Recently, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha,
announced that Nigeria has entered a second wave of coronavirus infections.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) website, Nigeria recorded more new COVID-19 cases in recent since the first case of the virus was registered in the country in February.
It is on this backdrop that the president, Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN), Chioma Obinna, observed with great concern the resurgence of what experts say is the emergence of a new variant of the pandemic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) urgeed the federal government to urgently ensure public safety.
She said: “As at today, the new variant is reportedly spreading rapidly in Britain and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed nine instances of the same variant in Denmark, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
“Several other countries including South Africa have also confirmed the emergence of variants similar to the one now ravaging Britain. 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.
“However, health authorities in Nigeria have remained silent and yet to respond to the new development. Unfortunately, the nation is already experiencing an influx of travellers, as expected in this festive period, from different countries including those now being ravaged by the new strain of COVID-19.
“It is, therefore, imperative that the country acts fast as the world confronts another wave of the pandemic.:
Calling on the Federal Government to, she said, “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.
“We also urge the government not to wait until the virus gets to our shores but quickly take necessary steps to keep the variant away from Nigeria. As the whole world is racing for the production of a vaccine for the cure of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, we urge the federal government to ensure funds are dedicated for research institutes such as the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and others ,that can develop a homegrown vaccine that can tackle it.”