Monday, January 2, 2023

Nigeria regrets travel restrictions to curb Omicron variant, says it disrupted business

The Nigerian government said the travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had no health benefit.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa stated that the restrictions impacted negatively on individuals and businesses.

“Recent experience in Nigeria with the arrival of omicron showed travel restrictions did not have any public health benefits but were disruptive for persons and businesses. COVID-19 has and continues to follow a different course (epidemiology in Nigeria and most of Africa),” Adetifa tweeted.

Following a meeting of the NCDC COVID-19 National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) held on Saturday, Adetifa said the EOC would continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the coming week.

He expressed confidence that the Nigerian population is significantly protected from a combination of natural infection and vaccination but hinted that there will be changes in government approach if the need arises.

“At the next review and if deemed necessary, a range of actions, not limited to enhanced surveillance of travellers at airports, may be implemented,” Adetifa said.

He advised Nigerians to make use of every opportunity the government has provided via to get vaccinated and urged citizens to receive their primary vaccination which can be two or a single vaccine dose.

“If you have received two vaccine doses already, go get your booster,” Adetifa said.

“If you have received one booster dose already, please go get your second booster dose. If you belong in any of the high-risk categories (old age, etc), kindly ensure you adhere to recommended public health safety measures – mask use, hand hygiene and avoiding crowded spaces.”

By Dennis Erezi, The Guardian

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