European countries have started to close their doors to travelers from the United Kingdom on Sunday, with the banning of flights and trains over concerns about a new coronavirus strain that is spreading quickly through the country.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) asked its European members to strengthen measures against a new variant of Covid-19 circulating in the UK, Belgium said it would close its borders to flights and trains – including the popular Eurostar service, coming from the United Kingdom.
According to a report from Reuters, the Netherlands imposed a ban on UK flights from 6.00 am (0500 GMT), Italy also ordered a suspension of flights from Britain.
Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said, “The COVID variant recently discovered in London is worrying and will need to be investigated by our scientists. In the meantime, we choose the path of maximum prudence.”
Germany too will restrict flights from Britain and South Africa, where another variant of coronavirus strain was discovered, according to a government spokesman.
The travel curbs also compound problems for the United Kingdom as it finally exits the European Union on December 31 after a transition period this year. The UK and European Union are yet to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, raising the prospect of chaos in goods traffic.
Broadcaster VRT said that the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the ban on incoming travel from Britain covers Eurostar services via the Channel Tunnel and will take effect for at least 24 hours from midnight on Sunday, just as they have been in touch with France over road transit passengers from Britain.
The Italian government barred flights departing from Britain and prohibited anyone who had transited through it in the last 14 days from gaining entrance into Italy.
The Italian health ministry said flights leaving for Britain would not be affected, to allow those living there to return home.
The Netherlands banned flights carrying passengers from the United Kingdom from Sunday and the restrictions will remain in place until Jan. 1, the Dutch government said.
Government sources said that Germany wants to ban all flights from the United Kingdom from midnight until January 6, just as the health ministry pointed out that Austria is also planning to ban flights from Britain.
What you should know about the new covid-19 strain
- It can be recalled that following the second wave of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the UK government warned of a new strain of the disease which spreads faster and may be out of control.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced that the infectiousness of the new strain has forced him to impose a lockdown across much of England during the Christmas period.
- Like other countries in Europe, Britain is battling to contain new waves of the virus.
Covid-19: FG announces 4 phases in the vaccination process against the pandemic
The FG has released phased processes in its vaccination programme against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Federal Government has announced the phased processes in its vaccination programme against the Covid-19 pandemic, which is expected to take off on March 5, 2021.
This follows the expected arrival on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of the first batch of 3,924,000 Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX initiative from Mumbai, India.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on Monday, March 1, 2021.
The PTF said that the vaccine deployment, which is expected to be done by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with assistance from other sister agencies, has been divided into 4 phases.
The 4 phases with the expected activities and vaccination processes include:
1. Phase 1 Vaccination Process
- All frontline health workers to be vaccinated
- Vaccines to be deployed to states based on their level of preparedness
- Cargo planes to be provided for the transport of the vaccines to states.
It should be noted that the 3,924,000 vaccine doses expected to arrive on Tuesday will cater for the initial rollout and Phase 1 Vaccination stage.
2. Phase 2 Vaccination Process (Vaccination of the elderly from 50 years and above)
- Vaccination of 60 years and above to occur first (Group 1), then
- Vaccination of 50-55 years (Group 2) to follow
It should be noted that Nigeria is expected to receive another batch of Covid-19 vaccines for this stage.
3. Phase 3 Vaccination Process
- Vaccination of those between 18 and 49 years with co-morbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, other heart diseases, liver or renal disease, and so on)
4. Phase 4 Vaccination Process
- Vaccination of the rest of the eligible population between ages 18 and 49 years.
What you should know
Nigeria is expecting the arrival of the first batch of 3,924,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, March 2, with vaccination expected to commence on March 5 at National Hospital Abuja for frontline health workers.
The expected arrival of the vaccine is coming after Ghana and Cote’D’Ivoire announced the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine under the COVAX initiative.
Phase 1 Vaccination Process
– All frontline health workers to be vaccinated;
– Vaccines to be deployed to states based on their level of preparedness;
– Cargo planes to be provided for the transport of the vaccines to states.#YesToCovid19Vaccine#TakeResponsibility
— Covid-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF) | Nigeria (@DigiCommsNG) March 1, 2021
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 1st of March 2021, 360 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 156,017 confirmed cases.
On the 1st of March 2021, 360 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 156,017 cases have been confirmed, 133,904 cases have been discharged and 1,915 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 1.54 million tests have been carried out as of March 1st, 2021 compared to 1.49 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 1st March 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 156,017
- Total Number Discharged – 134,489
- Total Deaths – 1,915
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,544,008
According to the NCDC, the 360 new cases are reported from 19 states- Lagos (120), Edo (38), Kaduna (25), FCT (23), Imo (23), Delta (19), Akwa Ibom (17), Plateau (17) Rivers (16) Nasarawa (15), Kwara (13), Oyo (9), Ogun (8), Bauchi (4), Osun (4), Kano (3), Kebbi (3), Niger (2) and Katsina (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 55,848, followed by Abuja (19,234), Plateau (8,894), Kaduna (8,513), Oyo (6,734), Rivers (6,494), Edo (4,590), Ogun (4,396), Kano (3,753), Ondo (2,983), Kwara (2,931), Delta (2,576), Osun (2,433), Nasarawa (2,227), Gombe (2,051), Katsina (2,030), Enugu (2,003), Ebonyi (1,864), Anambra (1,726), and Abia (1,520).
Akwa Ibom has recorded 1,518 cases, Imo (1,497), Borno (1,276), Bauchi (1,228), Benue (1,188), Niger (915), Taraba (804), Ekiti (802), Bayelsa (769), Sokoto (769), Adamawa (762), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (377), Cross River (324), Yobe (268), Zamfara (219), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.
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