Liberia: Three of Five Indians Entering Liberia over the Weekend Reportedly Test Positive for COVID-19

MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has gathered from reliable sources that three of five Indians who arrived in the country recently tested positive for covid-19.

What is not clear is which variant of covid-19 the Indians arrived with.

The Public Relations Officer at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Mr. Joseph Wiah, could not comment on the report when contacted by FPA.

India is currently experiencing an astronomical surge in the cases of covid-19 due to the new variant – “double mutant”- or B.1.617 variant which was discovered in March.

The B.1.617 variant was reported in several Indian states reporting surges including Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.

The country of about 1.3 billion people has seen infections rise by more than 1 million in the past week alone, bringing its total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to more than 18 million. The death toll has surpassed 200,000 and is expected to be much higher. The surge hit as India’s government loosened restrictions and struggled to vaccinate its population with variants potentially serving as an accelerant.

The variant, whose official name is B.1.617, is described as a bit of a misnomer, because it actually carries 13 mutations, seven of which are in the spike protein. The moniker comes from two notable mutations found in other variants that appeared together for the first time in this new strain: the L452R mutation and the E484Q mutation.

President George Manneh Weah is yet to sign off on a controversial new protocol that would reportedly quarantine travelers from India.

Liberia has seen few casualties from the virus since the pandemic began. Authorities are said to be concerned but covid-19 measures around the country have not been as vigilant as it should be in recent times.

Protocol in the air

Nevertheless, health authorities have reportedly adopted a protocol which will require travelers from India to be quarantined upon arrival. The protocol however has not been finalized because President Weah’s office has reportedly not given the greenlight.

Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that part of the protocol entails quarantining travelers from India at the Freezone on Bushrod Island.

Several Countrires Ban Flights from India

According to travel booking website Wego, 26 countries had banned travel from India as of May 3 in the light of the overwhelming wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, upending many travel plans.

Bangladesh and Pakistan have closed air and land borders to arrivals from India. China’s curbs on travel from outside its borders have remained very strict even before India’s second wave and were therefore not tightened further. Travel remains limited to some essential reasons and comes with extensive testing and hotel quarantine requirements.

Flights from India are currently suspended to Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Iran, among others. Germany, for example, has not halted flights, but only allows German residents and citizens to board them. Long-term visas and student visas will not be honored, however

The U.S. has also suspended almost all travel from India beginning May 4 during a devastating Covid-19 surge that has shattered global records for new cases

Nigeria Reintroduces Restrictions

The Federal Government of Nigeria has reintroduced nationwide COVID-19 restrictions in the country, starting from 12am in the early hours of Tuesday, May 11.

Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday, May 10, in Abuja.

Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, said the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide 12am to 4am curfew to curtail further spread of COVID-19 will be in force until further notice.

He added that mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time.

Access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.

He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to. He however stated that, there was no limitation to intra-state travel.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria has reintroduced nationwide COVID-19 restrictions in the country, starting from 12am in the early hours of Tuesday, May 11.

Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday, May 10, in Abuja.

Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, said the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide 12am to 4am curfew to curtail further spread of COVID-19 will be in force until further notice.

He added that mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time.

Access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.

He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to. He, however, stated that, there was no limitation to intra-state travel.

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