New Telegraph

COVID-19: FG extends travel restriction to S’Africa; retains Brazil, others on list

…says Indian variant not in Nigeria

Due to the prevalence of variants of coronavirus in South Africa, the Federal Government has extended travel restrictions on passengers from the country for the next four weeks.

Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made this announcement Monday at a briefing in Abuja.

Mustapha disclosed that based on the realities on ground in Brazil, Turkey and India, the government has equally extended the earlier restriction placed on these countries by another four weeks.

The PSC Chairman, who noted a downward trend in reported COVID-19 cases in the country, also disclosed that the India variant (Delta) has yet to be discovered in Nigeria.

The Committee, which maintained that civil servants below Grade Level 12 should continue working from home, also advised the people to continue to observe self-preservation measures to forestall the outbreak of the third wave of the dreaded disease in the country.

Mustapha said: “A few weeks ago, we 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 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 were 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 wreaked devastating havoc is not yet found in Nigeria hence the need to tighten our borders and be more vigilant.”

Insisting that any in-bound passenger who breached the protocols would be sanctioned, the PSC boss disclosed that the committee had taken steps to improve the travel portals with a view to removing the bureaucratic bottlenecks bedevilling it.

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