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COVID-19 Omicron Variant: Travel Ban Ill-advised – Buhari Govt Berates UK

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The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has described as ‘ill-advised’ the decision of the UK to place Nigeria on a travel ban.

Recall that the United Kingdom on Saturday banned all flights from Nigeria following the three cases of the Omicron Variant detected in the country.

This is coming after the Canadian government also imposed a travel ban on Nigeria after detecting the variant from travellers who landed in the country from Nigeria.

The Nigeria Government had on Wednesday confirmed three cases of the Omicron variant from travellers from South Africa.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the UK’s decision.

He said: “We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

According to the Minister, the move by the British government would disrupt commerce and other activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” Ehanire said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”



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