Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19

COVID-19: Nigeria warns against travels to Brazil, India, Turkey as US updates advisory to 120 countries

*The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 ‘strongly’ cautions Nigerians to avoid non-essential international travels, especially to countries that are showing increases in Coronavirus-related deaths

*As the United States vaccination numbers grow and spread of the pandemic becomes better contained, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says travellers now have access to more countries, but caution is needed in some others

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In view of the persistent damaging effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the affected countries, the Federal Government of Nigeria has cautioned the citizenry against travelling to India, Brazil and Turkey for now.

ConsumerConnect reports the Federal Government stated this in a travel advisory issued during a Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 vaccination for the North-East in Yola, Adamawa State capital, citing the risks from the pandemic.

The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, under the chairmanship of Mr. Boss Mustapha, represented at the forum by Abubakar Mohammed, Honourable for Environment Minister, issued the warning to Nigerians.

The PSC, in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), organised the town hall meeting with the stakeholders in the region.

Mr. Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), said the country has the responsibility to safeguard the health of the people and block any chance to further spread the disruptive COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“Nigerians are strongly advised to avoid non-essential international travelling at this time, especially to countries that are showing increase in number of COVID-19 deaths.

“Consequently, any person who had visited Brazil, India and Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be denied entry into Nigeria.

“Among other travelling guidelines, individuals, transporters and airlines who abuse the guidelines shall be sanction,” stated the Chairman of PSC.

According to Mustapha, the Steering Committee on COVID-19 has been monitoring with keen interest the rise in cases of COVID-19 overseas in recent times.

Mustapha said: “The Federal Government deeply sympathises with the governments and citizens of those countries, and assured them of unflinching support and solidarity.

“All governors are also advised to ensure that all returned international passengers in their respective states adhere strictly to the mandatory seven days isolation period.”

The cardinal objective of the town hall meeting was to provide means for the government, communities, and other relevant stakeholders to discuss COVID-19 vaccination, said he.

The PSC Chairman also noted:  “This Town Hall meeting is in line with the principles of pro-active community engagement, transparency and accountability of the PSC, under the able leadership of Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“Our gathering here today is anchored on our core principles and conviction that it is not enough to offer vaccines to Nigerians.

“But that we must also empower the people with the correct information required for them to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”

CDC updates travel advice for over 120 countries

While emphasising that there still lots of places on earth that the American travellers are advised to stay away from, the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its international travel advisory.

Photo: USembassy. Gov

ConsumerConnect learnt as vaccination numbers grow and the spread of COVID-19 becomes better contained in the country, travellers now have access to more countries that they were advised not to visit just a week ago.

Overall, the CDC’s revised list includes new travel advice for more than 120 countries, moving 33 countries where the pandemic is “sustained, but controlled” into the lowest risk category.

Those countries include Israel, where there’s a 99.2 percent recovery rate; Iceland, where there are only 52 current COVID-19 cases; and Singapore, which recently reported only four new cases.

Other frequently visited international destinations at Level 1 include Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, China, and Caribbean countries like the Cayman Islands and Belize.

However, the regulatory agency also noted the countries the US travellers should avoid.

Even though the CDC may have updated its travel advice for more than 120 countries, it was gathered that does not mean that there are now 120 additional places travellers can visit. Things are a little more complicated than that, according to report.

There are still 85 Level 2 and Level 3 countries, which the CDC says travelers should be fully vaccinated before visiting.

That includes many tourist destinations in Europe like France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

At the top of the pecking order on the CDC’s warning list ─ Level 4 ─ there are 61 countries that the agency says travelers should avoid altogether.

However, it leaves the final determination to the traveller, report said.

Therefore, the CDC warns Americans: “If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.”

Tourist favourites at Level 4 also include The Netherlands, Sweden, Jamaica, Egypt, and the Czech Republic, as well as many South American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

Countries where citizens are not permitted to enter the US

The US health regulatory agency notes in its advisory that there are still citizens of other countries that are currently prohibited from entering the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from some exceptions or presidential proclamations, immigrants or nonimmigrants who were physically present in eight areas/countries within a 14-day period of trying to enter the US will not be allowed entry, it stated.

Those areas include China, the U.K. (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), Brazil, India, Iran, and European nations that are a part of the European Schengen area. Countries found in that last area include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

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