By Asmau Ahmad
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 said it is currently monitoring the situation around the world concerning the newly mutated COVID-19 variant known as Omicron.
Speaking at the national briefing on Monday in Abuja, the Secretary to Federal Government (SGF), and chairman of the PSC, Mr Boss Mustapha said: “As the director general of the World Health Organization, (WHO), has just stated today, ‘the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is.
“South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized.
“Nigerians and residents are therefore urged to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested, and continue to strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical intervention measures, including physical distancing, properly wearing of face masks, ensure proper ventilation and hand hygiene.
“However, the PSC is reviewing the situation around the world and putting in place measures to curtail the impact of the variant on the country.”
Mustapha further said “the PSC is aware of some travelers who have resolved to circumvent the travel protocols by providing fake COVID-19 test results, permit to travel certificates or declaring fake vaccination status at our points of entry. The weight of the law is heavy and will come hard on these people.”
Speaking on December 1 deadline for vaccine mandate for civil servants, the PSC chairman said “the vaccine mandate will come into effect fully on December 1, 2021 and I encourage every federal government worker and in essence, all Nigerians and residents to get vaccinated.
“The NPHCDA is ramping up vaccination around the country to ensure that citizens have access to the vaccines wherever they may be. The vaccines are now available, so we need people to go get their jabs.
“With the developments around the world, people will not be able to travel without their verified vaccination cards.”
On the suspension of ban on Emirates Airlines, the chairman said “the PSC will want to inform you that the impasse on the Nigeria – UAE flights have been resolved in the interest of both parties.
“Although this process has taken so long to pull through with its ripple effects, we thank everyone that was involved in getting this deal. A date for the commencement of flights between the two countries will be announced in due course.”