COVID-19: FG laments as abscondment of quarantined passengers surges


Abiola Seun

The Federal Government has expressed worry over increasing number of abscondment of quarantined passengers at the nation’s points of entry.

The government has however vowed that henceforth those that ignored Nigeria’s COVID-19 safety measures will face severe sanctions among which it said included prosecution.

The government, which noted that the actions of the defaulters were detrimental to Nigeria’s pandemic response and public health safety,advised persons to comply with directives of port health staff.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, addressing a press conference, yesterday  said Nigeria is at increased risk if the absconmemt continues.He said,”It is worrisome that despite evidence of the emergence of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens continue to refuse adherence to public health advisories.”

” The severity of this disease should not be disregarded as it is still a primary cause of concern, even in countries with stronger health systems,”he warned.
He added:” I entreat all persons to comply with our Port Health staff or risk facing sanctions, including prosecution.
“Non-compliance with their directives constitutes a risk to national health security and will be handled with commensurate severity.”
He said:”The Federal Ministry of Health Point of Entry (PoE) pillar of the COVID-19 response has been continuously monitoring passenger arrivals, especially from high-risk countries like India, Turkey, and Brazil.”
Expressing more concern that people were ignoring the safety measures put in place by the country at a time “Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in Nigeria”, the Minister noted that:”In the past 24 hours, the world has witnessed an increase in reported cases of COVID-19 across a significant number of countries, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta Variant.”“This threat includes importation from countries that are popular travel destinations for Nigerians, including the United Kingdom, United States, UAE, France and Turkey, which have high incidence of this virulent strain,” he said.

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