The Federal Government has announced that it will bar passengers who have visited India, Brazil and Turkey in the past 14 days from entering the country.
This is part of precautionary measures introduced by the government to reduce the risk of a spike in Covid-19 infections due to travellers coming from other countries as concerns over the new wave of coronavirus disease in some parts of the world continues to mount.
This new travel advisory which is subject to review after an initial period of 4 weeks, will take effect from Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “Travel Advisory For Passengers Arriving Nigeria From Brazil, India and Turkey,’’ issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who also doubles as the Chairman Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha, over the weekend.
The Federal Government in its statement threatened to impose a fine of $3,500 per passenger on any airline that fails to adhere to these instructions in order to ensure airlines take these new guidelines seriously.
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Also, as part of the new regime of Covid-19 prevention measures, the federal government has reduced the validity period of the pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96 hours to 72 hours. This means that PCR test results older than 72hours before departure shall not be accepted.
The statement from Mustapha reads, “The Government of Nigeria deeply empathises with the citizens and governments of these countries, and assures them of our commitment, unflinching support and solidarity at this time of need.
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In our effort to continue to safeguard the health of the Nigerian population, as well as to minimize the risk of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Presidential Steering Committee carried out a risk assessment of countries with high incidence of cases. The risk assessment took into consideration the epidemiology of cases, prevalence of variants of concern and average passenger volume between Nigeria and each country amongst other indicators.
Of the countries assessed, this interim travel advisory applies to three (3) countries in the first instance. These 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.’’
Insisting Nigerians are strongly advised to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that are showing a rising number of cases and deaths, Mustapha however listed the new travel guides, with specific reference to India, Brazil and Turkey.
He said, “Any person who has visited Brazil, India or Turkey within fourteen (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.
The following measures shall apply to airlines and passengers who fail to comply with I and II(a) above: Airlines shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 (Three Thousand Five Hundred dollars) for each defaulting passenger. Non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at the cost to the Airline.
Nigerians and those with the permanent resident permit shall undergo seven (7) days of mandatory quarantine in a Government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at a cost to the passenger. The following condition shall apply to such passengers:
Within 24 hours of arrival shall 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 7 of their quarantine.
Passenger(s) arriving in Nigeria from other destinations must observe a 7-day self-isolation at their final destination; Carry out a COVID-19 PCR test on day 7 at the selected laboratory; Shall be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities.”
On false declaration, the federal government said, “Passenger(s) who provided false or misleading contact information will be liable to prosecution. Person(s) 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.”
These measures being introduced by the Federal Government are geared towards containing the spread of the coronavirus disease across the country, especially at this time when there is an increase in the number of cases in the countries mentioned especially India, which has witnessed a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in recent times.