COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Have No Public Health Benefits – NCDC

ACCORDING to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the recent experiences in the country, along with the arrival of the COVID-19 omicron variants, have shown that travel restrictions do not have any public health benefits but were disruptive for persons and businesses.

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General, NCDC, said this on his official Twitter handle while addressing Nigerians who raised concern over the rising COVID-19 cases in China, the UK, the U.S.A, and other countries.

He said that COVID-19 has and continues to follow a different course (epidemiology) in Nigeria and most African nations.

“Other Omicron progeny that was associated with increases in cases, admissions, and deaths elsewhere did not cause the same in Nigeria as confirmed by our genomics surveillance.

“Our population is significantly protected from a combination of natural infection and vaccination,” he explained.

Adetifa said that the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) met on Dec. 31, 2022, noting that going forward, they would continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation over the coming week.

“At the next review and if deemed necessary, a range of actions, not limited to enhanced surveillance of travelers at airports, may be implemented,” he said.

The NCDC boss said that the agency follows global COVID-19 epidemiology, including genomics data, as part of the ongoing pandemic response.

Adetifa said that the NCDC COVID-19 EOC continues to function at level two alertness – including weekly risk assessments to inform the need for action.

“Our COVID-19 EOC is tracking COVID-19 trends in China, the US, UK, South Africa, India, and other destinations with high volume traffic to and from Nigeria,” he said.

The NCDC boss said that the COVID-19 resurgence in China was not surprising, given their recent transition from a zero COVID-19 strategy.

He said that this was against a backdrop of a population that neither has high levels of natural immunity nor high levels of coverage with vaccines with the greatest impact against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.

“Cases, admissions, and deaths in England and the US have increased significantly.

Government agency data show 28.8 percent, 36.3 percent, and 1.6 percent increases in cases, admissions, and deaths as of Dec. 22, 2022, compared to the previous period.

“The Centre for Disease Control reports 57.0 percent, 23.2 percent, and 66.0 percent increases in cases, admissions, and deaths as of Dec. 22, 2022, compared to Nov. 20, 2022.

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