Nigerian government mulls flight ban over new COVID-19 strain

The federal government may impose a travel ban to and from certain parts of the world over the new strain of COVID-19 manifesting itself in the United Kingdom.


Speaking at a special forum of NAN in Abuja on Monday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said while the government knows the negative economic impact of another lockdown, it would not rule out restrictions on movement to and from certain parts of the world.

Mohammed is a member of the presidential task force on COVID-19.

“We are more concerned about the new strain of COVID-19 which is manifesting itself in the UK; that is the mutated strain,” he said.

“It is difficult to detect, it spreads faster and people have been known to die of it within a very short period of its detection.

“This is a major concern to us as a country. While I do not want to pre-empt the PTF because we are meeting this afternoon, it is going to be top on the agenda of our discussions. I will not be surprised if that will be the recommendation of the committee which is meeting later today.

“This season, many students are coming from the UK in particular, to come and join their families in Nigeria. Besides, many of our people, because of the traditional link we have with the UK, may want to go there for business or a family reunion.

“It is a very testy time and it might be another dangerous period to transmit this new variant of COVID-19.”

The minister noted that many European countries had banned flights to and from the UK.”

Mohammed said the federal government is worried about the spike in infections in the last couple of days.

He enjoined Nigerians to comply with the advisory being regularly issued by the PTF, including the use of face masks, compliance with social distancing protocols, and regular washing of hands with soap and water.

The minister also urged Nigerians to refrain from local or international travels except if absolutely necessary.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has asked the federal government to immediately restrict flights from the United Kingdom.

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