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Public Perception Of Omicron Variant And Its Effect On Nigeria Air Travellers

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its variants airborne illness, has been the largest game-changer in terms of pure devastation for both the aviation and tourist and all sectors nation’s economy. Amoke (2021) stressed that however, in early 2020, the aviation industry was drastically revolutionized by the breakout and  fast spread of COVID-19, which devastated the whole planet in a matter of months. Therefore  people’s unwillingness to travel during a worldwide epidemic has had a negative influence on the aviation and tourist industries, coupled with  the travel restrictions imposed by nations throughout the world.

Notably, the out break of Covid-19 led to upsurge in health crisis globally from its first mention in Wuhan China disrupting not just health but social and economic activities.Astonishingly, in the first three months after COVID-19 emerged Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, a devastating number of new cases were reported across China and several countries around the world.  And it was finally declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 2020 (WHO 2020). Evidence indicates that COVID-19 transmitted through respiratory droplets via contact routes such as the mouth, nose, and conjunctiva or eyes (UNICEF 2020).  Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale (2021) opined that in more severe situations, infection can result in pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and, in extreme cases, death. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, standard recommendations include frequent hand washing with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, covering the nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021).

Conversely, several coronavirus variations have arisen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus, SARS-CoV-2 continues to change and adapt. This Gilbertson (2021) opined that many of the changes in these variations have little or no effect on how the virus affects humans. Hence, additional factors, such as genetic modifications in the delta variant, can make the coronavirus more transmissible (contagious) than the initial version of SARS-CoV-2 found in late 2019 of which a case of such modification includes the novel Omicron Variant. The World Health Organization dubbed omicron after a version of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that appeared in November 2021. The omicron is now listed as a variation of concern by the World Health Organization (Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke &  Olawale 2021).

According to According to  Anyu (2021), Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (ie, people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, thus  all variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.

1.2       Statement of the problem

According to experts, the Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa and then found in a number of non-African countries (Gilbertson 2021). This disease has resulted in travel bans from many countries, which has had a significant impact on airlines. Travel bans and flight restrictions implemented by countries in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron strain have caused anxiety for global and Nigerian airlines (Eze 2021). There have been travel bans from and to various countries since the emergence of the omicron variant. According to Ogundipe, Obinna, Erunke, and Olawale, numerous experts, including the World Health Organization, have criticized the travel restrictions as discriminatory (2021).

As a result, Nigeria was added to the UK’s red list earlier this week, making it the eleventh African nation to do so, amid worries that visitors from the country might help spread the omicron COVID-19 strain in the UK. In response to the ban, some Nigerians believe it is racist that the UK only has African countries on its red list, despite the growing prevalence of omicron outside of Africa, as confirmed by the fact that anyone returning from Nigeria will be subjected to high quarantine fees, which is essentially health apartheid (https://www.dw.com/en/nigerians-are-upset-over-uks-omicron-travel-ban/). Furthermore, several Nigerian merchants believe that the UK travel restriction would make conducting business between the two nations much more difficult, affecting both countries’ economies (DW.com 2021). However there are few studies regarding how the debut Omicron variant will affect traveller and  to fill the literature gap on this area compelled the researcher to examine public perception of  public perception of omicron variant and its effect on Nigeria air traveller.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine perception of  public perception of omicron variant and its effect on Nigeria air traveller. Specifically the study seeks to:

  1. Examine if Omicron Variant will limit travelers accessibility to desired countries.
  2. Investigate if Omicron Variant will restrict traveler freedom of movement when they reach their destination.
  3. Determine if Omicron Variant will affect the finance of travelers as they are meant to spend more for quarantine fees.
  4. Ascertain if the Omicron Variant will impact traveler’s susceptibility of traveller and lead to their stigmatization.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. Will Omicron Variant will limit travelers accessibility to desired countries?
  2. Will Omicron Variant will restrict traveler freedom of movement when they reach their destination?
  3. Will Omicron Variant will affect the finance of travelers as they are meant to spend more for quarantine fees?
  4. Will Omicron Variant will impact traveler’s susceptibility of traveller and lead to their stigmatization?

1.5       Significance of the study

This study will be greatly significant to the aviation industry as the findings of this study will show the implications, effects and the challenges of the omicron variant on travelers. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other scholars who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge concerning omicron variant of the COVID 19 and the aviation industry.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on perception of  public perception of omicron variant and its effect on Nigeria air traveller. It examined if Omicron Variant will limit travelers accessibility to desired countries. It Investigated if Omicron Variant will restrict traveler freedom of movement when they reach their destination. It determined if Omicron Variant will affect the finance of travelers as they are meant to spend more for quarantine fees. It ascertained if the Omicron Variant will impact traveler’s susceptibility of traveller and lead to their stigmatization.

1.7       Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited  as few respondent of airline travelers were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other corporate organizations. However, despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Implications: the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Omicron variant: The Omicron variant is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa on 24 November 2021. On 26 November 2021, the WHO designated it as a variant of concern and named it after omicron, the fifteenth letter in the Greek alphabet

Airline: an organization providing a regular public service of air transport on one or more routes.

REFERENCES

Anyu Liu (2021). COVID-19 and the aviation industry: The interrelationship between the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the frequency of flights on the EU market Accessed from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8426192/

Chinedu Eze (2021). Nigeria: Aviation Industry’s Slow Recovery From Covid-19 Devastation. Accessed from: https://allafrica.com/stories/202107300148.html

Chong KC, Ying Zee BC. Modeling the impact of air, sea, and land travel restrictions

Dawn Gilbertson (2021): The omicron variant has sparked new travel restrictions. Are more COVID rules ahead?. Accessed from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2021/11/26/covid-travel-restrictions-omicron-white-house-ban-africa/8764805002/

Hollingsworth TD, Ferguson NM, Anderson RM. (2006) Will travel restrictions control the international spread of pandemic influenza? Nat Med.

Oluwatomisim Amoke (2021). Aviation industry flies up in post-COVID 19 resurgence. Accessed from: https://thenationonlineng.net/aviation-industry-flies-up-in-post-covid-19-resurgence/

Sola Ogundipe, Health Editor, Chioma Obinna, Joseph Erunke & Gabriel Olawale

             (2021) “Why travel bans won’t work”. Accessed from: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/11/why-travel-ban-wont-work-who-nids-nma/

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