FG mulls travel ban over new strain of COVID-19

Information Minister Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government says it may impose a travel ban to and from certain parts of the world, following the mutated strain of COVID-19 manifesting itself in the United Kingdom.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja on a special edition of Forum, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship interview programme.

According to Mohammed, a member of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, while the government appreciates the negative economic impact of another lockdown, it may not rule out restriction on movement to and from certain parts of the world.

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

“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 join their families in Nigeria.

“Besides, many of our people, because of the traditional link we have with UK, may want to go there for business or family re-union.

“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.

According to Mohammed, the Federal Government will not hesitate to give the directive if it is the only way Nigerians can be protected from the agony of the new variant of COVID-19.

“Government is worried about the spike in infections in the last couple of days.

“I enjoin Nigerians to comply with the advisory being regularly issued by the PTF, including the use of face mask, compliance with social distancing protocols and regular washing of hands with soap and water.

“I also urge Nigerians to refrain from local or international travels except if absolutely necessary,” Mohammed said. (NAN)


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