Despite the spread of coronavirus forcing other world leaders to impose a travel ban on travellers coming in or going out their countries or limiting entry access, the Nigerian government says it has no plan to take such decision, thereby, opening Nigeria’s airspace to flights from countries with reported cases of coronavirus outbreak.
The decision of the Federal Government was revealed by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire today while providing updates on the coronavirus in Nigeria. According to him, measures are in place to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, but a travel ban was not one of the immediate methods being considered.
Globally, world leaders have been banning flights from countries experiencing high cases of coronavirus. The United States, Canada, Israel, China, India and Italy have restricted travelling into their countries. Also, Uganda has placed travel restriction on countries like the UK, US, China and other affected nations.
This was done to stop further spread of the virus but while briefing foreign diplomats on the readiness of Nigeria to tackle coronavirus, Ehanire said, “There was no immediate reason for now to impose a travel ban.”
He explained that Nigeria was following the coronavirus containment guideline of the World Health Organisation. Nigeria is one of the countries with fewer cases of coronavirus. The only confirmed case is that of the Italian man who was diagnosed to have coronavirus a day after arriving in Nigeria.
Ehanire’s statement raises cause for concern because most of the reported cases of coronavirus in Africa (about 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa) have been from people who travelled into the countries mentioned. The following are cases of coronavirus reported in Africa as of March 11:
- Algeria 20;
- Senegal 4;
- Togo 1;
- Cameroon 2;
- Nigeria 2;
- South Africa 7;
- Burkina Faso 2;
- DRC 1;
- Egypt 59;
- Tunisia 5; and
- Morocco 2.
Apart from the danger, it poses to life, coronavirus has affected Nigeria and other countries economically. The impact of coronavirus on trade has affected Nigeria due to the country’s close ties with China where the virus started before spreading globally. Coronavirus is also one of the reasons the Federal Government want to review its 2020 N10.59 trillion budget.