• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Coronavirus: FG bans public servants from traveling abroad

Boss Mustapha

Federal government finally reacted strongly to the Corona Virus global pandemic, with a travel ban on all public officers, especially to high risk countries, as Nigeria continued steps to strengthen coordinated response mechanism to the Corona virus pandemic.

The restrictions are part of Nigeria’s efforts to avoid the pitfalls that greeted late response of countries that now have high cases and widespread of the Corona Virus which they are now battling to control

Federal government listed such high risk countries to include China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Germany, the United States of America, the Uk, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Norway and Japan

Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF , Boss Mustapha, who had earlier inaugurated the Presidential task force on Covid-19, PTFCOVID- 19, said the decision was part of the resolutions of the PTF COVID-19, after its first meeting that lasted into late night.

“ After due considerations of the trend and spread of the novel diseases, COVID-19 and the subsequent declarations of the diseases as Pandemic by the World Health Organisation WHO, the committee has committee has subsequently urge that We upscale our emergency response system to the highest level and put in measures to stop further spread of the Disease.

Nigeria has recorded three cases with two testing positive and one negative so far

Mustapha said “ we will want to make sure that it does not go beyond this minor figures for now”

“ So, on the part of government, we have decided to advice that it has become necessary for public officers in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, including the parastatals that government has banned all forms of travels out of the country for whatever reasons whether for meetings, including bilateral, multilateral, conferences, seminars, workshops, consultations, negotiations and any form of other ceremonies”

The SGF was emphatic that these bans will remain in force until further notice, until the situation of the pandemic nature of the disease abates.

“ By this notice, any prior approvals to travel abroad during this period is accordingly rescinded”

With regards to the general public, we would want to advice strongly that citizens in their own interest should cancel , or postpone all non- essential travels abroad, including business and vacation trips, especially to countries affected by the disease

He also advised those “ entering Nigeria from any country at all to strictly self isolate for at least 14 days at home.

He advised NCDC to ensure that its guidelines for self isolation are widely publicized, even as he urged Nigerians to observed strict regulations on public hygiene, for sneezing, coughing hand shakes, amongst others.

Government also urged Nigerians to restrict unnecessary engagements that will lead to large public gatherings, while maintaining sound public hygiene

The PTF COVID-19 has an initial timeline of six (6) months and as part of its mandate, the team is expected to roll out policies that will strengthen “the national response strategy, particularly in the areas of testing, containment and management of COVID-19; Strengthen collaboration with all tiers of Government, Private Sector, Faith-Based Organizations, Civil Societies, Donors and Partners; as well as create necessary awareness among the populace.

The task force also has the powers to “ direct the deployment of any relevant national assets, and when necessary, Lay a foundation for scientific and medical research to address all emerging infectious diseases.

The task force is also saddled with responsibilities to advice government on the declaration of national emergency as part of the containment measures when necessary.

The SGF said the team is expected to report on regular basis to the President.

“ In order to give the activities of the Task Force proper focus, Mr. President also, approved the appointment of a National Coordinator who will manage the daily process, in collaboration with existing institutions and structures. The National Coordinator will be responsible for cohesion and efficiency in the roles played by the different agencies, operating in the treatment of the national response strategy” he said.

 

Tony Ailemen, Abuja