FG faults UK travel ban on Nigeria as most cases of COVID-19 in the country are passengers from the UK

The federal government ruled out the possibility of foreign travelers visiting Nigeria on Sunday despite entry bans from Canada, Great Britain, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong, just as the government told most arriving passengers that Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire said so on Sunday on Channels Television’s Politics Today program, which was monitored by Newsway. 

Describing the knee-jerk reaction of some countries to the Omicron, Ehanire noted that even the World Health Organization had recently said that countries should look to cooperation rather than border closings.

“At the moment we have no plans to restrict people who come from another country,” he said. Newsway reports that the WHO classified the Omicron variant as a matter of concern two weeks ago. 

The NCDC announced the country’s report last week, previously the Canadian government had said it had found two people with the variant who had a travel history to Nigeria. T

UK also announced on Saturday night that it had found 21 cases of the Omicron variant linked to Nigeria. He announced that from Monday (today) all flights out of Nigeria will be restricted and all pending visa applications in Nigeria will be suspended due to the flight ban from Nigeria due to the Omicron variant. 

The Commission said: “In order to support the UK Government’s objective of protecting public health from COVID19 and its associated worrying variants, UK Visas and Immigration will cease decision-making on all red visitor visa applications from its countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted. 

“If you apply for a visit visa in any country on the red list and you comply with UK immigration regulations, your application will be suspended. You will not receive a decision on your application for a visitor visa as long as the travel restrictions listed remain in effect.

You cannot request a refund of your visa fee once you have provided your biometric data to a visa application center. If you already have a valid visitor visa and intend to travel to England as a visitor to a Red List country, there are very limited exemptions in the UK from travel and entry requirements for critical workers and medical cases, as well as compassion.

However, the minister said the Omicron strain could not yet be classified as a deadly strain as no deaths had been recorded worldwide. “We watch what the scientific community is saying and of course we are in no hurry to pass judgment, nor do we applaud a blockade or a ban on flights or passenger traffic until we know more. 

“We believe that the damage this will do to livelihoods and the economy may outweigh the perceived value of stopping movement between countries. They believe countries should bond together to have a common approach and that includes the UK and other countries considering a Red List, ”added Ehanire. 

When asked why a large number of departing Nigerian passengers abroad tested positive even though they tested negative in Nigeria, Ehanire admitted that passengers actually presented some false test results. The minister said the government has strengthened its false-result detection mechanism and vaccines. 

However, he argued that the development wasn’t just in Nigeria, adding that the majority of incoming passengers who tested positive in Nigeria were actually from the UK: “Due to the high volume of British travelers, they also have the most positive COVID19 -Virus from Great Britain, “said the Minister.

When asked if anyone had been prosecuted for presenting a false vaccination card or test result, Ehanire stated that the normal procedure is to quarantine such individuals before handing them over to the police and admitted that he was never in the position to know what happened to these people. 

He said the government is examining the possibility of setting up vaccination centers in supermarkets and places of worship. The minister added that the government was considering vaccinating at least 70 percent of the population against the coronavirus. He said Nigeria would have to deliver around 100 million cans to the country in phases.

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