Travel advisory – The Nation

  • Nigerians must accept the reality that COVID-19 is still around

In line with the promise by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, that the Federal Government would come out with additional measures to tackle the third wave of COVID-19 ravaging India and some other countries, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 announced the measures after its meeting last week Monday. These include warning Nigerians to be wary of travelling outside of the country, particularly to India, that is experiencing the third wave of COVID-19. South Africa, Brazil and Turkey were also listed in the travel advisory.

This is not the first time the Federal Government would be adopting such a measure on COVID-19. In August, last year, the Federal Government hinted that it would apply the principle of reciprocity in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic by only allowing flights from countries that allowed flights from Nigeria. We understand the sentiments of nationalism behind this decision. But beyond that is the need for thoroughness on the part of governments all over the world to take the best decisions on global or other issues based on their national interest. We know the lackadaisical manner our government approached the COVID-19 pandemic and its foot-dragging on stopping flights inwards or outwards by some countries last year such that weeks after many countries had banned flights, Nigerian airspace was still open to all manner of flights. Most serious governments would not want to take chances with our kind of attitude on this matter of life and death.

The National Incident Manager, PSC, Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, who announced the latest measures said: “While we continue to reopen the economy, we must also be aware of the happenings around the globe. Mr Chairman (Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha) and the Honourable Minister of Health (Prof. Osagie Ehanire), have made reference to specific incidents in India, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa. 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 recording over 2,000 deaths.”

This newspaper too seizes this opportunity to sympathise with the affected countries. But then, the rightful has to be done, not only in the country’s interest but in the interest of humanity. By taking steps to ensure that fewer persons travel to those countries, the government is not only trying to protect its own nationals, it is as well helping those other countries to reduce the number of persons likely to contract the disease.

As the task force chairman noted, “India is a prime destination for medical tourism for Nigeria. We know that many Nigerians like to travel – to go to India but now… we urge Nigerians to limit all travels to only essential travels, particularly to these affected countries.”

It is difficult for the government to ban travelling to or from India because there is no direct flight from Nigeria to that country. So, the best the government can do is issue a travel advisory or, at best ensure that those on connecting flights from India and those other countries are thoroughly screened for COVID-19 whenever they arrive in the country.

These measures are inevitable, particularly for a country like India that is said to have overtaken Brazil to become the second-most affected country in the world. According to www.worldometers.info, that country has 17,306,300 COVID-19 cases out of the world figure of 147million; while the country has also recorded 195,116 deaths out of the 3.1million figure worldwide. It has also recorded 14,296,640 recoveries. A third mutation in the B.1.617 strain has now been identified in at least four Indian states.

Lest we forget, some of the factors responsible for the resurgence of the pandemic in India are also prevalent in Nigeria. Apart from both being Third World countries, illiteracy, poverty, etc are endemic in both countries. Many Indians have hardly taken the pandemic with the seriousness that it deserves, just as the case in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, wearing of face masks has almost become a forgotten issue in the country even as many people no longer take other COVID-19 protocol seriously. Indeed, it is still a miracle that COVID-19 has not recorded as many casualties in Nigeria despite the lackadaisical attitude of both the government and the people to the pandemic. As we speak, there are some states in Nigeria that do only one test per week. This is unhelpful.

That some countries are experiencing a third wave of the pandemic is enough warning to all that it is not yet over. The government has to sustain the crusade against the pandemic while Nigerians should be ready to abide by all necessary precautionary measures to keep it at bay.

While the travel advisory rolled out last week is most welcome, there is the urgent need to complement such measures to make them effective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

x

Check Also

Insecurity: Where is the president? – Guardian

The emotional and lachrymose outburst of Senator Smart Adeyemi, among other senators, at the plenary ...