Journalists under the aegis of Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) have urged the Federal Government to urgently swing into action in banning flights from Britain and other countries with the spread of the new COVD-19 variant for the safety of Nigerians.
The association expressed its worry over the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian health authorities in responding to the development as several countries have taken decisive action in restricting flights from countries with high spread of the virus, but Nigerian authorities have remained silent and yet to respond to the new development.
Meanwhile a second new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in the United Kingdom.
The strain was imported into the country by two people that had travelled to South Africa, where the variant had been linked to a surge in cases.
Although the government of UK is already tracing the variant, it was said that they are set to implement travel restrictions on those entering the country from South Africa and urged those that had arrived in the last fortnight to isolate immediately for two weeks.
Unfortunately, with the influx of festive travellers into Nigeria, as expected in this Yuletide period, from different countries including those now being ravaged by the new strain of COVID-19, the government is yet to take a decision on flights restriction.
In a statement signed by HEWAN President and Secretary, Chioma Obinna and Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu, respectively, HEWAN called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, place a ban on flights from Britain and other countries currently experiencing the spread of the new COVID-19 variant
“As at today, the new variant is reportedly spreading rapidly in Britain and the World Health Organusation has confirmed nine instances of the same variant in Denmark, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
“Scientists say the new variant is 70 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant strain though there’s no evidence yet that it could be more fatal. There’s however, fear that it will spread swiftly to other countries.
“Expectedly, countries around the world have reacted swiftly to prevent or curtail the spread of the new variant. As at today, over 40 countries have banned flights from Britain while neighbouring France has temporarily shut its borders”, it cited.
Chronicling the outbreak of the infection in the country from February to August 2020, HEWAN noted with amazement that until the resurgence of the infections in December, Nigeria never had a higher number of daily infections than the 745 reported on June 19.
The men of the fourth estate of the realm therefore emphasized the need for the government to act as fast as possible as the world confronts another wave of the pandemic.