• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NGOs urge FG to enforce travel ban on countries with high COVID-19 cases

vavaNew NANTA president pledges to address challenges of travel agencies in Nigeria

As Nigeria confirms its third case of COVID-19, Civil Society groups in the country have urged the Federal Government to enforce travel bans on countries with high risk cases of the novel virus.

The Civil Society groups also call for the enforcement of quarantine measures on all travellers to the country to curtail the spread of the novel virus.

“We are deeply worried that Nigeria continues to be exposed to both visitors and returning Nigerians travelling from areas heavily exposed to the virus,” a joint statement signed by 21 civil society groups in the country says.

“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,” the statement states.

They noted that the outbreak of the virus calls for a drastic measure for the country to protect the lives of its citizens and its fragile health system that has suffered neglect for several years.

 They ask that the Federal Government and states recognise like other countries that this is the most urgent of national security matters currently.

“Restriction to only essential travellers coming from any country overseas that has an on-going outbreak of Corona virus and 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,” the group states.

The group also suggested that the Nigeria centre for disease control (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.

They noted that the 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,” the group added.

The group explained as a body they make these positions known conscious of the tireless efforts of frontline workers of NCDC, State and Federal ministries calling that these teams must be better resourced immediately, and adequate life insurance policies put in place for them.

“We need both the government to act to forestall unnecessary losses of life. As has become apparent internationally, if we act boldly and decisively as a nation corona virus outbreak can be contained, albeit with considerable difficulty,” the group stated.

“Delay or inadequate responses are disastrous,” they noted.

“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,” they advised.

They called on Nigerians to adhere to advices given by the NCDC. “This risk will not pass swiftly so we must already prepare ourselves for a long year ahead but one where we can sustain each other through mutual support and open dialogue as we face each challenge,” they said.

ANTHONIA OBOKOH