As part of measures to contain the Coronavirus, the Federal Government of Nigeria has barred all public officials from travelling abroad.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha announced the ban after the meeting held by the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus in Abuja.
Mustapha noted that the committee had duly considered the trend of the novel virus, and subsequent declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and decided to upscale the health emergency system to the highest level, in order to curb the spread.
“So far, we have three cases two have tested positive, one negative. We will want to ensure that this does not go beyond this minor figure for now. On the part of government, we have decided that it has become necessary to advise all public officials in the ministries, department and agencies and the parastatals that government has banned all forms of travel out of the country for whatever reasons, bilateral, multilateral, conferences, seminars, workshops, negotiations, presentations and any form of other ceremonies. This ban will remain in place until further notice and until the situation of the coronavirus abates.
“By this notice, any prior approval to travel abroad for official assignments during this period is accordingly rescinded. With regards to the general public, we want to advise strongly that citizens in their own interest should cancel or postpone all nonessential travel abroad including business and vacation trips. This is especially for travels to countries known to be seriously affected by COVID-19.”
The government also advised Nigerians to cancel all travels abroad, especially to high-risk countries such as China, Iran, South Korea, Germany, Italy, USA, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, France and Japan.
“Secondly, we urge anyone returning from any country to strictly self-isolate for 14 days in their homes. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has morning released guidelines for self-isolation, we will ensure that those guidelines are widely publicised.
“Thirdly, all people returning from countries with high community transmission rate especially countries that have recorded 1000 cumulative cases and above, will be actively followed up for 14 days by the health authorities. We want to put on notice that the Nigerian government supports the measures taken by the government of other countries particularly high burden countries who have urged their residents to stay home and avoid nonessential travels particularly and inclusive to Nigeria,” he added.
He also encouraged a high level of sanitation, personal hygiene and respiratory etiquette. “Maintaining social distance and avoiding crowded areas should begin to become our lifestyle,” he said.
Containing the pandemic, he said, was very important to public health and should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.