China's COVID-19 Surge: Why Nigeria Needs Borders Surveillance, Vigilance - Experts

China’s COVID-19 Surge: Why Nigeria Needs Border Surveillance, Vigilance – Experts

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With the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, experts see the need for Nigerian authorities to be proactive in activating border surveillance measures to prevent the importation of the virus.

Three years after the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China is still struggling to contain it. Since its resurgence, the country has been on lockdown for several months, which has seriously affected its economy. It recently announced partial unlocking, following nationwide protests against Beijing’s draconian zero COVID policy.

The resurgence of COVID-19 has made hospitals run out of beds and medicines, even as death toll keeps rising.

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Reacting to the situation recently, health experts urged Nigerians to be more vigilant at all times. They cautioned Nigerians to stick to the COVID-19 preventive measures, particularly during this festive season when more foreign travelers were likely to come into the country.

They equally urged the Nigerian government to consider more critical border surveillance to prevent the importation of the new virus into the country.

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They said that with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in China, Nigerians, especially the elderly and people who have other concomitant diseases that can easily predispose them to the virus should adhere to all safety measures as they may be related to incoming travelers in the festive period who may have mixed with other passengers and have unknowingly been infected with the virus.

The Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, said that despite the relaxation of the COVID-19 protocol in Nigeria for both citizens as well as foreign travelers, Nigerians need to take adequate protection against the viral infection.

Prof. Salako advised that there should be border surveillance in Nigeria, especially for people coming from the affected areas with new cases of the virus.

Recall that following reports of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China, the Nigerian government through the coordinator of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr. Muktar Muhammed, had said that Nigeria wasn’t yet considering imposing mandatory COVID-19 testing or restrictions on travelers from China until there is a need for it.

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However, a report by la Repubblica – an Italian daily general-interest newspaper- stated that 52 per cent of passengers on board a flight from China which landed in Milian’s Malpensa Airport tested positive for COVID-19. The Italian government has become one of the countries in Europe to impose COVID-19 restrictions on flights from China in recent times.

Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, reportedly said the preliminary test confirmed that 19 travelers from China had known omicron variant.

The United States, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea are among the countries that have taken measures to prevent the importation of the virus from China by implementing border control on incoming travelers.

On his part, a Professor of Virology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Sunday Omilabu, observed that the position of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 needed to be reviewed, stressing that all points of entry into the country should be adequately monitored to prevent fresh cases of the virus from being imported.

Peter Okoye, PBA Journalism Mentee
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