Omicron variant: Nigeria hits back over UK travel curbs

Nigerian health minister says developed countries should do more to ensure developing countries have more access to Covid-19 vaccines



A passenger looks at a departures board at London Heathrow Airport's T3. — AP file
A passenger looks at a departures board at London Heathrow Airport's T3. — AP file

By AFP

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 8:08 PM

Nigeria on Monday criticised Britain’s decision to tighten travel restrictions over the new Omicron variant, saying the move was “unjust” and “discriminatory”.

The UK government has added Nigeria to its “red list” countries. Under it, people entering Britain must go into 10-day quarantine, the costs of which must be borne by the individual.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, last week said it had discovered three cases of the new Omicron variant among passengers who had recently travelled to South Africa.

“The decision... is unjust, unfair, punitive, indefensible and discriminatory. The decision is also not driven by science or common sense,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters.

ALSO READ:

“We sincerely hope the British government will immediately review the decision to put Nigeria on the red list and rescind it immediately.”

He said developed countries should do more to ensure developing countries like Nigeria have more access to coronavirus vaccines instead of imposing travel bans.

Canada has also banned travellers from Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi over fears of the spread of Omicron.

First reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) after being detected in southern Africa earlier in November, the Omicron variant has appeared in well over a dozen countries, global fears about a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than five million people.

Countries in Europe and other regions swiftly imposed bans on travel from southern Africa, a move criticised by South Africa and the WHO.


More news from coronavirus