• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Ebola: Nigeria dropped from checklist as U.S, Canada strengthen airport surveillance


Following Nigeria’s timely containment of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), which is awaiting the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) certification as an Ebola-free nation, the United States of America and Canada have dropped Nigeria from countries whose nationals will be carefully screened at their major airports while entering the country.

The exclusion of Nigeria from the list has been viewed by industry watchers as another affirmation of the country’s ability to effectively contain the deadly disease from escalating to a national outbreak as it has in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The US over the weekend commenced a detailed check out screening procedure for travellers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JKF) airport and should extend the screening to New Jersey’s Newark, Washington’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airports, later this week.

The new checkout screening procedures for passengers from the Ebola-stricken nations which entails checking of passenger’s temperature and querying of passenger’s recent whereabouts, however, contradicts the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advice that passenger screening is best done when departing a country, rather than when arriving.

Though there are currently few direct flights from Ebola-affected countries to the U.S, as many West African passengers arrive the U.S on connecting flights from other parts of the world, analysts predict that the new task might be challenging but certainly worth the stress.

Responding to Nigeria’s exclusion from the checklist, Olumide Ohunayo, an immigration expert, said: “It’s a refreshing news and absolute trust in measures that have been put in place by the federal and state governments in combating the EVD.”

The latest move by the US is expected to thoroughly scrutinise 150 travellers per day from the three most affected countries, with the five airports estimated to receive about 94 percent of West African travellers, JFK alone accounting for around 43 percent and Washington Dulles about 22 percent.