CANADA has lifter the travel ban it imposed on Nigeria and nine other African countries in the wake of the spread of the Omicron variety of the Covid-19 virus pointing out that the restrictions are no longer needed.
Earlier this month, Canada, the UK and Saudi Arabia all introduced severe travel restrictions on Nigerians, suspending the issuance of visas among other things. Using the pretext that the measure in to curtail the spread of the Omicron strain of the Covid-19 virus, the measure led to millions of Nigerians having to scrap their Christmas travel plans, while thousands are stranded worldwide.
Seeing the measures as unfair with no medical basis, Nigeria’s federal government decided to reciprocate by also denying citizens of these three countries visas. In the wake of fierce opposition to the plans, the UK succumbed and scrapped its red list programme last week and now, Canada has followed suit.
Countries Canada had placed on the red list included Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Scrapping the list, Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s health minister, said the ban was imposed to slow the arrival of Omicron in the country.
However, Mr Duclos added that the travel ban has served its purpose and is no longer needed. Canada’s lifting of the travel ban came just days after the United Kingdom and the UAE governments lifted the ban imposed on travel from 10 African countries including Nigeria.