Covid-19: FG bans travellers from 13 countries, suspends issuance of visas

By Omeiza Ajayi

As part of measures to stem the spread of the Coronavirus in the country, the Federal Government has announced the restriction of entry for travellers from 13 Countries that have recorded at least 1,000 domestic cases of the pandemic.

Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha announced this at a press briefing Wednesday in Abuja. According to him, the government has also temporarily suspended its visa on arrival policy.

On Tuesday night, the federal government had banned all its officials from foreign trips, but speaking Wednesday morning, the SGF said: “This morning, we have found it necessary to brief Nigerians on further measures being taken after an assessment of the global situation. They are as follows:

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from the following thirteen (13) countries; China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland. These are all countries with over 1,000 case domestically;

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“All persons arriving in Nigeria who might have visited these countries, 0fteen days prior to such arrival, will be subjected to supervised self-isolation and testing for 14 days;

“The Federal Government is temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival; “The Federal Government is also counselling all Nigerians to cancel or postpone all non-essential travels to these countries; and

“The Federal Government urges Public Health Authorities of countries with high burden to conduct diligent departure screening of passengers and also endorses these travel advisories to their nationals to postpone travels to Nigeria.

“These restrictions will come into effect from Saturday, 21st March 2020 for four (4) weeks subject to review,” he added.

On Tuesday shortly after its inaugural meeting in Abuja, the Taskforce announced that it had “consequently decided to urge that we upscale our health management system and put in place measures to curb the spread of the disease. So far, we have three cases. Two have tested positive, one negative.

“We want to make sure that it does not go beyond this minor figure for now. On the part of the government, it has become necessary to advise all government officials in the MDAs, including parastatals that government has banned all forms of travels for whatever reasons, whether for a meeting, bilateral or multilateral, conferences or negotiations and any form of ceremony”.

“This ban will remain in place until further notice and until the situation of the pandemic nature of the Coronavirus abates. By this notice, any prior approval to travel abroad within this period is accordingly rescinded. With regards to the general public, we want to advise citizens in their own interest to cancel all non-essential trips abroad including business and vacation trips.

“We urge everyone returning to Nigeria from any country to strictly self-isolate for 14 days in their homes. All people returning from high community transmission rates especially countries that have recorded 1,000 cases and above will be effectively followed up”, he added.

Members of the Taskforce are the Ministers of Health, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Aviation, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services, Education, Information and Culture, Minister of State Health and Minister of Environment. Others are the Director-General, Department of State Services, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; and WHO Country Representative/National Coordinator – Dr. Sani Aliyu.

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