At least 13 countries have put some form of travel restriction on China after a surge in Covid-19 infections. The countries are Israel, United States, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Italy, Spain, France, Uk, Australia, and the Philippines.
Reacting to these travel restrictions, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a recent press conference that “in the absence of comprehensive information from China, it is understandable that countries around the world are acting in ways that they believe may protect their populations.”
China is currently reporting 5,000 new cases of Covid-19 daily. However, scientists across the world believe that new infections in China are grossly under-reported. A recent Australian report stated that “The total number of deaths in China linked to Covid in December may hit 100,000, with at least 18.6 million cases. By mid-January, there could be as many as 3.7 million COVID cases in a day. By January 23, a total of 584,000 deaths are expected in China.”
From these estimates, more than a billion Chinese could be infected with Covid by March. And more than 30 percent of the population may have already been infected, that is up to 400 million people,” according to a The Australian report.
What is Nigeria Doing?
Thousands of citizens travel between China and Nigeria, daily. Most of this travel is trade and business related. Hence, the surge in Covid infections in China could portend danger for Nigeria, especially after the lifting of strict protocols for inbound passengers. Such exposure could have grave health and economic consequences for Nigeria.
Hence, the Nigerian government must act swiftly to first impose travel restrictions on China. It should follow such restrictions by tracking, testing, and isolating passengers who arrived in Nigeria from China in the last two weeks. Thirdly and most importantly, it must prepare adequately to deal with a potential surge in infection in Nigeria without contemplating shutting down the economy.
The next few days will be critical; therefore the Nigerian government must act swiftly and decisively.