FG Extends Travel Caution to Germany, France, Spain

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· Receives report on containment of COVID-19 outbreak

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government yesterday added three new countries- Germany, France and Spain- to the list of five high-risk countries with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 virus for which it has issued travel caution.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has received the report of the committee set up by the federal government to assess the health and economic impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on the country.

Briefing journalists on efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic in the country, the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, said despite the fact that Nigeria has not recorded another confirmed case in the last one week, the government has not lost sight that the country like others is still at high risk.

He said following the review carried out by health officials, Germany, France and Spain had been added to the list of high-risk countries for which Nigeria is paying closer attention on air travels.

He said: “We continue to monitor returning travellers that fit our case definition and improve our surveillance, detection and risk communications.
“Following the declaration of a pandemic and increasing spread in the countries, we carried out a review of our case definition. We have added three new countries to the existing list of five high-risk countries with widespread community transmission. These are France, Germany and Spain. Therefore, eight countries are in our priority list- China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, France and Germany.”

Mamora explained that travellers from these eight countries will undertake secondary screening at the point of entry, adding that the passengers are also advised to self-isolate for 14 days on entry.
Giving further details on the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Mamora said: “Between the 7th of January and 15h of March 2020, a total of 48 people, who met our case definition have been screened for COVID-19 in eight states- Edo, Lagos, Ogun, FCT, Yobe, Rivers, Kano and Enugu.

“Out of which 47 tested negative and have been cleared, one was positive (contact of the index case) and one result is pending.”

Also yesterday, Osinbajo at the launch of the Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (IMOP) at the primary healthcare centre in Bwari, headquarters of the Bwari Area Council said the committee that assessed the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the economy and healthcare sector had submitted its report.

He said: “Only recently, the president directed that a readiness check be conducted on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak covering both the economy and our healthcare sector. That report has been submitted to Mr. President. We are also carrying out readiness checks on our healthcare facilities for whatever eventuality that may arise.”

According to him, the aim of the outreach programme is to offer immunisation to all children as it is the responsibility of the federal government to vaccinate all children.

Osinbajo added that the government is undertaking along with donor partners to make available vaccines needed to combat preventable diseases.

He implored all parents, guardian and community leaders to ensure that children benefit from the initiative.

“The outreach healthcare programme is part of our overall human capacity build-up. It is targeted at the vulnerable population and underserved communities like the riverine areas and other very difficult to reach places in the country,” he stated.