The Federal Government has issued a travel advisory to Nigerians to Brazil, India, Turkey, citing risks from COVID-19.
Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, gave the advice during a Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 vaccination for the North East Zone in Yola,
The meeting was organised by the PSC in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Mustapha, who was represented by Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed, Minister of Environment, said Nigeria has the responsibility to safeguard the health of its people and block any chance to spread the COVID-19 in the country.
“Nigerians are strongly advised to avoid nonessential international travelling at this time especially to countries that are showing an increase in a number of COVID-19 deaths.
“Consequently, any person who had visited Brazil, India and Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be denied entry into Nigeria.
“Among other travelling guidelines, individuals, transporters and airlines who abuse the guidelines shall be sanction,’’ Mustapha said.
He explained that the PSC has been monitoring with keen interest the rise in cases of COVID-19 abroad.
”The Federal Government deeply sympathises with the government and citizens of those countries and assured them of unflinching support and solidarity.
”All Governors are also advised to ensure that all returned international passengers in their respective states adhere strictly to the mandatory seven days isolation period,” he said.
The PSC chairman said that the cardinal objective of the meeting was to provide means for the government, communities and other relevant stakeholders to discuss about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
The SGF noted that records available showed that the daily incident of COVID-19 in the country has reduced.
Also speaking, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be the greatest health threat to the present generation.
Ehanire disclosed that the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s health, economic and social services have been so overarching, that it calls for all hands to be on the deck to focus on solutions to the disease.
“This meeting today is the second in the series of town hall interactions across the country to afford the opportunity to rub minds with elders and arrive at a messaging strategy for citizen engagement in ongoing vaccination to protect Nigerians against COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case in February 2020, the Federal Government has put measures in place to protect lives and mitigate the devastating effect of community transmission,’’ Ehanire said.
He disclosed that Nigeria has lost over 2, 000 lives and it’s GDP has fallen by 23 per cent due to the slowdown of global economic activity as a result of COVID-19.
Also speaking, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, Executive Director, NPHCDA said that the town hall was organised to share mutual concerns, reach a consensus and take responsibilities in ongoing efforts to protect the citizens against the pandemic.
“This Town Hall meeting is in line with the principles of pro-active community engagement, transparency and accountability of the PSC, under the able leadership of Mr.Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“Our gathering here today is anchored on our core principles and conviction that it is not enough to offer vaccines to Nigerians.
“But that we must also empower the people with the correct information required for them to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19,’’ Shuaibu said.
Shuaibu said Nigeria received a shipment of nearly four million doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
He said the agency across the country had provided the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to 1,966,548 Nigerians, which represent about 98 per cent of those targeted in the first wave of the vaccination exercise.
“We have begun providing second doses. Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose six to 12 weeks prior,’’ Shuaibu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants include top government officials from the federal and six states of the zone.
Others who attended the meeting are members of the State Assemblies from the zone, Traditional and Religious leaders among others.