In a bid to stop new variants of the coronavirus from entering Nigeria, the government has banned entry into the country for anyone who has visited India, Brazil, and Turkey in the last 14 days. The new restrictions will take effect from midnight tonight and will be subject to review after four weeks, according to the Nigerian Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.
Airlines who choose to ignore Nigerian COVID-19 rules and allow passengers who have been in any of the countries mentioned above to arrive in Nigeria will face a per passenger fine of $3,500. The ban does not apply to Nigerian passport holders or permanent residents. Other pre-existing rules do, however, and include the following:
- All passengers must register online at the Nigeria International Travel Portal with their contact information and uploaded test results
- All passengers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken no more than 96 hours before departure
- All passengers must prove that they have paid for their PCR test in Nigeria to be done seven days after arrival
- Any passenger who has a body temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) will be denied entry into Nigeria
If allowed entry into Nigeria, all passengers must self isolate for a minimum of seven days before again being tested for COVID-19. If the second test records a negative result, they are free to mix in the general population.
Nigeria has had two COVID-19 waves
Nigeria has already battled two waves of the highly infectious virus, and while it has not been as bad as in many other counties, 165,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths are bad enough. Now the possibility of a third wave of a variant entering the country has officials deeply worried.
In a statement carried by business newswire service, Bloomberg, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, speaks about the new measures saying:
“These precautionary measures are a necessary step to minimize the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases introduced to Nigeria from parts of the world where the virus is running rampant.”
In Brazil, over 400,000 people have died from the virus, while a nationwide stay-at-home order is in place in Turkey. Following a surge in cases that saw 37,312 new COVID-19 infections and 353 deaths within 24 hours. Turkey has said that people could only leave home for essential shopping or medical reasons.
The situation in India is dire
Meanwhile, in India, the situation is dire, with infection rates increasing day by day. According to American National Public Radio (NPR), the figures could be ten times higher than those being reported.
The country’s healthcare system is being overwhelmed with beds, oxygen, and healthcare workers, all in short supply. In New Delhi, parking lots are being turned into mass crematoriums with funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.
While being interviewed by NPR, a south Delhi municipal health official Dr. Aniket Sirohi said:
“The situation is very grim here. We are short of everything; I want to say to the world, Help us in any way you can.”
Vaccine rollout in Nigeria has been slow
Back in Nigeria, the authorities are beginning to ramp up their vaccination efforts following a slow rollout that they are blaming on misinformation. However, the governments’ aim remains to vaccinate over 80 million Nigerian’s by the end of the year. So far, only around one million people have received their first dose of the vaccine.
What do you think about Nigeria banning people who have been in Brazil, Turkey, and India in the past 14 days? Is it too strict, or do you think more countries should follow Nigeria’s lead? Please tell us what you think in the comments.