From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has warned Nigerians that the new COVID-19 variant, called, Omicron, as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO), is potentially dangerous, and has urged residents to exercise extra caution and vigilance in practice and enforcement of preventive measures.
It said the vaccine mandate would come into effect fully on December 1 and urged every Federal Government worker and all Nigerians and residents to get vaccinated.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, made the appealed while briefing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
He also urged Nigerians to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested, and continue to strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical intervention measures, including physical distancing, properly wearing of face masks, ensure proper ventilation and hand hygiene.
Mustapha described as alarming statistics of the levels of fraud and forgery that are going on with regards to the procurement and availability of PCR test result, warning that those behind were first a danger to themselves.
National Incident Manager and Technical Head, Mukhtar Mohammed, announced a new travel guidelines to address the palpable fear brought about by the new variant, Omicron.
“There is no doubt that currently, there is a global concern about the new COVID-19 variant, the Omicron which was discovered in Botswana, and announced by South Africa last week. There are palpable fears that this variant could be on its way to Nigeria, in view of the number of countries that are currently reported to detection of this variant.
“Aside today, there has not been any detected case. And the PSC has continued to review our risk of this latest information and take every necessary step to stop it from being imported into the country. We have taken far reaching proactive measures to minimise and mitigate this possibility.
“Consequently, the PRC will be issuing a travel guideline document tomorrow. But let me highlight the contents of this travel guideline. Passengers arriving into the country are required to do a PCR test 48 hours before the departure.
They will also do day two and day seven PCR test on arrival. And then you are required to self-isolate for seven days.
Passengers that are outbound of Nigeria will be required to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure.
These conditions apply to diplomats as well.
“The measures will come into effect by Friday, December 3, 2021. The PSC will ensure there is an enforcement of passengers who arrive and refuse to take test through suspension of their passports and prosecution or both. Furthermore, we will be increasing our surveillance at the points of entry into the country, intensify testing and contact tracing, and optimize sequencing capacity.”