Omicron COVID variant: FG puts Nigerians, residents on alert

THE Federal Government has alerted Nigerians and residents alike to the new Omicron strain of COVID-19, describing it as a potentially dangerous variant, urging everyone to exercise extra caution and vigilance in practice and enforcement of preventive measures.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, spoke on Monday during the national briefing of the Committee.

He spoke against the backdrop of the report that Canada had detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of COVID, in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria, saying the world has been hit with a new COVID-19 Variant of Concern, called, Omicron as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

He, however, noted that the PSC is reviewing the situation around the world and putting in place measures to curtail the impact of the variant on the country.

Mustapha said: “The world has been hit with a new COVID-19 Variant of Concern, called, Omicron as announced by the WHO.

“This variant is potentially dangerous, and Nigerians and residents are required to exercise extra caution and vigilance in practice and enforcement of preventive measures.

“As the DG WHO has just started today, ‘the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is. South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized.’

“Nigerians and Residents are therefore urged to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested, and continue to strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical intervention measures, including physical distancing, properly wearing of face masks, ensure proper ventilation and hand hygiene.”

He also announced the impasse on the Nigeria-United Arab Emirates (UAE) flights have been resolved in the interest of both parties.

He noted that though the process has taken so long to pull through with some ripple effects, SGF thanked everyone that was involved in getting the deal.

He disclosed that a date for the commencement of flights between the two countries will be announced in due course.

He warned that the PSC was aware of some travellers who have resolved to circumvent the travel protocols by providing fake COVID-19 Test Results, Permit to Travel Certificates or declaring fake vaccination status at our Points of Entry. “The weight of the law is heavy and will come hard on these people.”

He said: “The Vaccine Mandate will come into effect fully on 1st December 2021 and I encourage every Federal Government Worker and in essence, all Nigerians and Residents to get vaccinated.

“With the developments around the world, people will not be able to travel without their verified vaccination cards.

“The NPHCDA is ramping up vaccination around the country to ensure that citizens have access to the vaccines wherever they may be. The vaccines are now available, so we need people to go get their jabs. The ED NPHCDA will elaborate on this.

“I announced at our last briefing that the PSC’s nine months mandate extension will come to an end by 31st December 2021.

“In order to effectively capture the core elements of our national response, a National Summit to end COVID-19 in 2022 and to strengthen Global Health Security is being planned to hold in Abuja from 6 – 7 December 2021.”



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