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Covid travel: Seven locations moved to Covid travel green list - BBC

AUGUST 27, 2021

Canada and Denmark are among seven countries moving to the green list in the latest changes to Covid restrictions.

Thailand and Montenegro are being added to the UK government's red list - meaning they are considered to be among the highest-risk destinations.

Finland, the Azores, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania are also moving to the green list.

The changes will come into force at 04:00 BST on Monday.

Travellers coming from green list countries do not have to quarantine when they come back to the UK - whether or not they have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. They still have to be tested before their return to the UK however, and book a test for day two after their return, and fill in a passenger location form.

But while Canada is on the green list, it currently has a ban on British nationals entering the country.

Only UK or Irish nationals, or UK residents, are allowed in to the UK if they have been to red list countries. They then have to pay to self-isolate in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

The Department for Transport said the changes were being made to the red list to reflect "the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health".

Travel lists are currently updated every three weeks. Most countries are on the amber list - fully-vaccinated adults do not have to quarantine on their return from these locations, but do have to have tests before returning and two days after they get back. Those who have not had both vaccines have to isolate at home for 10 days, as well as having the Covid tests.

Airlines UK, which represents UK-registered carriers, said the "small number of green destinations" was making international travel "more expensive, burdensome and uncertain compared to other countries".

A spokesman said: "Too many families are having to look over their shoulders for rule changes and pay through the nose for tests, with no sign from government that this will change.

"As has already happened across Europe, it's time for a more proportionate system where tests are dropped for the fully-vaccinated and from destinations where Covid risks are low, with tougher measures targeted at a small number of high risk countries."

Sean Doyle, British Airways' chairman and CEO, reacted to the travel changes by saying "the UK's economic recovery remains far behind our more pragmatic European neighbours". He added: "We also need to urgently end the uncertainty caused by the constant threat of changes to countries' traffic light status.

"Our green list is much smaller than that of the US and EU, despite no new variants being transported into the UK."

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group which operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, said the changes to the travel traffic light system will make "little difference" to the recovery of the travel industry and called on the government to "overhaul" it.

He said unless the government removed the need for fully-vaccinated people to take tests, it would "continue to squander the advantage our world-leading vaccination programme was supposed to deliver".

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon warned "any loosening of restrictions carries with it risks, particularly from variants that could undermine the progress we have made on vaccines".

Scotland's Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the changes were "welcome for Scots with loved ones in Canada but once again show that international travel remains challenging".

 

U.K. Upgrades Canada to Travel Green List, Leaves U.S. Unchanged - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 27, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Britain moved Canada and six other territories to its so-called green list, allowing travelers to skip quarantine regardless of their vaccination status, while holding off on tightening rules for arrivals from the U.S.

Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores will also be elevated to green status from 4 a.m. Monday, the Department for Transport said Thursday. Thailand will move to the red category as low vaccination levels leave Asia vulnerable to new coronavirus variants, along with Montenegro.

The U.S. remains on the U.K. amber list, meaning fully vaccinated arrivals don’t need to isolate, even as rising infection rates in the world’s largest economy prompt the European Union to consider tighter curbs. American Express Global Business Travel said the reclassification of Canada is especially welcome with the country expected to reopen to fully vaccinated Brits next month, something the Biden administration has yet to do.

“Today’s addition of Canada to the green list is a strong step forward for the safe return of bilateral transatlantic travel,” Andrew Crawley, the unit’s chief commercial officer, said in an emailed statement.

IAG SA’s British Airways said it was disappointed the U.K. hadn’t shifted ground on requiring pricey PCR tests, despite world-leading inoculation rates. Chief Executive Officer Sean Doyle said there also needs to be an end to uncertainty fostered by frequent changes to the traffic-light system.

Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said the category changes will have a positive impact on options for people still planning vacations in the remaining days of the summer season, while pressing for a simpler and more affordable system to be introduced before a scheduled review on Oct. 1.

‘How Nigeria’s poor airports killed over 30 airlines in 30 years’ - THE GUARDIAN

AUGUST 28, 2021

High mortality rate of local airlines was, yesterday, attributed to the decrepit infrastructure and inefficient service delivery at Nigerian airports nationwide.

The airport-factor, stakeholders said, has often been overlooked, yet remains central to airlines’ survival, growth or demise in global aviation.

Former Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Richard Aisuebeogun, at the opening of the Aviation and Cargo Summit (CHINET 21) in Lagos, said the role of airports in airlines’ failure has been more pronounced in the country in the last three decades.

Records at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) showed that more than 30 operating airlines have closed shops in the last three decades, with only 18 in scheduled and non-scheduled operations to date.

Aisuebeogun said though some failures could not be absolved of mismanagement, corruption, faulty business models and economic factors, the poor viability of 20 out of the 24 airports accounts for low aircraft optimisation and revenue yield for airlines to survive.

He noted that airports and airlines are mutually dependent for survival. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) earlier benchmarked airport viability on five million passengers a year. And that is dependent on population in a region, economy and tourism potential.

However, except for Lagos and Abuja airports, none of the other 22 airports pulls as much traffic yearly to boost revenue of airlines and aviation generally.

He said funding remains the major issue in aviation development. “Our airports are operating at a loss. By 5:00pm or 6:00p.m., they have already closed for the day, which takes the business off the airline. But without optimal services and night operations, airlines cannot survive. That is why the airline mortality rate in this part of the world is staggering.

“There are about 25 airlines that have collapsed before 2010 and another five in the last five years. FAAN is operating at a loss, using profit from Lagos and Abuja airport to fund other airports. I think we need to start rethinking operations of the airport for the survival of all parties, not just the airlines,” Aisuebeogun said.

A panelist at the opening session and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe, reckoned that both airlines and airport have always operated in silos, earning the operators only 60 per cent aircraft utilisation.

“Our airports are closed by 6:00pm, or an airline will have to induce the service providers to run into the night. That is not a sustainable system for aviation business. There is a need to transform the airport sub-sector to develop the airlines. That is why I support airport concession. We need a standard that will give us the desired change. And until we move out of the cycle of doing things the old way, we will not get it right. Why generate funds from one airport to run the other 18 that are not viable to sustain themselves? If they cannot survive, then let them die,” Aligbe said.

Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd) said though revenue generated and remittances of FAAN rarely add up, the airlines themselves cannot be absolved from operating the wrong business models.

“I don’t see how any airline will survive charging below $100 airfares on one hour flight services. In the 90s, the same route cost between N3500 and N4000, which is not below $100. That was the era of locally sourced Jet-A1. Now, I see airlines charging flights of less than $70 and they want to survive? No. I think the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) really needs to wake up to its responsibilities in economic regulations and sanitise the sector.”

EU to Discuss Reimposing Covid-Related Travel Curbs on U.S. - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 28, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union will discuss on Thursday whether to reintroduce travel restrictions on visitors from the U.S. as new coronavirus cases soar.

Slovenia, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU and is currently responsible for triggering an assessment of countries that are allowed non-essential travel into the bloc, recommended that the U.S. be removed from the list, according to two officials familiar with the plans.

The U.S. had 507 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days as of Aug. 15, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. That’s well above the limit of 75 set out in the EU guidelines.

Henry Hernandez, his wife Karina Gonzalez and their children Jose Sebastian, 2, and Laura, 6, of Colombia, walk towards the baggage claim area at Miami International Airport, Friday, May 28, 2021, in Miami. The couple were surprised to be offered the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival to the U.S. It is their first overseas trip since the pandemic began last year. Florida's Emergency Management Agency is running the program through Sunday. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)© ASSOCIATED PRESS Henry Hernandez, his wife Karina Gonzalez and their children Jose Sebastian, 2, and Laura, 6, of Colombia, walk towards the baggage claim area at Miami International Airport, Friday, May 28, 2021, in Miami. The couple were surprised to be offered the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival to the U.S. It is their first overseas trip since the pandemic began last year. Florida's Emergency Management Agency is running the program through Sunday. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The rules also specify that the trend of new cases should be stable or decreasing and that no more than 4% of those tested for the virus are positive. The guidelines also take into account whether variants of concern have been detected in the nation concerned and whether a country has reciprocated on opening travel. 

The guidance from the bloc is a recommendation and any decision on who to let in, and what restrictions to impose, ultimately rests with the governments of each member state. While countries have largely followed the EU guidelines, there have been times when individual nations have diverged from them.

The latest proposal recommends removing several other countries, including Israel, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. 

Easing access between the EU and U.S. has been a point of contention between the two regions. The Biden administration has kept foreign travel restrictions in place despite pressure to allow visitors from places like the EU. U.S. officials have cited rising delta variant cases as one reason for that decision.

Airline routes between the EU and U.S. rebounded to almost 50% of pre-pandemic levels after Brussels chose to let in fully vaccinated Americans in June. The number of scheduled seats from the U.S. to western Europe was 8.6 million so far this year, according to OAG data. That compares to 30.1 million in the same period in 2019. 

The bloc’s decision to bar U.S. visitors will be a blow to long-haul carriers such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM, which were expecting a full reopening on transatlantic routes. This month, Lufthansa said it sees North America opening up from late summer with Asia following from the end of the year, while Air France was planning to offer 70% of its usual seating predicting a return to profitability for the three months through September.

(Updates with details on rules, impact starting in fourth paragraph)

Denmark to lift all remaining Covid restrictions on 10 September - THE GUARDIAN UK

AUGUST 28, 2021

Denmark is to lift all its remaining Covid-19 restrictions by 10 September after the health ministry declared the virus “no longer a critical threat to society” because of the country’s high level of vaccination.

a group of people walking in front of a store: Photograph: Tim Barsoe/Reuters© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Tim Barsoe/Reuters

“The epidemic is under control, we have record vaccination levels,” the health minister, Magnus Heunicke, said in a statement on Friday. “That is why we can drop the special rules we had to introduce in the fight against Covid-19.”

He warned, however, that even if the country was “in a good place right now”, the epidemic was not over and the government would not hesitate to “act quickly if the pandemic once again threatens the essential functioning of society”.

Denmark is the EU’s third-most vaccinated country, according to Our World in Data, with 71% of the population having received two shots. Malta is on 80% and Portugal 73%. The UK has fully vaccinated 62% of its population.

Denmark’s seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases per million inhabitants stands at 167, slightly above the EU average of 149 but well below Britain’s figure of 492, according to the same online science publication.

The country was one of Europe’s first to impose a partial lockdown in March last year, closing schools and non-essential businesses and services. After tightening and relaxing anti-Covid measures throughout the pandemic, it was also one of the earliest to begin reopening, launching a “coronavirus passport” on 21 April this year.

a group of people walking in front of a store: Danish bars and restaurants have been open to anyone who can prove they are fully vaccinated since 21 April.© Photograph: Tim Barsoe/Reuters Danish bars and restaurants have been open to anyone who can prove they are fully vaccinated since 21 April.

Danish restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms, sports stadiums and hairdressing salons have been open since that date for anyone who can prove that they are fully vaccinated, have a negative test result less than 72 hours old or contracted Covid within the past two to 12 weeks.

That requirement, already lifted from 1 August for some venues such as museums, will disappear for most others from 1 September, although a coronapas will still be needed for nightclubs and large events including football matches until 10 September.

The government’s decision not to extend its classification of Covid-19 as a “critical threat” to society beyond 10 September effectively removes the legal basis for the restrictions, a health ministry spokesman said.

Restrictions on travel into Denmark, however, will remain in force until at least October because they are covered by a separate agreement between the country’s governing parties that does not expire until a later date.

Vaccine Passports Keep Europe Flying While China and the U.S. Slow - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 28, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- The delta variant of Covid-19 is scything through aviation just as key markets were getting back on their feet.

a airplane that is sitting on a runway at an airport: Secretary Mayorkas Holds News Conference On Summer Travel Ahead Of Memorial Day© Bloomberg Secretary Mayorkas Holds News Conference On Summer Travel Ahead Of Memorial Day

In the U.S., Southwest Airlines Co. is blaming the delta strain for a rash of canceled bookings and a slowdown in demand that may push it and several others to quarterly losses. After leading the industry’s recovery for much of last year, China is in retreat with airlines offering the fewest seats in six months as authorities attempt to stamp out an outbreak. Australia’s carriers are also in reverse with more than half of the country in lockdown. 

“There is every chance the delta variant will dampen any recovery,” said John Grant, chief analyst with OAG. If there is progress, it will be “stop-start” as outbreaks make governments nervous about opening borders, he said.

A rare bright spot is Europe, the only place where so-called vaccine passports are widely used. The continent was an aviation laggard for most of 2020 as it floundered under infection waves, but airlines such as Ryanair Holdings Plc are now capitalizing on high inoculation rates and providing more flights. 

Here’s how the highly-contagious delta variant has affected major markets: 

U.S.

Hopes are fading that a summer recovery, where passenger traffic reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels, will extend into the fall as a surge in infections spooks travelers and investors. The Bloomberg Americas Airlines Index last week tumbled 5.6% to its lowest level since February.

Southwest warned on Aug. 11 of a slowdown in bookings and rising cancellations, and said it will be difficult to replicate July’s profit over this quarter. Low-cost airlines Frontier Group Holdings Inc. and Spirit Airlines Inc. have also said they may report losses for the three months through September.

The delta variant is putting the brakes on corporate demand, too. Office reopening delays of up to 90 days are causing “a bit of a pause” in the recovery of domestic business travel, Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an interview with Fox Television on Aug. 9. The carrier is close to 50% of its 2019 level for U.S. business travelers.

chart: Bloomberg Americas Airlines Index sinks to six-month low© Bloomberg Bloomberg Americas Airlines Index sinks to six-month low

China

Chinese airlines plan to operate 360,509 flights in August, the fewest since February, according to data from Cirium, which tracks air traffic. That follows the country’s latest Covid eradication campaign, which included traffic shutdowns at airports in places such as Nanjing, Beijing and Yangzhou. On Monday, China reported zero local transmissions, a promising sign that its slump in travel will be short-lived. 

In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Monday, Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau said Covid must be kept at bay before borders can fully reopen. The tight controls are piling pressure on the city’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., which has suffered without a domestic market. 

“It is extremely difficult to plan and operate with the constantly changing environment,” Cathay Chairman Patrick Healy said on Aug. 11, when the carrier reported a HK$7.6 billion ($976 million) first-half loss. Cathay’s shares rose 2.1% Tuesday morning in Hong Kong, trimming the year-to-date loss to 12%. They slumped 29% in 2020. 

chart: Virus Strikes Back© Bloomberg Virus Strikes Back

Europe

Freer borders and looser quarantine requirements are helping fill planes in Europe during the peak summer season, when carriers bring in revenue to see them through the winter months. Regional airline capacity is now about two-thirds of 2019 levels, compared with roughly a third as recently as April.

Discount airline Ryanair expects to post a profit this quarter and is opening 250 new routes for winter to keep the momentum going. Rival Wizz Air Holdings Plc sees capacity returning to pre-Covid levels this month, a feat few carriers anywhere have achieved. 

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said in early August that North American routes could open up from late summer, with Asia following from the end of 2021. Air France-KLM has predicted a return to profit this quarter, when capacity will reach as much as 70% of normal levels.

Australia and New Zealand

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Qantas Operations at Sydney Airport As Airline Is Set to Emerge From Covid Mess Stronger Than Ever© Bloomberg Qantas Operations at Sydney Airport As Airline Is Set to Emerge From Covid Mess Stronger Than Ever

A spiraling delta outbreak has thrust Qantas Airways Ltd.’s recovery into reverse. New South Wales and Victoria, Australia’s two most populous states, are in lockdown as authorities rush to accelerate a sluggish vaccination program. The prolonged clampdown -- Sydney’s late-June lockdown runs until at least the end of September -- has forced Qantas to furlough an additional 2,500 workers, taking the total to 9,500. Qantas’s domestic flying in July fell from 90% of pre-pandemic levels to less than 40%.

Air New Zealand Ltd. is running a skeleton schedule of services after a nationwide lockdown was extended until Aug. 27. The restrictions follow the country’s first community Covid-19 case since February. New Zealand reported 35 cases Monday, taking the current outbreak to 107.

Canadian travellers to United Kingdom not required to quarantine starting Monday - CBC

AUGUST 28, 2021

Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores also added to green list


Canadians travelling to the United Kingdom will not be required to quarantine upon arrival as of Monday, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The British Department for Transport said Canada and other countries are moving to its "green" list for travel because visitors from those countries pose a low risk to public health in the United Kingdom.

The department said travellers from Canada will still need to take COVID-19 tests within three days before leaving for the U.K. and within another two days after arrival.

The change will take effect Aug. 30.

The United Kingdom has also added Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores to the "green" list.

"The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action should the data show that countries' risk ratings have changed," the department said.

The U.K. High Commission in Ottawa announced the new changes in a post on its Twitter account.

"[Canada] has been added to the U.K.'s green list," the commission said.

"This will make it easier for those looking to reconnect with family, friends and businesses in the U.K."

Thailand and Montenegro added to 'red' list

The United Kingdom is adding Thailand and Montenegro to its "red" list, saying the increased case counts in those countries pose a higher risk to public health.

"Passengers arriving in the U.K. from these red list destinations will need to isolate for 10 days in a managed quarantine facility and follow the necessary testing requirements," the department said.

Many British Canadians were frustrated after being snubbed by the plan to ease quarantine restrictions for entry to England and Scotland last month.

The United Kingdom countries announced on July 28 that travellers who were fully vaccinated in the United States or Europe would not have to quarantine upon arrival.

Before the changes that were announced Thursday, travellers from Canada to the U.K. needed to take a COVID-19 test no more than three days before their arrival, book and pay for two other tests after they arrive and quarantine in the place they were staying for 10 days.

British Canadians make up a large segment of the Canada's population. In the 2016 census, 32.5 per cent of the Canadian population reported having some ancestry from the British Isles, with 6.3 million people of English origin, 4.8 million of Scottish origin and 4.6 of Irish origin.

We shed tears of joy after receiving first pay in Saudi Arabia, UK, others – Nigerian doctors - PUNCH

AUGUST 29, 2021

BY  Angela Onwuzo, Deborah Tolu-Kolawole and Godfrey George


Some Nigerian doctors in Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have knocked the Federal Government for its alleged failure to invest in the health care sector.

The doctors, who spoke in separate interviews with Sunday PUNCH, said the inconsistency of the government to adequately cater for the needs of medical practitioners had led to massive brain drain in the health sector.

Some of the doctors who shared their experiences with our correspondents added that they cried and felt overwhelmed when they received their first wages, which some of them described as being 10 times higher than the wages in Nigeria.

One of the doctors, who spoke to Sunday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said he was stunned when he received his first salary in Saudi Arabia.

He said, “To be honest, I was overwhelmed that I cried when I received my first salary in Saudi Arabia here. While I was in Nigeria, my salary was N113,450. Out of this, I had to take care of myself and my parents. It was just difficult coupled with the workload. There were times I had to attend to tons of patients.

“When the opportunity came to go to Saudi, I was a bit skeptical because some people were trying to discourage me. I just told myself that it was better to leave than to die here. Now, I work in the General Services Department in Riyadh here. I earn way more (than I did in Nigeria).

“I enjoy 36-day paid leave, good working conditions and my flight ticket was paid by Saudi Arabia. It is just sad that the Nigerian Government, in every way, has always tried to frustrate the medical profession. Every time you hear of industrial actions, salaries are not paid, no allowances.”

Another Nigerian doctor based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said relocating abroad was the best decision he had ever made.

He stated, “Before I left Nigeria, I was working at a national hospital. I came here in 2019. I didn’t want to come initially but when I heard that Saudi was proposing $3,000 to $8,333 (salary), I just knew I had to leave.

“Here, I only attend to four to eight patients (a day). Nigerian doctors are valued here; they really love the fact that we are so smart and intelligent. I would have loved to stay back home. The Nigerian Government really needs to do better. Nigeria will continue to lose better doctors if the country does not act fast.”

Another doctor, popularly known as Waka Waka doctor on Twitter, recalled that he left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia some years ago, adding that his life had witnessed a remarkable change.

He said, “When I arrived, I was hosted in a hotel for two weeks, all paid. I never paid rent during my stay there; I never paid for electricity. My salary as a doctor in Nigeria combining two jobs was less than N120,000. In Saudi, I earned around 10 times that amount.

“Less workload; amazing state-of-the-art facilities; good hospital management systems; health insurance; paid leave and free tickets for holidays.

“You can’t discredit the loneliness and struggle with the language to start with but that passes with time. Nigerian doctors are among the brightest and best anywhere in the world; all we ask is to be treated right, given proper remuneration that matches our skills and also improve the health system in the country of our birth.”

Similarly, a general practitioner based in the United Kingdom, Dr Bob Uge (not real name), who relocated in 2020 in the wake of COVID-19, said his foreign experience as a doctor was way better than his Nigeria’s.

He said, “I was in a General Hospital in the North where I was paid N111,000, which didn’t even come as and when due. Here in the UK, I earn almost 10 times that amount – yes, 10 times that amount!

“They respect Nigerian doctors abroad; unlike in Nigeria where a CMD (Chief Medical Director) will work you to death and still complain that you are not doing anything.”

Another medical practitioner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he just moved to the United States in July, adding that he was amazed when he got his first pay.

The optometrist, who works with the Cleveland Clinic, Avon, OH, said, “I called my colleagues to report myself. I thought I was overpaid as I just resumed. I haven’t even done anything substantial.

“If any doctor decides to leave, I blame the government. If you see Nigerian doctors here, you will marvel. The situation will keep getting worse until the government decides to change.”

Stakeholders decry govt policies, say poor working conditions responsible for exodus

Some Stakeholders in the health sector have cited government policies, poor working conditions, low pay and quest for better standard of living as major reasons for the exodus of Nigerian doctors to other countries.

They stressed the need for the government to fast-track the negotiation process with the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors in a bid to forestall the ongoing industrial action.

Investigations by Sunday PUNCH revealed that a recruitment process organised by the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia in Abuja experienced a huge turnout of consultants, senior medical officers and others who were in a rush to practice in the middle-eastern country.

The medical board of Trinidad and Tobago in an email exchange with Sunday PUNCH on Friday also revealed that no fewer than 344 Nigerian doctors were registered with the board.

According to the information shared with one of our correspondents, 235 out of these doctors were trained in Nigerian universities.

Also, information obtained from the General Medical Council of Britain highlighted that no fewer than 4,528 Nigerian trained doctors registered with the council in order to be able to practice in the United Kingdom.

Further checks by Sunday PUNCH showed that the average number of Nigerian trained doctors in the UK rose from an average of 1.3 per day between July and December 2020 to 3.3 per day in April and May 2021.

Between June 7 and June 8, 2020 – a space of 24 hours – about seven Nigerian trained doctors were licensed by the UK.

Nigeria has the third-highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan. However, Nigeria suffers a shortage of doctors.

The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria puts the total number of registered doctors in Nigeria at 74,543 for the country’s population of about 200 million.

This puts the doctor-patient ratio in the country at 1:3,500.

This falls far below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 1:600.

A poll by NOI in 2018 also showed that 88 per cent of Nigerian doctors considered work opportunities abroad, but experts said the figure could be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.

Other popular destinations for Nigeria-trained doctors include the United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

NARD defends doctors’ choices

The National President of the NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, defended the mass migration of medical practitioners.

He said, “Globally, every migration is based broadly on two factors namely ‘push’ and ‘pull’. Your question is basically on the pull (what attracts); higher wages, better employment opportunities, higher standard of living and lastly, educational opportunities. These are largely the causes that attract doctors and other care workers.

“Doctors generally are of different cadres. We have house officers who are called first-year graduates. In the UK, they earn between £2000-£3000 (N1,122,000-N1,683,000 at £1 to N561) per month. Registrars, called either ST3 and FY2 earn about £45000 – £75000 (N25,245,000-N42,075,000) per annum. No Nigerian professor of medicine will earn this till he retires. But his students who he taught will earn this in two-three years of being abroad.

“In Saudi Arabia, they earn about US$3,000-$10,000 per month, depending on years of experience. This gives you some economic leverage minus the fact you work under best working conditions.

“In Nigeria, resident doctors are paid between N280,000 to N300,000 at the federal institutions per month. The states pay N110,000 to N150,000 per month. Consultants at the federal institutions are paid between N540,000 to N580,000 per month.

“Emigration years ago were just young doctors but right now almost all specialist pathways have been open for different doctors. So, even our professors close to retirement when it dawns on them how small their reserves are and how they can improve on it, they move without thinking about it.”

A former President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, buttressed NARD’s president claims.

He said, “If comparatively things are stable here, I don’t see any reason why anybody would want to relocate to other countries. It shows that those options abroad are better than the ones they have at home. Unfortunately, I have not been one of those who want to go, but I know that the working environment in Nigeria is harsh.”

Another former NMA boss, Prof Mike Ogirima, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the government of Saudi Arabia pay Nigerian doctors higher than the Nigerian government.

According to Ogirima, Saudi Arabia pays Nigerian professors of medicine between N5m and N7m monthly while the Federal Government pays their counterparts in the country between N420,000 and N500,000.

Sunday PUNCH reports that the ongoing industrial action by NARD, which commenced on August 2, 2021 entered 27th day today (Sunday).

The Federal Government had called on the NMA in a bid to forestall the ongoing strike.

Similarly, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire on August 26, 2021 had written to CMDs and MDs of institutions to invoke a no-work-no-pay policy.

NARD however resisted the move, insisting that it would not resume until its demands were met.

Italy drops quarantine rules for fully vaccinated Britons - EVENING STANDARD

AUGUST 29, 2021



a large boat in a body of water with a city in the background: channel-3547224_1920.jpg© Pixabay channel-3547224_1920.jpg

Italy will drop its requirement for fully vaccinated Britons to quarantine from next week.

UK travellers who have been double jabbed and provide a negative coronavirus test will be able to enter the country without self-isolating from Tuesday.

The negative PCR or antigen coronavirus test must have been taken 48 hours before arriving in Italy - and it must have been at least 14 days since the second vaccine dose was administered.

Those who are not fully vaccinated must still quarantine for 10 days, and take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight following their arrival.

File: A man wheels a Union Jack suitcase through the International Arrival gate at Heathrow Airport on August 7, 2021 in London, England. As of 04:00 tomorrow, the UK again shuffles its "traffic light" system dictating quarantine requirements for arriving travelers. Most significantly, France moves from "amber-plus" to "amber," meaning that fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to quarantine. Meanwhile, Mexico moves to the red list, forcing arriving travelers to quarantine at their own cost in government-designated hotels. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)© Getty File: A man wheels a Union Jack suitcase through the International Arrival gate at Heathrow Airport on August 7, 2021 in London, England. As of 04:00 tomorrow, the UK again shuffles its "traffic light" system dictating quarantine requirements for arriving travelers. Most significantly, France moves from "amber-plus" to "amber," meaning that fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to quarantine. Meanwhile, Mexico moves to the red list, forcing arriving travelers to quarantine at their own cost in government-designated hotels. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Italy is on the UK’s amber travel list meaning arrivals from the country to the UK must take a test three days before travelling and another after arriving.

Italy reported 54 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, compared with 45 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 6,860 from 7,826.

Teachers and people attending indoor events in Italy must now show a ‘Green’ pass which proves they have been vaccinated.

The controversial pass has led to protests across the country.

UAE says to resume visas for tourists vaccinated against Covid - AFP

AUGUST 29, 2021

The United Arab Emirates announced it will resume issuing visas to all tourists fully vaccinated against Covid from Monday, a month before Dubai hosts the delayed Expo 2020 trade fair.

© Giuseppe CACACE A visitor walks past a Dubai billboard at the Arabian Travel market exibition in the Gulf emirate, on May 17, 2021

The move comes amid a drop in coronavirus infections in the oil-rich Gulf country, after it reported less than 1,000 cases per day last week for the first time in months.

The UAE's decision to reopen its doors to tourists from all countries was taken in order "to achieve sustainable recovery and economic growth", the official WAM news agency reported on Saturday.

Those eligible would have to be fully inoculated with one of the Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, which include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

"The decision applies to citizens of all countries, including those arriving from previously banned countries," WAM said.

"Passengers arriving on tourist visas must take a mandatory PCR test at the airport," it added.

The UAE is made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

While life in the country has largely returned to normal amid the Covid pandemic, it continues to enforce strict rules on wearing masks and social distancing.

Dubai was last year counting on the six-month Dubai Expo 2020 -- delayed a year by the health crisis and now set to open in October -- to attract millions of visitors and boost the economy.

Heavily reliant on tourism, the emirate was one of the first destinations to open its doors to travellers, accepting tourists in July last year, just a few months after the pandemic took hold.

Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, has been more cautious, opening up to some visitors only in December.

The UAE as so far recorded more than 715,000 cases of Covid-19 infection, including 2,036 deaths.

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