The Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC has warned Nigerians against travelling home for the 2021 Eid-el-Kabir celebrations next week due to the Delta variant of the novel Coronavirus recently discovered in the country.
NCDC Head of Risk Communications Division, Dr Yahya Disu, issued the warning while speaking on Channels TV.
Disu said the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic started in Nigeria because people traveled for Christmas last December. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to avoid unnecessary trips as Sallah celebrations hold next week. In his words:
“Third-wave is about having an increase in the number of cases. We have had an increase and decrease in number of cases before now. So, the third one is starting but what is important is what we are able to do to ensure that we are able to reduce it.”
Disu appealed to religious leaders to sensitize their followers on the need to strictly observe COVID-19 protocols in order to prevent rise in recorded infections. He said:
“More importantly, Sallah is coming when people just travel and that makes the risk higher in villages, in different parts of the country.
So, we need to warn people: they don’t need to travel if it is not necessary, you can celebrate where you are. During Sallah, we go to mosque in large numbers but this is the time we need to be very cautious.
We are working with the religious organisations. The second wave in Nigeria started because of Christmas, because people travelled for Christmas. So, we can avoid it, we can learn from it.
A life that we lost is very important for every one of us, it could be anybody. So, it is not worth it to lose a life because we want to celebrate Sallah or Christmas.”
In another news, the Senate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has directed all students residing in the hostels and halls of residence to vacate them immediately.
The decision was taken on Wednesday, July 14, after cases of the novel Coronavirus increased within the campus.
It was however not disclosed by the school authorities if the variant reported in recent times was the Delta variant which is said to be virulent.
The school has also approved the commencement of virtual lectures from July 26, 2021.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that with the detection of the Delta COVID-19 variant in Nigeria, experts warned against a fresh lockdown, stating that imposing a new lockdown would have devastating impacts on the economic.
The experts spoke against the background of a third wave of COVID-19 with the steady rise in positive cases in the last one week and the discovery of a new variant of the virus in Nigeria.
The deadly Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.
The variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries, according to the NCDC.