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COVID-19: We Need To Go Back To Wearing Face Masks, FG Intensifies Surveillance

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FG Reacts As Resident Doctors Issue two-week Ultimatum

Nigerians have been urged to go back to wearing of face masks, hand washing and sanitising as part of efforts to take preventive measures against another outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Naija News reports that this is as the federal government has beefed up surveillance at all the country’s international airports and increased the now relaxed scientific approach.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire at the 17th Edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard on Tuesday said going forward travellers would be asked to fill health forms, in addition to checking their temperatures.

The minister said the move was part of the government’s response to the surge in spread of COVID-19.

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Ehanire said “We need to go back to wearing of face masks to protecting those with compromised health issues and to washing our hands and sanitising, if it gets even worse than that. But we have not seen what the variants are like.

“Right now we just are going to increase surveillance at the points of entry; checking temperature, asking visitors to fill health forms to know where they are coming from and if they are coming from high burdened areas. We are also going to start vaccinating. Those who have not vaccinated will vaccinate at the airports before they enter, while those fully vaccinated will come in. Those are the measures we will be working on.”

He advanced Nigeria would not spontaneously ban travellers from China from entering the country over the rising cases that are suspected to be triggered by variants linked to the dominant Omicron strain.

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The minister submitted that the surge in the pandemic is due to the global winter gripping across China, Europe and the Americas, noting that COVID appears to explode in temperate areas and also recede in the summer.

The minister said although the health authorities had discovered that the prevalent variant in China also bore semblance to the sub-variant already present in Nigeria, its concern is that the sub variants in other places are not the type present in the country.

The minister also expressed concern about the exodus of Nigerian doctors and other health workers in pursuit of greener pastures, adding that the crisis is global because of the mobility of the health work force.

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“It is related to the fact that in winter you lock up the house and don’t leave house and no fresh air is coming in and no ventilation. We don’t exactly know yet but it is related. There is always a surge of Covid around Winter. It is not Covid China, so let’s disabuse our minds from issue of China. It is along the temperate belt. Are we going to start banning people from China because other countries are doing it?

“This is not really an exodus. The very high workforce mobility is global; doctors and nurses are moving everywhere. I have had occasions speaking with other ministers, even Ghana. They are losing doctors going elsewhere. There is a high mob,” the minister added