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42 COVID-19 infections recorded, FG rules out restrictions

The Federal Government has insisted it will not impose COVID-19 restrictions on China despite the rising infections in the East Asia country.

The Coordinator and Technical Head of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Muhammad, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday, however, said the government has raised the surveillance level in the country.

China’s decision to relax its strict COVID-19 rules to curb the virus and lack of transparency has been greeted with some anxiety in many countries.

At least 23 countries have imposed restrictions on travellers from China amid fears of an increase in COVID-19.

Data from the World Health Organisation shows that China reported 24,565 new cases on January 13, 2023, and so far there are 10,855,369 confirmed cases and 33,698 deaths.

However, Muhammad said countries imposing restrictions on China are doing so without a scientific basis as available data shows that cases are increasing worldwide.

He said, “For us, what we are doing now is to try to raise our surveillance level to be able to understand what kind of viruses are coming in, to continue to do our genomic sequencing to identify the variants that are coming into Nigeria so that we will have credible intelligence on what we need to do.”

The expert said the government has intensified surveillance at sentinel points to monitor the situation in the country.

He added, “We believe what is happening is not more than a seasonal increase in upper respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19, and we are monitoring the various variants circulating in the world.”

Meanwhile, the centre has confirmed 42 new cases of the virus in the country in two weeks

The cases were recorded in Lagos, Edo, Kano, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

The 42 new cases brought the nation’s confirmed COVID-19 infections to 266,492, according to the NCDC.

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