The Muslim Congress (TMC), on Thursday, advised the Federal Government to urgently close all land, air and sea borders entering the country, in order to prevent the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus.
Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, the Amir (President) of the fate-based organisation made the call in a press statement made available to The Renaissance in Lagos.
“We call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to close all land, air and sea borders to the country immediately.
“This is an urgent step that we believe needs to be taken in order to prevent the spread of the highly-contagious virus before it spirals out of hand.
“We have had seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus all brought in from outside the country.
“Despite the preventive measures put in place by the Federal Government and the states, the third confirmed case of the coronavirus, by someone who flew in from the United Kingdom, shows that the preventive measures using scanners and other physical checks are not enough to detect all cases of people who have contracted the deadly virus,” AbdurRaheem stated.
According to him, the usual method of asking people who have been in contact with the infected to self-quarantine and report themselves to the health authorities is not that effective since they may also spread the virus to others without knowing.
“Isn’t it better then, to close the borders so that people are not even coming in with the virus in the first instance?
“This is what will prevent us from recording further infections in the country.”
TMC, however, commended the Federal and State governments for the preventive and curative measures put in place.
“We must not become complacent or over-confident that we can deal with the coronavirus just as we did with the Ebola virus.
“We cannot be too careful in this instance as facts have revealed that apart from China, where the virus originated, several countries like Iran, Spain and Italy are seriously hit with heavy death tolls.
“Even the United Nations has described the spread of the virus as a pandemic.
“A virus that has infected more than a hundred thousand people and killed over six thousand people all over the world is worthy of drastic measures for protection.
“We may say that we do not want to hit the panic button but there could be a very thin line between panic and complacence and once the virus spreads, our fragile healthcare system might not be able to arrest the situation until it has exerted maximum damage.
He said that the coronavirus has shown itself capable of shutting down cities and preventing all forms of trade and social life.
“We need to take urgent measures to ensure that we do not arrive at such situations.
“We reiterate that, as a matter of urgency, the federal government should close our land, air and sea borders immediately and limit movement to that which is of utmost importance at these borders.
“Banning government officials from foreign travel is commendable but insufficient to tackle the problem at hand.
“The strategy for combating this contagious virus must be wholesome and all-inclusive.
“We must realise that a chain is only as strong as its weakest point; our biggest measure must be the prevention of further importation of the virus into the country.
“And the surest way to do this, as has been proved by other countries of the world, is to ban foreign travel at the moment,” Amir stated.
After that, he said, all other measures would be capable of preventing and containing the further spread of the virus.
By our correspondent
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