Nigeria: Covid-19 - Govt to Review Travels, Other Protocols Over Omicron Variant

Direction board at Abuja airport.
29 November 2021

The federal government on Monday said it will review the nation's travel and other protocols to curtail the entry or spread of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this in Abuja at the national briefing of the committee.

Mustapha said, "The world has been hit with a new COVID-19 Variant of Concern, called Omicron, as announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"This variant is potentially dangerous, and Nigerians and residents are required to exercise extra caution and vigilance in practice and enforcement of preventive measures.

"As the DG WHO has just stated today, the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is.

"South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized."

He said that the PSC is reviewing the situation around the world and putting in place measures to curtail the impact of the variant on the country and that the new travel protocols would cover travels, testing, enforcement, surveillance and risk communication.

The SGF also said that the PSC is aware of some travellers circumventing the travel protocols by providing fake COVID-19 test results, Permit to Travel Certificates or declaring fake vaccination status at our Points of Entry.

"The weight of the law is heavy and will come hard on these people," he said.

Mustapha said that the Vaccine Mandate will come into effect fully on 1st December 2021, thus, every federal government worker and in essence, all Nigerians and residents are to get vaccinated.

He said, "With the developments around the world, people will not be able to travel without their verified vaccination cards."

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are monitoring emerging evidence on the new Omicron variant and its implication.

Nigeria, UAE flight spat resolved

The SGF also said that the impasse on the Nigeria-UAE flights have been resolved in the interest of both parties.

He said that though this process took so long to pull through with its ripple effects, everyone that was involved in getting this deal done deserved commendation.

"A date for the commencement of flights between the two countries will be announced in due course," he said.

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