Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has added South Africa to the list of countries that cannot have flights into Nigeria.
This was revealed by Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19. Mustapha also revealed that the Federal Government’s decision affects Zambia, Rwanda, Namibia, and Uganda, in addition to Turkey, Brazil, and India.
He explained that South Africa had over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in the previous week, with 20,000 occurring in the previous 24 hours.
Mustapha listed the four major variants of concern as Alpha (UK), Beta (SA), Gamma (Brazil), and Delta (India), adding that the Delta variant, which had wreaked havoc, has yet to be discovered in Nigeria.
He also stated that the work-from-home program for federal government employees in Grades 12 and below, which had been in place for six months, would continue. This, he claimed, was to prevent a third COVID-19 wave.
On the issue of Emirates flights in and out of Nigeria, he said, ”The relevant Ministries continued to review developments and concluded that any decision to fly the Nigerian route by airline is a business decision. In all circumstances, however, conditions placed on such flights must conform with international civil aviation standards and must not be discriminatory and must respect our sovereignty.”
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, stated that Nigeria has so far avoided the worst of COVID-19 and the dire predictions made about the country. He stated that the Ministry of Health was preparing to ensure system resilience.
Ehanire added that a team from the Federal Ministry of Health, led by the Director of Public Health, was advising the funeral planning committee for a Lagos-based cleric to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed at the funeral, in anticipation of a large turnout.
Speaking on the Cholera outbreak, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control, stated that the government would do everything possible to contain the outbreak while emphasizing the importance of safe water.
“Providing Safe Water is the best way to curtail the outbreak of Cholera, there used to be a time when water used to be high on the political agenda but now you don’t hear that anymore.
“As much as we are supporting the state in the response to the outbreak, we must know that it is easily preventable. We must provide what we know as W.A.S.H Which is known as Water, Hygiene and Sanitation for our people.
“We are responding to the outbreak but responding to a cholera outbreak in 2021 is not what we should be doing, we should be facing more difficult diseases.” He said.