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New Covid Variant: UK restrict travel from 6 African Nations

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New Covid Variant: UK restrict travel from 6 African Nations
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New Covid Variant: UK restrict travel from 6 African Nations

Britain on Thursday said it would ban travel from six southern African countries, after South Africa detected a new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations.
“The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Javid said the new variant, which South Africa attributed to a surge in cases and had also been detected in travellers from the country in Botswana and Hong Kong, had not been found so far in Britain.

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But he said British scientists were “deeply concerned” and as a precaution a decision had been to suspend all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana from 1200 GMT on Friday.

“We will be requiring anyone that arrives from those countries from 4:00 am on Sunday to quarantine in hotels,” he added.

New Covid Variant: UK restrict travel from 6 African Nations

“If anyone arrives before then they should self-isolate at home and take a PCR test on day two and day eight.

“And if anyone has arrived from any of those countries over the last 10 days, we would ask them to take PCR tests.”

ALSO READ:  Just In: Nigeria Announces First Case Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant

Britain has been among the hardest hit by Covid-19, with some 144,000 deaths since the start of the outbreak early last year.

Positive cases remain stubbornly high — more than 47,000 were recorded in a 24-hour period to Thursday — but more than 80 per cent of people aged 12 and over have been double-jabbed with a vaccine.

Nearly 29 per cent have received a third booster dose, as part of a government drive to ease pressure on hard-pressed health services during the winter months, when other seasonal respiratory infections are high.

Britain’s government was widely criticised for its travel and quarantine policy earlier in the pandemic, when it kept its borders open to foreign travellers even as infection rates spiralled.

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Covid 19 Omicron variant: Extra 3 Cases Confirmed In Nigeria

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Covid 19 Omicron variant: Extra 3 Cases Confirmed In Nigeria
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Covid 19 Omicron variant: Extra 3 Cases Confirmed In Nigeria

…As NCDC prioritises sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples in travellers from UK

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Tuesday confirmed additional three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, the Omicron variant, in Nigeria.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six .

All the Omicron cases so far were detected in persons with recent travel history to South Africa in November.

In press statement made available to Journalists, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said the NCDC through the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) continues to coordinate genomic surveillance activities across the country to sequence all positive COVID-19 samples from international travellers arriving in Nigeria.

ALSO READ:  Just In: Nigeria Announces First Case Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant

This includes sequencing of positive samples from international travellers from October 2021 to date. The Delta variant remains the dominant variant and so far, we have not seen the replacement of this variant by the new Omicron variant as observed elsewhere.

He explained that the Omicron variant is a source of global concern because of its increased risk of transmissibility and its potential to escape protective immune responses induced by natural infection and/or vaccination.

“Taken together, and if true, the Omicron variant can significantly change the current global COVID-19 epidemiology. There is currently no evidence of generalised or community transmission of this variant in Nigeria.”

Covid 19 Omicron variant: Extra 3 Cases Confirmed In Nigeria

He said the NCDC will continue coordinating and implementing genomic surveillance activities in- country to keep Nigerians reliably informed about existing variants, the Omicron and indeed other variants that may arise based on national data and emerging global evidence.

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“In line with Article 44 of the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) reporting framework, he disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the NCDC has also been notified by the UK Government of seven cases of travellers from Nigeria with the Omicron variant.

Given the reports of increasing numbers of Omicron cases in the UK, he added that the NCDC is also prioritising the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples in travellers with history of travel to the UK.

“All viruses naturally mutate over time, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID- 19. Since SARS-CoV-2 was first identified, several mutations have occurred with the emergence of new lineages.

“This will continue to happen as long as the world does not act in concert to significantly reduce transmission through vaccination and adherence to effective public health measures such as mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ensuring good ventilation.

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He urged Nigerians to continue to take personal and collective responsibility to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.

He said:”Compliance with the travel protocols provided by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19) is mandatory for all international travellers arriving in Nigeria from any country. Incoming travellers should ensure their day 2 and day 7 tests are done as stipulated in Nigeria’s travel advisory.

“Otherwise, there will be consequences for defaulters which may include publication of their details, suspension of their passports and ban on travel to Nigeria by the PSC-COVID-19,” he stated.

He stated that the revised travel protocol which came into effect on 5th December 2021 is available via – http://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/Revised_Travel_Protocol.

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FG says “50 per cent of COVID-19 positive cases in Nigeria from UK”

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FG says “50 per cent of COVID-19 positive cases in Nigeria from UK”
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FG says “50 per cent of COVID-19 positive cases in Nigeria from UK”

The Nigerian government has said that 50 per cent of the COVID-19 positive arrivals that the country has had are from the UK.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said this while faulting the UK government for red-listing Nigeria and other African countries over fears of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Ehanire described the ban as a hasty decision in an interview on Channels Television.

He said, “We regularly have travellers from the UK that are COVID-19 positive. In fact, within the last two weeks, the COVID-19 positive arrivals were 50 per cent from the UK.

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“There is genetic sequencing going on; we shall have the results soon. We do not know how many of them are Omicron variants. But if every country should put other countries on a ban list because there are 21 cases in that country, very soon, you’ll have a large number of countries on your red list.

The health minister stated that there are other ways to go about this COVID-19 variant than banning flights from African countries.

“I believe that there are other ways to go about it, and we in Nigeria don’t regard banning flights and movement of people as particularly helpful,” Ehanire said.

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COVID-19 Omicron: Moghalu Urges Nigeria, South Africa To Reciprocate Travel Ban

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COVID-19 Omicron: Moghalu Urges Nigeria, South Africa To Reciprocate Travel Ban
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COVID-19 Omicron: Moghalu Urges Nigeria, South Africa To Reciprocate Travel Ban

Former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu has asked Nigeria and South Africa to reciprocate travel bans by western countries and shut their borders.

Moghalu said this following the travel ban handed to Nigeria by Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Many developed countries have been shutting their doors against African countries due to the newly detected coronavirus variant in South Africa.

The UK announced that it found 21 cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant which were linked to Nigeria.

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It further confirmed that all flights from Nigeria from Monday would be restricted. All pending visa applications in Nigeria have also been suspended.
COVID-19 Omicron: Moghalu Urges Nigeria, South Africa To Reciprocate Travel Ban
Moghalu in a post on his Twitter page wrote: “Nigeria and other African countries such as South Africa should issue reciprocal restrictions or bans on any Western countries that restrict or ban travel by Africans because of the Omicron variant of #COVID19.”

According to him, It is unconscionable to subject Africans to restrictions because of avariant that did not originate from the continent, when Western countries with similar or more cases are not subject to similar restrictions.

” This is more than public health. It is about worldviews in international relations. Our dignity matters. Our leaders should protect it instead of as is the case with Nigeria today, traveling around the world with a begging bowl for foreign assistance,” his tweet read.

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Meanwhile, the Nigerians government has said there is no need for travel ban over concerns of Omicron variant.

The health minister said other measures could be put in place, adding that most COVID-19 positive cases in Nigeria are from the UK.

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