• suspends issuance of visa on arrival
• confirms 5 new cases
The Federal Government has finally bowed to pressures as it banned flights from 13 countries with over 1,000 cases of coronavirus domestically.
The House of Representatives had passed a resolution calling on the Federal Government to consider the ban of flights from countries with high-risk cases.
The Presidential Task Force for the control of Coronavirus(PTF COVID-19) which had earlier announced a ban on foreign travels for all civil and public servants as well as government officials decided to ban the flights from the affected countries to halt an outbreak in Nigerian.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha who is the chairman of the presidential task force for the control of coronavirus (COVID-19) disclosed this to newsmen alongside the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire also announced the temporary suspension of the issuance of all visas on arrival and with effect from Saturday, March 21st.
Mustapha said: “This morning, we have found it necessary to brief Nigerians on further measures being taken after an assessment of the global situation. They are as follows:
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from the following thirteen (13) countries; China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland. These are all countries with over 1,000 case domestically;
“All persons arriving in Nigeria who might have visited these countries, 15 days prior to such arrival, will be subjected to supervised self-isolation and testing for 14 days;
“The Federal Government is temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival;
“The Federal Government is also counselling all Nigerians to cancel or postpone all non-essential travels to these countries; and
“The Federal Government urges Public Health Authorities of countries with a high burden to conduct diligent departure screening of passengers and also endorses these travel advisories to their nationals to postpone travels to Nigeria.
“These restrictions will come into effect from Saturday, 21st March 2020 for four (4) weeks subject to review.”
Meanwhile, five new cases of the infection have been confirmed in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Health bring to eight the total number of cases in Nigeria.
Ehanire in a press briefing in Abuja said three of the new cases including a five-week-old baby came from the United States while two came from the United Kingdom.
“We are collating information on the travellers. Two of the three from the US are Nigerians, a mother and child, making the six-week-old baby the youngest COVID-19 patient we have, and the 3rd is an American national, who crossed the land border and becomes the first COVID-19 case not arriving by air. The two cases from the UK are Nigerians. “A detailed travel history of each person is being compiled and contacts currently being traced to identify persons who have recently been in contact with any of them.
“The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and supported by partners, is supporting response in the states. The Federal Ministry of Health is also conducting a risk assessment to help guide decision making,” the minister said.
As the infection tends to spread in Nigeria authorities are taking more precautionary measures to halt the outbreak. President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the postponement of the National Sports Festival.
The National Youth Service Corps Scheme has suspended with immediate effect ongoing orientation camps.
The Nigerian Football Federation has also suspended with immediate effect the football league season till further notice.