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COVID-19: No reason for travel ban for now, FG declares

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehinare has disclosed that the Federal Government is not contemplating imposition of travel ban on travellers from any country over the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

The Minister made this disclosure after the United States placed a 30- day travel ban on European travellers to US as part of the measures to contain the virus.

While assuring foreign diplomats of the measures put in place by the federal government to contain the spread of the virus, Ehinare said that there was no immediate reason for now to impose travel ban.

The Minister also said the country has not reached the point of banning large gathering.

He said the country is guided by World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline.

The minister, who spoke in Abuja at a meeting with accredited foreign diplomats and International organsiations in Nigeria organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said there are only two confirmed cases in the country.

He said: “No reason for travel ban in Nigeria for now. We are guided by World Health Organisation’s guidelines.”

On public gathering, he said: “We have not reached a point where we ban large gathering.”

He however advised that where there possible people should avoid large public gathering.

He however stated that the Federal Government has not placed any travel ban on any country, but strongly warns citizens against travelling to endemic countries, including China, Japan, Italy, South Korea and Iran.

He also noted that travellers from high risk countries are expected to observe the fourteen days self isolation to ensure safety.

While calling for global collaboration to tame the virus, Ehinare said high risk countries should ensure proper screening of travelers before allowing them to board the planes.

He also said the Ebola outbreak in 2014 had helped the country develop capacity to confront the current Coronavirus.

The country’s strategy, he said, is to focus on surveillance by ensuring strict monitoring of travellers coming into the country.

So far, he revealed that there is only two cases of the virus in Nigeria, the index-Italain that imported the virus and a primary contact of the index case.

He revealed that the Italian will be discharged soon while almost all the passengers on the same flight with him have been identified and seen.

He also narrated how the government was able to track down two passangers who were on the same flight with the Italian.

The two, he said, gave false information at the point of entry.

He said when they refused to come forward, they were declared wanted with their pictures published in national daily newspapers.

“We have two cases of people for some reasons known to them gave false address and numbers but we tracked them down. We had to publish their names in daily newspaper and they immediately surfaced,” he said.

The minister also called for global actions against the virus, saying “countries must now more than ever work together” in fighting the scourge.

 
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