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COVID-19 OMICRON VARIANT: Nigerian govt frowns at UK blacklist

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The Federal Government has frowned on the decision of the United Kingdom over the placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, expresses the government’s feelings on Sunday on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.

Ehanire said, “We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt confirms three cases of Omicron variant

According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce.

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”

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