By Haruna Gimba
Nigeria’s Federal Government has put in place new travel protocols for passengers arriving Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey effective Tuesday May 4, over worsening cases of deadly variants of COVID-19 in the countries.
A press statement issued by the Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha said the guidelines shall be subject to review after initial period of 4 weeks.
According to him, henceforth PCR test results older than 72hours before departure for all Nigeria-bound passengers shall not be accepted.
He said: “Any person, who has visited Brazil, India or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria. This regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.
“Airlines shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger. Non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the Airline.
“Nigerians and those with the permanent resident permit shall undergo seven days of mandatory quarantine in a government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at a cost to the passenger.
“And such passengers shall within 24 hours of arrival take a COVID-19 PCR test. If positive, the passenger shall be admitted within a government-approved treatment centre, in line with national treatment protocols.
“If Negative, the passenger shall continue to remain in quarantine and made to undergo a repeat PCR test on day seven of their quarantine. However, passengers arriving in Nigeria from other destinations must observe a seven-day self-isolation at their final destination, and will be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities.”
Mustapha added that a passenger who provided false or misleading contact information will be liable to prosecution.
“Persons who willfully disregard or refuse to comply with directions of Port-Health staff, security agencies or evade quarantine shall be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“State Governments are required to ensure that all returning travellers from ALL countries are monitored to ensure adherence to the mandatory seven-day self-isolation period and the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day after arrival,” the chairman added.
He strongly advised Nigerians to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that are showing a rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths
He urged members of the public to adhere to all COVID-19 preventive measures in place including adherence to the national travel protocol, proper use of face mask, regular handwashing and physical distancing.
The Presidential Steering Committee assures that the precautionary measures are a necessary step to minimize the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases introduced to Nigeria from other countries, while national response activities continue.
However, he urged the citizens and governments of affected countries, and assures of the government of Nigeria’s unflinching support, commitment, and solidarity at this time of need.