The Federal Government has included Brazil, India, and Turkey on data of countries considered to have high saturation of the COVID-19 infection, necessitating their being listed as coronavirus hot-beds, and advised Nigerians to refrain from traveling to the countries except essential and necessary.
It explained that the issued travel advisory was in line with the government’s responsibility to safeguard the health of its people and block any chance to spread the COVID-19 in the country.
The Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said that since there were daily reported cases of coronavirus across three countries, it was important Nigerians boycott the countries until such times clearance was given by relevant authorities.
Mustapha gave the advice during a Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 vaccination for the North East Zone in Yola. The meeting was organised by the PSC in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The SGF, who was represented by Minister of Environment, Abubakar Mohammed, said President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would stop at nothing in protecting Nigerians from the deadly pandemic.
According to him, Nigerians are strongly advised to avoid nonessential international traveling at this time especially to countries that are showing an increase in number of COVID-19 deaths.
“Consequently, any person who had visited Brazil, India, and Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be denied entry into Nigeria. Among other travelling guidelines, individuals, transporters, and airlines who abuse the guidelines shall be sanction,’’ Mustapha said.
He explained that the PSC has been monitoring with keen interest the rise in cases of COVID-19 abroad and that necessary precautions are been taking by the government to prevent another outbreak.
”The Federal Government deeply sympathises with the government and citizens of those countries and assured them of unflinching support and solidarity. All Governors are also advised to ensure that all returned international passengers in their respective states adhere strictly to the mandatory seven days isolation period,” he said.
The PSC chairman said that the cardinal objective of the meeting was to provide means for the government, communities, and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be the greatest health threat to the present generation.
Ehanire disclosed that the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s health, economic and social services have been so overarching, that it calls for all hands to be on the deck to focus on solutions to the disease.
“This meeting today is the second in the series of town hall interactions across the country to afford the opportunity to rub minds with elders and arrive at a messaging strategy for citizen engagement in ongoing vaccination to protect Nigerians against COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case in February 2020, the Federal Government has put measures in place to protect lives and mitigate the devastating effect of community transmission,’’ Ehanire said.
He disclosed that Nigeria has lost over 2, 000 lives and its GDP has fallen by 23 per cent due to slowdown of global economic activity as a result of COVID-19.
Also speaking, Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, said that the town hall was organised to share mutual concerns, reach a consensus and take responsibility in ongoing efforts to protect the citizens against the pandemic.
“This Town Hall meeting is in line with the principles of pro-active community engagement, transparency and accountability of the PSC, under the able leadership of Mr.Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“Our gathering here today is anchored on our core principles and conviction that it is not enough to offer vaccines to Nigerians. But that we must also empower the people with the correct information required for them to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19,’’ Shuaibu said.
Shuaibu said that Nigeria received a shipment of nearly four million doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine. He said that the agency across the country had provided first COVID-19 vaccine doses to 1,966,548 Nigerians, which represent about 98 per cent of those targeted in the first wave of the vaccination exercise.
“We have begun providing second doses. Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose six to 12 weeks prior,’’ Shuaibu said.