- Catriona Laing says the UK added Nigeria to the travel red list to protect the public health of its people
- She said the government would work closely with the Nigerian authorities as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic
- The UK envoy said that the decision will be reviewed at the three-week review point on December 20
Following Nigerians anger over the decision to add the country to the travel red list by the British government, the high commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing has explained why the United Kingdom (UK) made the call.
According to her, the UK took the decision in order to protect the public health of its people while the government tries to understand the new variant, Tribune Newspaper.
She said that the decision will be reviewed at the three-week review point on December 20.
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“This decision is a precautionary measure to protect public health in the UK, whilst we try to understand this new variant,” the envoy was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Ndidiamaka Eze, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission.
“I know that this decision will have a significant impact on people in both our countries, particularly at this time of year.
“We continue to work very closely with the Nigerian authorities in tackling the pandemic and commend their ongoing work.”
Travel ban: Lai Mohmmed angry with UK, says action discriminatory against Nigeria
Meanwhile, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has condemned travel bans by the UK, Canada, Indonesia, Hong Kong and others.
Lai Mohammed who made this known at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, described the travel ban as discriminatory.
Recall that Britain on Saturday, December 4, banned Nigerian travellers after it said it discovered 21 cases of the Omicron variant in people who recently visited Nigeria.
Also, Canada banned Nigerian travellers after the detection of the variant in persons who visited Nigeria.
Trouble as 2 Nigerian travellers test positive for Omicron COVID-19 variant in Canada
In another report, a medical expert has warned on the risks of travel bans for Nigeria following the recent detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on two Nigerian travellers in Canada.
Speaking on the situation, the chairman of the expert review on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has failed to coordinate genomic sequencing of COVID-19 samples collected across Nigeria.
Tomori alleged that the NCDC has been bypassing samples to South Africa for testing despite having laboratories with the capability to run the process of genomic sequencing. Noting that the committee had sent a proposal to the federal government on the issue of genomic sequencing, Tomori said a request was made by his team to put NCDC in charge of the process.