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

By Chioma Obinna

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Prof Cyril Usifoh has expressed concern over continuing ban of countries due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, saying that, apart from the economic implications, it will further widen the gap in COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.

In a chat with Vanguard, the PSN president said the travel ban on Nigeria will definitely promote vaccine hesitancy.

Citing on the United Kingdom’s travel ban restrictions, he said: “If those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines can be thus quarantined, the unvaccinated Nigerians would see no real need in getting vaccinated.

“So, we really need to be careful here in order to balance the pros and cons while still allowing researchers to unravel the nature and possible leeway for Omicron strain and indeed, Covid-19,” he added.

Usifoh said: “Basically, the UK’s action against Nigeria requires more or less a political and diplomatic reaction. This is a call on the FG to rely on the strength of its bilateral ties with her former colonial masters to rescue Nigeria from the list.

“While arguing the correctness of the decision vis-a-vis International migration laws and human rights, one also has to view it from the UK’s position of trying to be responsive to her citizens’ and residents’ public health well-being.

“Some African countries, including Nigeria, on the list have come out strongly to condemn the policy, calling it unnecessary and demeaning.

 “Conversely, the UK may now be viewed in another perspective because when a particular strain of Covid-19 emanated from there (UK), these countries now on her red list, never placed any travel ban on the UK. This is a huge question mark on UK (I would not be in a haste to mention racial profiling).

Economically, the policy harms the aviation industry and other sectors of the transport segment,” he added.

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