The Federal Government has revealed plans on stepping up its surveillance and all health protocols at all international airports in the country, in response to the increase in the spread of the novel virus COVID-19. In the quest of curtailing the spread of the virus, a revisit to the relaxed scientific approach will be needed, by creating awareness and involving the public with increasing vaccination, hence travelers will now fill out health forms, in addition to temperature checks. The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made this known while speaking at the 17th Edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard on 10th January 2023.
Ehanire said, “We need to go back to wearing face masks to protecting those with compromised health issues and to washing our hands and sanitizing if it gets even worse than that. But we have not seen what the variants are like. Right now we just are going to increase surveillance at the points of entry; check temperature, and ask visitors to fill out health forms to know where they are coming from and if they are coming from high-burdened areas. We are also going to start vaccinating. Those who have not been vaccinated will vaccinate at the airports before they enter, while those fully vaccinated will come in. Those are the measures we will be working on,”
Ehanire has noted that the country would not outrightly ban individuals traveling from China from entering Nigeria due to a hike in cases presumed to be linked to variants of the Omicron strain.
“It is related to the fact that in winter you lock up the house and don’t leave the house and no fresh air is coming in and no ventilation. We don’t exactly know yet but it is related. There is always a surge of Covid around Winter. It is not Covid China, so let’s disabuse our minds from issue of China. It is along the temperate belt. Are we going to start banning people from China because other countries are doing it?”
The minister said although the health authorities had discovered that the prevalent variant in China also bore semblance to the sub-variant already present in Nigeria, its concern is that the sub-variants in other places are not the type present in the country.
More so, he revealed that the government is seeking to improve the conditions of service for health workers including allowances and remuneration so that doctors don’t just receive a grade-level salary paid to other workers, but their performance can indeed be measured and be rewarded for the work done.