• Friday, May 24, 2024
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New Coronavirus case in Lagos questions FG’s reluctance to impose travel restrictions

New Coronavirus case in Lagos questions FG’s reluctance to impose travel restrictions

The news that a new case of coronavirus has been reported in Lagos from a Nigerian citizen who returned into the country on March 13 once again questions the decision of the Nigerian government to allow people from high-risk nations into the country.

Other African countries are taking no chances as they race to stop the spread of the virus on their shores. Sudan has sealed off all seaports, land crossings and airports. Egypt is suspending all flights from all its airports to contain the virus ravaging the country.

Djibouti even though has recorded just a single case of coronavirus, has suspended all international flights to the country. South Africa with about 61 cases has placed restrictions on foreign nationals entering into the country from high risk countries including Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States,

Across Africa, hundreds of International flights have been canceled and even visas issued to nationals from affected countries have been revoked. But Africa’s biggest economy with some of the most underdeveloped healthcare system and high rate of poverty has been unwilling to restrict foreign travels.

“In today’s Nigeria, doctors who work in government-owned hospitals, both at the state and federal levels, do embark on incessant industrial action to call attention to their welfare condition,” says Chiedu Okoye, a public affairs commentator.

On Monday, Olorunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for Health told journalists that Nigeria has designated eight countries including France, Germany, Spain, China, Japan, Iran, Italy and Republic of Korea as high-risk nations and travellers from these countries would undertake secondary screening at the point of entry. They were also advised to self-isolate for 14 days on entry.

But many fear that these measures are not enough indicating the government is not taking it as serious as it should. Many responded to the tweet from Akin Abayomi, the Lagos state commissioner for health announcing the new case by urging the government to restrict travel into Nigeria.

Abayomi said the infected person, a female is in isolation and receiving care at Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.

He also said that contact tracing of all passengers and all those who may have come in contact with this latest case has commenced.

But the rapid spread of the virus in Italy, Germany and the United States indicate the contact tracing may not always be effective. These individuals may have come in contact with others when infected and not showing visible symptoms and leading to community spread.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised countries not to apply blind travel bans and restrictions in a way that would imperil trade and travel. It also issued the same warnings in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic but this did not stop several Western countries including the United Kingdom imposing travel restrictions on many African countries.