CORONAVIRUS: Why FG should be more proactive
Definitely all is not well with the planet earth owing to the sorrow and agony that has been thrown at the entire world due to the outbreak of the deadly disease, CORONAVIRUS which has continued to ravage all parts.
The disease which originated from Wuhan in China has spread to over 144 countries, killing over 5,000 and infecting over 130,000 across nations. The most ravaged countries spread across Asian countries, Europe, America, Middle East and until lately Africa.
The first record of the spread of the disease to Nigeria was made possible by a mysterious Italian man who on arrival to Nigeria through Lagos airport February 24, 2020 was discovered to have the virus after traveling to Ogun State.
While the unnamed Italian is said to be recuperating, many of those who came in contact with him have been given a clean bill of health.
The country has just recorded another case involving a Nigerian lady who was said to have arrived Nigeria onboard one of the British airlines operating into Nigeria.
The airport authorities and the federal ministry of health and other relevant agencies of government have since introduced measures across the airports particularly the international airports to prevent passengers infected with the virus from importing the virus into the country.
However, as the cases of the coronavirus infections multiply worldwide, governments of countries around the world have continued to come up with more stringent measures that will prevent the disease from further causing human damages and economic hardship.
While many countries like America, France, and Britain have announced travel restrictions, others have out rightly suspended air travels and other modes of travels from the mostly hit countries into their countries.
As there seems to be no quick solution in sight that will stop the dreaded virus, more governments have further restricted travels including even many African countries like Ghana which has imposed a temporary ban on travelers from countries that have recorded 200 or more cases of coronavirus.
Obviously, Nigeria as the most populous African nation with the largest population with its strategic position which has made it more attractive to foreign airlines and other business investors is surprisingly yet to restrict entries into the country as it continues to throw its borders and airspace open to even the countries that are highly infected with the virus.
Presently, the federal government has continued to maintain that it has no plans to impose travel restrictions on visitors from countries including where CORONAVIRUS is spreading speedily like wide fire.
Agreed that serious measures have been put in place at the airports such as checking of temperatures of arriving passengers with the use of thermal scanners, provision of hand sanitisers and profiling among other measures.
Again, it is true that government may say because it was so easy to curtail the spread of Ebola when it was imported into the country in 2014, but the fact is that Ebola cannot be compared to the magnitude of CORONAVIRUS though they are both viruses.
The airport authority officials with the ministry of health officials are in no doubt doing their bits though under serious pressures, but the question is; does government think the manner the virus is spreading in Africa can be curtailed without additional measures like restriction of movements and travel bans from affected countries.
Absolutely it is no, besides screening, there is an urgent need for government to restrict movement and impose travel bans on the countries that are known to be hard hit by CORONAVIRUS.
If bigger countries like Britain, U.S., Saudi, France and Germany can impose travel bans and restrict movements into their countries with all their health facilities, what does Nigeria rely on to do otherwise.
Presently, the idea of opening up the country’s airports to all flights may be counter productive in view of the latest case of a Nigerian passenger who arrived the country aboard a British carrier and tested positive.
The excuse that the travel ban will affect the economy of the sector and the country as good as it sounds may however backfire in the face of heavy presence of CORONAVIRUS. Of what use will a bountiful economy be to a country if half of its citizens are infected with a deadly disease like COVID-19.