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Federal Government to Retain Passports of Travellers to Nigeria & More Coronavirus Updates



627 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria

According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), 229 cases were recorded in Lagos, 65 in FCT, 54 in Abia, 42 in Borno, 35 in Oyo, 28 in Rivers, 28 in Edo, 27 in Gombe, 21 in Ogun, 18 in Plateau, 18 in Delta, 10 in Bauchi, 10 in Kaduna, 9 in Benue, 8 in Ondo, 6 in Kwara, 4 in Nasarawa, 4 in Enugu, 3 in Sokoto, 3 in Niger, 3 in Kebbi, 1 in Yobe and 1 in Kano State.

In total, Nigeria has recorded 15,181 cases of COVID-19. 4,891 patients have been discharged from various isolation centres across the country, while 399 deaths have been recorded.

Federal Government to Retain Passports of Travellers to Nigeria

The Federal Government says all persons –whether citizens or foreigners – coming into the country will be required to leave their passports with the Nigeria Immigration Service for two weeks pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.

The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this in a circular addressed to all diplomatic, consular and international organisations accredited to Nigeria.

According to The Punch, the government said the only category of persons that will be exempted from this new rule are those who possess a diplomatic passport.

The circular says,

Persons who have arrived in Nigeria are advised to self-isolate for 14 days and to remain in the city/state where the point of entry is located (i.e Lagos or Abuja) throughout the duration of self-quarantine. If not resident in Lagos, passengers shall make arrangements for accommodation at their own cost. Please note that the Federal Government will not be responsible for providing accommodation or transportation to the place of abode.

Passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service System’s Migrant Identification and Data Analysis System and their passports retained until after successful completion of 14 days self-quarantine except diplomatic passport holders.

It said after all the COVID-19 protocols had been followed, instructions would be given to the NIS to release the passports to their owners.

According to the circular, alternative arrangements could be made to collect passports via special delivery.

Greece Bars UK Flights as the Country opens for Tourists

As Greece prepares to reopen for foreign visitors in a bid to get its crucial tourism sector back on its feet, the government said Friday that flights from coronavirus hotspots such as Britain will not be allowed in, at least for now, The Punch reports.

Tourism minister, Harry Theoharis, said that while regular international passenger flights will be allowed to take off and land again at the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki starting from Monday, the ban on arrivals from Britain will remain in place until July 1.

“Our goal is for Greece to remain a safe country, looking forward to the tourism season,” said health minister Vassilis Kikilias.

Greece said it will quarantine travellers for seven to 14 days from areas hardest-hit by the virus, as identified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Ukraine’s First Lady Tests Positive for COVID-19

Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Friday that she had tested positive for coronavirus, but her husband and their two children had tested negative, The Punch reports.

Zelenska shared the news on Facebook and Instagram saying, “Today I’ve received a positive COVID-19 test result”.

She said the positive test was a surprise as she and her husband have sought to follow social distancing rules and protected themselves.

Ukrainian officials said it is unknown where and how the first lady contracted the virus.

On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said there had been an “alarming” rise in coronavirus cases as the country eases lockdown restrictions and the Ukrainian president has urged officials to urgently establish the reason behind a spike in new cases.

British Airways and other Airlines Sue UK Government Over 14-Day Quarantine

According to The Punch, British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair on Friday said they have launched legal action against the UK government over its “flawed” mandatory 14-day quarantine for international travellers.

The policy was introduced earlier this week as part of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease with UK being one of the most hit by the virus.

British residents and overseas visitors must comply with the 14-day self-isolation rules or face a £1,000 ($1,250, 1,125-euro) fine or prosecution. The two-week quarantine measure has, however, sparked condemnation from the ailing aviation sector which has been paralysed by the pandemic since March.

The three airlines said the policy will “have a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy and destroy thousands of jobs” and they have asked for their judicial review “to be heard as soon as possible”.

The airlines are insisting that the government reinstate measures introduced on March 10 which saw only passengers from “high risk” countries quarantined.

WHO Concerned with Rise in Cases as Countries lift Lockdowns

According to CNNMike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said they are “concerned that some countries are having difficulties in exiting the so-called lockdowns as they’re seeing increases of cases again.”

“First and foremost, most of the world right now is still very much in the throes of the first wave of this pandemic,” Ryan said during a briefing Friday, adding though that many countries have been able to flatten the curve and are slowly making their way out of lockdowns.

“We have to find the balance of controlling this virus against the damage economically and socially of controlling this virus: This is a difficult dilemma, ” he said.

“There must be an alternative to lockdown because in the absence of lockdown, the virus will tend to spread again. So the question is, what have you got to replace lockdown with?” Ryan asked.

He pointed countries towards a strong public health system, testing and tracking cases, and educating the population to help as lockdowns are lifted.

“It’s very easy for me to sit here and say that that is difficult to achieve in any circumstance,” he said. “But it is the only way to sustain the next number of months while we wait for other interventions. And again we have to say that we really hope we have an effective vaccine in time, but there are no guarantees.”

“We have to learn to live with the virus,” Ryan said.

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