A coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria has called on the government to consider immediate measures to limit public gatherings and promote safe social contacts among citizens.
The 21 groups made the call barely 24 hours after Nigeria confirmed its third case of Covid-19.
The group includes 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, 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 and Connected Development (CODE)
In a statement jointly signed and issued on Tuesday, the coalition expressed its worries over continuous exposure of the country to travellers from areas heavily exposed to the virus.
It said the confirmation of the third case of Covid-19 in Lagos calls for more stringent measures in protecting borders and managing movement in and out of Nigeria.
Nigeria is one of the countries which have reported at least a case of the Covid-19 since it was detected in Wuhan, China in December.
Nigeria now has at least three confirmed cases of the disease.
Two of the cases were imported into the country and the third was a contact person of the index case.
The Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said Tuesday that the latest case is a Nigerian national in her 30s, who returned from a short visit to the UK on March 13.
He said the woman had been diligent in observing 14-day self-isolation and is not expected to have been in contact with lots of people.
He said intensive contact tracing had begun to help identify all persons who the patient had 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,” the minister said about the latest patient.
The civic coalition said it is necessary for government to take ”drastic measures to protect the country and a fragile health system that has been neglected for too many years”
It said the federal government and states must recognise that this is a urgent national security matters.
The group urge the government to place ”restriction to travellers coming from any country overseas that has an on-going outbreak of Coronavirus.
”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.
”NCDC should immediately receive funds that will be adequate for it to radically scale activities and make a major urgent investment in testing for coronavirus.
”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 coronavirus 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 said.
The group also calls for better resources and adequate life insurance policies for frontline workers of NCDC, state and federal ministries.
“We need both the federal government and state governors to act to forestall unnecessary losses of life,”
The group advised Nigerians to adhere to advice issued by NCDC on social events.
“By being cautious early, we can protect our country from undetected outbreaks spreading dramatically.
“We will need to work together as a society, and we will need to work with our neighboring countries to protect each other in this time of danger,” the coalition said.
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