The federal government says it will issue a new travel advisory within 48 to 72 hours for travellers coming into the country from regions where there is a surge in COVID infections.
Mukhtar Mohammed, secretary of the presidential steering committee (PSC) on COVID-19, disclosed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Mohammed hinted that the government may impose travel restrictions on travellers from India, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa — where there has been a spike in infections owing to the second wave of coronavirus and new variants.
Speaking during the briefing on Monday, Mohammed said “we will be providing some travel advice in the next 48, 72 hours”, adding that it will affect those coming in and leaving the country.
“While we continue to reopen the economy, we must also be aware of the happenings around the globe,” he said.
“Mr. chairman and honourable minister of health have made reference to specific incidences in India, Turkey, Brazil and also South Africa.
“These were taken with serious concern and we’ll continue to monitor what is going on in these countries. We sympathise with the people of these countries, because it is really a very trying time, particularly for India that is recording over 300,000 cases a day and over 2,000 deaths.
“It is not easy. India is a prime destination for medical tourism for Nigeria. We know that many Nigerians like to travel to India, but now we see the situation that the country has found itself in. We urge Nigerians to limit all travel to only essential travel, particularly to these affected countries.
“We will continue to urge Nigerians to also comply with public health measures that are put in place to continue to ensure that we comply with the regulations.
“We actually empathise with those countries and what is happening in those climes. However, on our part, we are looking seriously into this issue. We are looking at other considerations that we need to provide. The health of Nigerians is of prime importance and whatever we need to do to protect Nigeria and to protect Nigerians from going into escalation of this current situation, the PSC will do that as necessarily.”
Mohammed added that the federal ministry of health, airports authority, state governments and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will continue to ensure that only those who test negative and are safe — are allowed into the country.
As of April 25, a total of 164,719 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the country, out of which 154,926 patients have recovered, while the number of fatalities stands at 2,062.