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COVID-19: Nigeria adds South Africa to travel restriction list

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Buhari receiving the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the State House, Abuja. Photo/TWITTER/NGRPRESIDENT

The Nigerian government has added South Africa to the list of countries barred from entering the country due to the spread of COVID-19 in their countries.

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Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who have visited South Africa within 14 days will not be allowed in the country.

Secretary to the Nigerian Government and chairman of the Presidential Commission on Combating COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced the ban at a press conference held by the committee in Abuja.

“A few weeks ago, we announced additional measures to be met by passengers arriving from Brazil, Turkey and India,” Mustapha said.

“This action was due to the prevalence of variants of concern and the dangers associated with the importation of such virulent strain.

“The PSC has been reviewing these restrictions and is of the opinion that they should remain for another four weeks (one month) before it is further reviewed. South Africa, has, however, been added to this category once more.”

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The ban on South Africa comes as Nigeria confirmed an additional Covid-19 65 new cases on Monday. A total of 167, 532 people have been confirmed infected and 2,119 have died since the outbreak in Africa’s most populous country.

In South Africa, 1,928,897 people were infected and 59,990 died, according to the John Hopkins Institute. South Africa has the highest number of infected people in Africa.

“South Africa for example, recorded over 100,000 cases in the last one week while 20,000 were recorded in the last 24 hours,” Mustapha said.

“The four major variants of concern are now classified as Alpha (UK), Beta (South Africa); Gamma (Brazil) and Delta (India). The Delta variant, which has wreaked devastating havoc, is not yet found in Nigeria hence the need to tighten our borders and be more vigilant.”

The steps being taken by the Nigerian authorities to prevent the spread of the disease are coming at a time when the country is preparing for a third wave.

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In early May, Nigeria barred travellers from India, Brazil, and Turkey from entering the country, in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within Fourteen (14) days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria,” Mustapha said.

The ban took effect on May 4.

Indian hospitals, morgues, and crematoriums have been overwhelmed as the country has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Many families have been left on their own to find medicines and oxygen at the time.

In Brazil, new coronavirus cases have fallen off a late-March peak, but remain high by historical standards. Total deaths in the country are second only to the United States.

Turkey imposed a nationwide “full lockdown” for two weeks until May 17, to curb a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths, with the world’s fourth-highest number of cases and the worst on a per-capita basis among major nations.


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