Home News COVID-19: NCAA cancels protocols for air travellers, makes facemask optional

COVID-19: NCAA cancels protocols for air travellers, makes facemask optional

by Haruna Gimba

Haruna Gimba

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has stopped all forms of COVID-19 protocols for air travellers, airport users, workers and airlines operating within the country.

The regulatory agency added that the use of facemask would henceforth be discretional for all travellers, airlines and others using the airport terminals nationwide.

However, it advised those above 60 years old and with ailment to continue to use facemasks and comply with all health protocols.

NCAA also threatened to sanction any aviation provider that fails to comply with the new directive of the Federal Government on COVID-19 pandemic.

This was contained in a circular to all aviation service providers, signed by the Captain Musa Nuhu, Director-General of NCAA, obtained by Health Reporters.

He said that the prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and most parts of the world had remained at a low level for a sustained period.

Captain Nuhu explained that the reduction in the spread of the pandemic led the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) to revised public health guidelines on the pandemic.

The NCAA said that henceforth, for domestic operations, the wearing of facemask inside the airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft by airport workers, passengers and crew members was no longer mandatory, stressing that this was discretionary, but recommended.

The regulatory agency, however, said that persons aged 60 years and above or those with major ailment could use the facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitisers and avoid large gatherings.

The circular added: “Disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings is no longer required. Airlines are therefore required to resume serving catering onboard aircraft. Maintaining social distancing at airport to maintain good environmental hygiene, good ventilation and encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene.

“The use of alcohol-based sanitiser by passengers and airport workers is recommended. Boarding and disembarkation protocols are to be maintained.”

The requirements, NCAA said, also applies to international operations, while saying further that the pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests were no longer required for all passengers, irrespective of vaccination status.

He added that PCR tests required for all passengers who were partially or fully vaccinated had been suspended, stressing that permission to travel or QR code was also no longer required.

He said: “A simplified health questionnaire from non-COVID-19 specific shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP). All other COVID-19 quarantine travel requirements are hereby made optional.”

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