Nigeria has placed travel restrictions on countries with over 1000 cases of coronavirus.
The Federal government says it is restricting entry into the country for travellers from the following countries:
China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.
This was disclosed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha during a press briefing on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Announcing the ban to journalists in his office, Mr Boss Mustapha, also said those who arrived into the country in the last 15 days from the 13 countries, would be subjected to supervised 14 days self-isolation.
Mustapha, who was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehinare, explained that the ban on the 13 countries became necessary because of their high-risk status in terms of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said the ban on the 13 countries would take effect from Saturday, March 21, 2020, adding that the Visa-on-Arrival policy had been temporarily suspended.
He also advised all Nigerians with foreign travel plans to the banned countries to either cancel or suspend such plans.
“This morning, we have found it necessary to brief Nigerians on further measures being taken after an assessment of the global situation.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from the thirteen (13) countries. These are all countries with over 1,000 cases domestically.
“All persons arriving in Nigeria who might have visited these countries, fifteen days prior to such arrival, will be subjected to supervised self-isolation and testing for 14 days;
“The Federal Government is temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival. The Federal Government is also counseling all Nigerians to cancel or postpone all non-essential travels to these countries; and
“The Federal Government urges Public Health Authorities of countries with high burden to conduct diligent departure screening of passengers and also endorses this travel advisories to their nationals to postpone travels to Nigeria.
“These restrictions will come into effect from Saturday, 21st March, 2020 for four (4) weeks subject to review”, he said.
This travel restriction is coming simultaneously with the news that the FG has also ordered the immediate shut down of all National Youth Service Corps, NYSC orientation camps across the country where corps members of the recently mobilised graduates for the 2020 Batch ‘A’ orientation course are currently undergoing the three weeks compulsory Orientation Course.
Latest reports indicate that the corps members already in camp have also been issued with their letters of posting to their places of Primary assignments and despatched from the camps, in response to globally advised precautionary measures of social distancing, as the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continues to spread across the world.
The federal government was compelled to abruptly end the orientation course nationally to contain the spread of the virus since it also accommodate foreign students.
This directive was contained in a statement sent to all the State Coordinators (SCs), following the commencement of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) calendar for the year, which started on March 10 and was supposed to end on March 30, when corps members would have been posted to their various places of primary assignments.
The statement reads in full:
TO ALL SCS;
“I have received instructions to inform you to bring the ongoing Orientation Course to an immediate shutdown; effective tomorrow on account of the rapid-fire spread of COVID-19.
Effect Primary Assignment postings this night. All necessary financial entitlements will be settled in the early hours of tomorrow.
You are to, by any means, reach Corps Employers on this development; immediately.
This obvious course of action is dictated by circumstances far beyond what can be controlled.
The rapid changes in very many countries warranting social distancing between persons and isolation of persons on account of COVID-19 present no other option; but to close the camps because of the large aggregation of persons in close social contacts.
With the abundance of caution, mitigation of errors is easily achievable.
Further information/development shall be conveyed as directed.
You’re to act with absolute dispatch, please,” the statement concluded.
Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim
Shedding more light on this latest action, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim confirmed, in a telephone chat with a leading national newspaper, that the orientation camp exercise was suspended Nationwide as a precautionary measure to avoid cases of crornavirus (COVID-19).
Brigadier Ibrahim, who stated categorically that no case of the virus has been recorded as at the time of this report, added that Corps members were asked to leave the orientation camp today morning, Wednesday 18th March, 2020, by the management of NYSC.
Noting that the same precautionary measure was taken during the Ebola virus situation in 2014, when the corps members were also in camp but their activities had to be suspended to prevent the spread of the virus, the NYSC boss said although the scheme had activated precautionary measures earlier, there was still need to suspend the camp activities to ensure that no case is recorded.
According to Brigadier General Ibrahim, the fear in the camps was becoming alarming as “anyone who sneezed, coughed or had a fever was a scare to other corps members.”
He further stated that the camp would reopen once the coast was cleared on the Covid 19 pandemic and authoritative pronouncements have been made that the pandemic had been properly tackled, and there was signal on the safety of the Batch ‘A’ corps members.
Stressing that the corps members were not sent home but were directed to report to their places of primary assignment while the issue of the virus is monitored, the NYSC boss said they will be recalled to camp to complete their orientation camp exercise whenever the ministry of health and National Commission for Disease Control (NCDC) confirm that the virus is no longer a threat to the corps members.
“Once we have a clear picture that Covid 19 has been tamed and we are okay then we will invite the corps members back to camp to complete their orientation training.
“That is the decision we have taken; it is just for the concern for the welfare of the corps members,” he said.