The Federal Government has added South Africa to the list of countries that can’t have flights coming into Nigeria due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.
Mustapha also disclosed that Zambia, Rwanda Nambia and Uganda in addition to Turkey, Brazil and India are the other countries affected by the Federal Government’s decision.
He explained that South Africa recorded over 100, 000 new COVID-19 cases in the last one week while 20,000 were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Mustapha listed the four major variants of concern now classified as Alpha (UK), Beta (SA); Gamma (Brazil) and Delta (India), adding that the Delta variant which had wreaked devastating havoc, is not yet found in Nigeria.
He also said the work from home for federal government workers on Grade Level 12 and below which had been in place for six months remains. This, he said, was to avert a third wave of COVID-19.
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 an 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.”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that Nigeria has so far escaped the worst of COVID-19 and the dire predictions made about the country.
He said the Ministry of Health had been preparing itself to ensure system resilience.
Ehanire added that a team from the Federal Ministry of Health, led by the Director of Public Health, was working closely with Lagos and Ogun State governments to advise the funeral planning committee for a Lagos-based cleric, to ensure COVID-19 protocols are observed at the funeral, in anticipation of a large turnout.
Speaking also on Cholera Outbreak, the Director-General, National Center for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said the Government would do all it can to curtail the outbreak while emphasising the need for Safe Water.
He said, “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.”