The Federal Government has warned Nigerians against travelling to countries that are recording a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially India where they largely go to for medical tourism.
It also listed South Africa, Turkey and Brazil in the travel advisory.
The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, formerly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, also has warned Nigerians against shunning safety protocols against the virus, saying the pandemic was not over.
The National Incident Manager, PSC, Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, spoke at the media briefing by the committee on Monday.
Muhammad said, “While we continue to reopen the economy, we must also be aware of the happenings around the globe. Mr Chairman (Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha) and the Honourable Minister of Health (Prof. Osagie Ehanire) have made reference to specific incidents in India, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa.
“We sympathise with the people of these countries because it is really a very trying time particularly for India that is recording over 300,000 cases a day, and recording over 2,000 deaths.
“India is a prime destination for medical tourism for Nigeria. We know that many Nigerians like to travel – to go to India but now… we urge Nigerians to limit all travels to only essential travels, particularly to these affected countries.”
Muhammad noted that the safety guidelines regarding public spaces and mask wearing still applied to public places such as supermarkets, malls, event centres, adding that “enforcement will continue to be observed and we will continue to monitor these places for violations.”
The Federal Government has expressed disappointment over what it called vaccine hesitancy among Nigerians.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PSC, Boss Mustapha, lamented what it called vaccine hesitancy among Nigerians.
He said, “The vaccination programme is still progressing but we still have reasons to intensify our campaign against hesitancy.
“The records show that we have vaccinated 1,173,869 representing 58.3 per cent of the eligible persons targeted in the current phase have received the first dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine. This is low in our estimation.”
Mustapha told Nigerians that while the nation marks the holy month of Ramadan, citizens must not forget that the virus was still virulent and raging in some other countries.
Why FG rejects private vaccines
Ehanire on his part said government was not going to accept vaccines from private and unverified sources despite the scarcity of the COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
He said, “Due to warnings by international police organisations of the high rate of fake COVID-19 vaccines in circulation, and reports of risks of adverse events reported after vaccination, Nigeria will not accept vaccines from private and unverified sources.”
The minister also said that as of Sunday, 35 cases of COVID-19 and one fatality was recorded in Nigeria, bringing the total to 164,719 confirmed from 1,912,628 tests so far and 2,062 fatalities.
AstraZeneca vaccine to expire June 28, July 9
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the first batches of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine received would expire on June 28 and July 9.
The government also said that it did not take delivery of MTN vaccines reportedly donated to Nigeria.
Shuaib said, “The batches of AstraZeneca we received have expiring dates of June 28 and July 9th. On that of MTN vaccines, we have not taken delivery of any MTN vaccines in Nigeria.”