the measure to all international flights coming into the country, given the prevalence of connecting flights and land border crossing by international air travellers.”

Calling on the federal government to create extra screening centres, the PDP enjoined Nigerians to stay vigilant, guarantee private hygiene and comply with directives issued by the authorities.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, on his half, regretted the nation’s insufficient preparation for stopping the pandemic.

At a session yesterday, Lawan stated: “We are very lucky and fortunate, but we shouldn’t push our luck too far. We should be very observant of all those regulations the technical experts give us. There is the need for the Federal Government to do a little more, especially in the area of testing centres. The entire north and southeast have no testing centres and it shouldn’t be so.”

Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), who launched the movement, additionally drew the eye of the Senate to the necessity for extra critical efforts to fight the pandemic. “God has been very kind to Nigeria”, he stated: “But we don’t need to take anything for granted.”

According to the senator, “Nigerians need to increase the observance of preventive measures including avoidance of shaking of hands. If it is possible, people should not travel to high-risk countries especially in Europe, unless such trips are very important.”

He additional recommended: “Nigeria should also consider disallowing non-Nigerians from high-risk countries from entering the country. Currently, we have only five centres where testing can be done. The government has to step up the testing capacity and provide support for state governments.”

Meanwhile, observing the proverbial ounce of prevention, Buhari yesterday permitted the postponement of the 20th version of the National Sports Festival scheduled to start in Benin City on Friday, March 20.

Minister of Sports Sunday Dare and his well being counterpart, Olorunimbe Mamora, made the disclosure in Abuja yesterday following a gathering with the president.

“For the benefit of the sporting community, the Ministry of Youth and Sports recognises the fact that a lot of resources, a lot of efforts on the part of our athletes have gone into preparing for Edo 2020. But we think that staying healthy, to be able to compete in not just Edo 2020 but other sports and tournaments, is very important,” stated Dare.

“After briefing Mr. President, he took the initiative and gave the directive that the National Sports Festival, christened Edo 2020, should be postponed as a precautionary measure against the press of COVID-19. A new date will be communicated later based on development around COVID-19,” Mamora stated.

Mamora stated additional that the precept of social distancing should be noticed. “That also extends to religious gathering or any other gathering that would have a large number of people. It is not advisable at this point in time,” he stated.

The minister was, nevertheless, not categorical about what type of ban in opposition to social gatherings the federal government would possibly put in place.
“What I can say for now is that the immediate issue before us is the national sports festival and our meeting with Mr. President essentially was to convey our thoughts in that regard and Mr. President did the right thing by approving the need for the postponement. But social distancing is desirable at this point in time.”

On the potential for restrictions to flight from high-risk international locations, Mamora stated the ministry would tackle the difficulty at an acceptable time. “There will be subsequent briefings from the ministry because each situation is reviewed as it comes to us,” he stated.

Also, Buhari stated his administration would discover numerous choices to guard Nigerians from the pandemic and tackle resultant financial issues.

He made the dedication throughout a briefing session by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), led by Prof. Doyin Salami.

With oil costs oscillating between $29 and $30, versus the $57 benchmark for the 2020 funds, Buhari famous that many variables, together with manufacturing price and political influence, decide oil costs, however “we will see how to survive falling prices, as we already envisaged the problem.”

He stated defending the individuals from the vagaries of worldwide markets and falling oil costs is a precedence of the federal government, “and we will do our best to do so.”

Salami painted sobering situations of what may occur to the Nigerian economic system if the pandemic turns into protracted. These embody: slower development, as the availability and demand sides of the worldwide economic system grow to be affected; uncertainty, which might erode confidence; governments appearing unilaterally as an alternative of cooperatively; additional drop in oil costs; and lockdowns gaining grounds all over the world. There would even be oil glut, commerce imbalance, drop in international reserves, and rise in unemployment.

He advocated exhausting work in order that Nigerians may hold their heads above the water. He additionally really helpful a revision of the 2020 funds, with precedence spending on healthcare, amongst others.

According to a press release by Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire, the newest case is a Nigerian nationwide in her 30s, who returned from a brief go to to the United Kingdom on March 13.

“Fortunately, she determined, upon returning residence, to enter a 14-day self-isolation, however subsequently developed signs of fever and cough on March 16, at which level she voluntarily known as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) toll-free line to report her situation.

“Officials from the Lagos State Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) were immediately dispatched to her home to collect samples, which upon testing came out positive for the coronavirus. The lady is currently at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba, where she has remained clinically stable and is responding to treatment.”

He added: “Intensive contact tracing has begun, to help identify all persons who the patient has been in contact with since her return. We expect the number to be small, because of her sensible decision to go into self-isolation from the time of her arrival.”

As at Monday, March 16, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the pandemic had contaminated greater than 168,000 individuals and claimed the lives of greater than 6,000 individuals in over 140 international locations, areas or territories worldwide.

It stated 38 instances had been reported with zero loss of life throughout Senegal (26), Burkina Faso (3), Cote d’Ivoire (3), Nigeria (2), Ghana (2), Guinea (1) and Togo (1). Of all these, Senegal is presently the one member state with native transmission with a hotspot within the locality of Touba.

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