OMICRON VARIANT: UK Bows To Pressure, To Lift Travel Ban On Nigeria4 min read
OMICRON VARIANT: UK Bows To Pressure, To Lift Travel Ban On Nigeria.
Fresh reports have emerged that the United Kingdom Government may have bowed to pressures to rescind the controversial red list under which it banned flights to Nigeria and nine other African countries following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 in South Africa.
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According to the Mail, the red list is to be scrapped after just a fortnight after it was introduced. The move is expected to be approved this week, the Mail reported on Sunday, apparently due to intense pressures by Nigerian travelers even as the Nigerian Government threatened to impose retaliatory measures against the UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and others that have slammed flight bans on Nigerian travelers.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was said to have convinced his colleagues the red list should be replaced with testing for the fully vaccinated.
The red list met with protests from officials in Nigeria and other affected African countries as travellers in quarantine complained of six-hour journeys to hotels and “grim” food.
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The emergence of Omicron forced thousands of travellers into hotel quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per person for 10 days.
However, the Head of the Communications Unit of the British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, who reacted to a message sent to him, may have dismissed the reported decision to lift the travel ban on Nigeria.
He said that “we have no official reaction. We routinely don’t comment on speculation. Our official position remains as stated in our recently issued press release”, he said.
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The earlier press statement said “Nigeria to be added to the travel red list from 4am Monday 6 December following 21 cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 reported in England which were linked to travel from Nigeria.
“These are temporary measures that have been introduced to prevent further Omicron cases from entering the UK, and will be examined at the three-week review point on 20 December.”
UK government added Nigeria to the travel red list from Monday December 6 and people travelling to UK from any country will need to take pre-departure test from 7 December.
Other countries on UK red list are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Nigerian Government then on Sunday, December 12, threatened to retaliate over the travel restrictions on its citizens by banning flights from the United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina, following their decisions to include Nigeria on the red list.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this in leaked audio, revealed that the ban on the four countries would be announced today by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
DO YOU AGREE? PDP Will Win 25 States In 2023 – New Chairman, Ayu Declares
The new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu has set a tall order for his party ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
Ayu on Sunday said the PDP will win at least 25 states and a majority of the seats in the National Assembly.
He made the declaration at a Thanksgiving Service/Reception held in his honour at the Aper-Aku Stadium in Makurdi, the Benue State capital following his inauguration on Friday.
Ayu on Sunday said the practice of politicians dumping the PDP for other parties would also be stopped.
“We are determined to reclaim at least 25 states in this country.
“We determined to claim the two national assembly seats – Senate and House of Assembly.
“We will stop the drift of people who migrated from the PDP to other parties.
“We shall move on a serious drive for more people in the party,” he said.
The PDP national chairman stated that reclaiming the lost seats will start from the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states which the party plans to win by fighting tooth and nail.
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