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CORONAVIRUS: Halt flights from high-risk countries, reps urge executive

OrderPaperToday– The House of Representatives on Tuesday  requested the executive to direct the Ministry of Aviation and security agencies to immediately halt all flights from countries with a high rate of Coronavirus infections.
In line with the suspension of international sporting and musical festivities to prevent further spread of the dreaded virus, the House also called for the immediate postponement of the National sports festival already scheduled for Benin City, capital of Edo State.
These decision were sequel to a motion on the “urgent need for the federal government to postpone the National Sports Festival in Edo State and other large gatherings.”
The House argued that countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, the USA, China and South Korea are high risk countries and warned that flights from such countries should not be allowed except for Nigerian citizens who will be tested on arrival and may be quarantined if necessary.
Explaining the motion, its sponsor, Mr. Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa Ibom), expressed concern over the growing devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and warned that immediate measures must be  taken by Nigerian authorities and its various governmental agencies to emulate preventive steps of  countries and global health bodies and  stop further flights coming from high risk countries as well as postponing events that require large gatherings like the planned National Sports festival slated for Edo State.
Mr. Luke noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed the outbreak as a global epidemic, accounting so far for almost 200,000 affected persons worldwide and over 7,000  killed in over 60 nations.
He explained that in the United States, only the state of West Virginia is yet to report a case of Coronavirus, adding that far-reaching efforts have been made by governments all over the world, including nations such as Ghana and South Africa, to prohibit gatherings of more than 50 persons, encourage social distancing of at least 3 feet apart, as well as recommending widespread use of sanitisers and citizens encouraged to stay indoors with some cities and nations on total lockdown.
The lawmaker, while emphasising measures taken against the spread of the virus, disclosed that strategic and essential movements are also restricted such that workers are encouraged to work from home.
In his submission, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila warned that Nigeria has no option than to emulate very quickly, what other nations have done even though it has been fortunate to have only one index case that is said to be recovering, and given that our borders are porous and no one can predict the transboundary movement of persons in absolute terms.
The motion was unanimously adopted when put to  voice vote by Speaker Gbajabiamila.


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