- As Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia onwatchlist
By Favour Nnabugwu
To guide against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has added South Africa to the list of countries where foreign travellers coming into Nigeria have been banned.
In May, the federal government had decreed that any person who has visited Brazil, India, or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria.
It said the regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.
“In addition to these three countries, the PSC has also shifted its focus on some African countries. South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Namibia and Uganda fall in this category”, he stated.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee PSC on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this during Monday’s briefing of the PSC.
Mustapha recalled that few weeks ago, the PSC had announced additional measures to be met by passengers arriving from Brazil, Turkey and India.
“This action was due to the prevalence of variants of concern and the dangers associated with importation of the such virulent strain. The PSC has been reviewing these restrictions and is of the opinion that they should remain for another four weeks before it is further reviewed. South Africa, has however, been added to this category once more.
“In addition to these three countries, the PSC has also shifted its focus on some African countries. South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Namibia and Uganda fall in this category. South Africa for example, recorded over 100, 000 cases in the last one week while 20,000 was recorded in the last 24 hours. The four major variants of concern are now classified as Alpha (UK), Beta (SA); Gamma (Brazil) and Delta (India). The Delta variant which has wrecked devastating havoc, is not yet found in Nigeria hence the need to tighten our borders and be more vigilant”, he stated.
While airlines shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger, the PSC had stated that non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the Airline.
“Nigerians and those with permanent resident permit shall undergo seven (7) days of mandatory quarantine in a government-approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at a cost to the passenger”, it had stated.
On the issue with Emirates flights, the SGF said; “At the last briefing, the PSC updated its position on the issue of emirates flights in and out of Nigeria. The relevant Ministries continued to review developments and concluded that any decision to fly the Nigerian route by an airline is a business decision. In all circumstances, however, conditions placed on such flights must conform with international civil aviation standards and must not be discriminatory and must respect our sovereignty.
“For over six months Federal Government employees on GL 12 and below have been observing work-from-home instructions. This restriction remains in place until further notice in order to avert a third wave”.
The PSC added that a out 1, 434 persons who came from Brazil, India and Turkey are currently in quarantine.
Nigeria has escaped the worst but…
On his part, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said while Nigeria seem to have escaped the worst, it is however not a licence to be complacent.
He said; “Nigeria has so far escaped the worst of COVID-19 and the dire predictions made about us. We may even seem to be doing well, but I wish to emphasize that we must still be on strict preventive alert, because of the COVID-19 third wave that is sweeping across the globe. Cases have been rising in one African country after the other and health systems are getting stressed in countries like Uganda.