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UN mulls isolation centre to contain coronavirus among Cross River IDPs


Govt, APC canvass tighter borders as anti-dote

Determined to check any outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic at the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Cross River State, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR) is setting up an isolation centre at the Nigeria-Cameroun border. 

The centre, according to the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Princewill Ayim, is to take care of persons from Cameroun entering Nigeria through the Mfum border in central senatorial district of Cross River and, possibly, handle cases of persons from neighbouring communities.

“I had a meeting with the UNHCR and they are designing the plan on how to kick-start it, and they are, very meticulous about it,” he stated.

Ayim said the UNHCR was “planning to build an isolation centre there at Mfum and equip the primary healthcare centre to check the COVID-19 pandemic and for now, we do not have any case or incident.” 

He continued: “For those people coming in from the illegal borders that are the communities you are talking about for now, we haven’t had any case and people are not entering the reception where we do registration. We have not gotten any new working (new arrival) at the moment. Those in the reception are being managed carefully. We are trying to complement the efforts of the UNHCR to create more shelters to see how we can properly isolate them.

“For now, the camps are100 per cent safe and the implementation partners (IPs) and we (SEMA), the camp coordinators, are trying to get a task force properly by not allowing people break the social distancing order and ensure they are in order. Everything is okay, and on Tuesday, we commenced payment of the cash base intervention and we don’t allow them to gather.”

According to UNHCR data, the number of refugees being registered by it had increased from 35,965 in 2019 to 36,044 in January this year. In a related development, the Commissioner for Aviation, Jake Otu Enya, and Central Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Cletus Obun, have called on the federal and state governments to address the porous borders at Bashu, Bumaji and others in Boki Local Council to check the spread of the disease. 


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