Omicron: Reps want more vigilance on travellers coming into Nigeria

The House of Representatives has urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure intensive observation of passengers arriving in Nigeria.

The lawmakers also directed the Ministry of Health to put in place strategies to check the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

These resolutions were the outcome of a motion moved by Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) on Tuesday during the plenary.

Omicron, which was first isolated in South Africa, has also been discovered in Britain, Belgium, Botswana, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Israel and the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

Many non-African countries have since imposed travel restrictions on southern African countries like Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

The decision to punish southern African countries has been condemned by many including the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In his motion, Mr Bagos referred to the report that Canada “detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of COVID in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria.”

He asked the Ministry of Health to activate “strategies to be implemented in monitoring adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and ensure residents continue to comply with all advisories aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.”

He also called on the “NCDC to step up the national response to control the emergence and spread of new variants in order to spare Nigeria the full brunt of the third wave of the pandemic.”

Contributing to the motion, Henry Nwawuba (APC, Imo) said Nigeria must do everything possible to avoid getting on the travel restriction list.

He noted that the controversial infectious disease control bill would have provided the legal framework to prevent the spread of the new variant.

Mr Nwawuba further said the NCDC should appear before the chamber to brief the House on the strategy to prevent the spread of Omicron.

Reacting to the contribution, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the committee on COVID19 should interface with the NCDC.

When the motion was put to question by Mr Gbajabiamila, the “ayes” had it. (Premium Times)


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