.Omicron Covid-19 not in Nigeria yet; we’ve ramped up surveillance — FG

Idowu Bankole

The United Kingdom says Nigeria will be added to the countries on its red list as a result of the discovery of COVID Omicron cases in England linked to recent travellers from Nigeria.

This new restricted measure is expected to be temporary.

Recall that The South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) had, on November 25, announced the discovery of 22 positive cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

Following the discovery, a number of countries banned travel from countries in southern Africa.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing disclosed in a statement made available to Vanguard that the UK govt arrived at the decision to take precautionary measures to protect people in both countries.

This news precautionary measure means that a temporary travel ban will be introduced for all non-UK and non-Irish citizens and residents who have been in Nigeria in the last 10 days, meaning they will be refused entry into the UK.

He noted, “This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through Nigeria while changing flights.”

“Travellers from Nigeria are still able to transit English airports, provided they have the necessary transit visa.

According to the statement, “Over the recent days, we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria. There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria narrows second only to South Africa in terms of cases linked to Omicron,” he said

“So today, the government has decided to add Nigeria to the travel red list and that will be effective from 4 am on Monday. This will mean that only UK residents or citizens of the UK can enter the UK from Nigeria from that point onwards, and they would have to quarantine in one of the relevant hotels.

“We’ve also decided to require pre-departure tests for all inward travellers that will be effective from 4 am on Tuesday, and they’ll be required a maximum of 48 hours before the departure time.”

Catriona Laing said, “I know that this decision will have a significant impact on people in both our countries, particularly at this time of year. This decision is a precautionary measure to protect public health in the UK, whilst we try to understand this new variant.

“We continue to work very closely with the Nigerian authorities in tackling the pandemic and commend their ongoing work.” The statement read.

Recall that The UK had also placed a temporary ban on air travel from six southern African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe — with immediate effect to prevent importation of the variant into Britain.

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