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COVID-19: 27,000 passengers arrived Nigeria despite strict procedures – PTF

National Coordinator of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, weekend said over 27,000 passengers had come to Nigeria since the commencement of international flights…

National Coordinator of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, weekend said over 27,000 passengers had come to Nigeria since the commencement of international flights into the country.

Aliyu said of the 27,000 passengers, 18,000 of them came in through Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos while the remaining 9,000 came in through Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

He disclosed this during a town hall webinar organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) and coordinated by its Chairman/CEO, Abike Dabiri-Erewa for Nigerians coming into the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the passengers came in despite the strict procedures put in place by the PTF to limit the importation of COVID-19 to Nigeria, prevent transmission during the flight and reduce the quarantine period.

‘Why public labs are barred from conducting test’

Aliyu explained that public laboratories are not allowed to conduct testing as the federal government cannot afford free test.

“It is not something that government can afford. We will run out of test kits,” he said.

He also ruled out subsidising the cost of the test, saying “it is not sustainable”.

“We appreciate the difficulties that people are going through. It will be sorted” he added.

Aliyu said the advantage of testing before boarding is to stop people with COVID-19 from moving to Nigeria as the test is expected to be done 120 hours maximum before boarding.

He advised those travelling out of Nigeria to enquire from the country of destination if COVID-19 test is part of entry requirements.

Speaking on the high cost of having the test, Aliyu said the Federal Government is trying to push the cost of PCR down for private laboratories.

He said children below the age of 10 years did not need to do test and “if they have been subjected to payment, then they will be refunded”.

Earlier, the Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Appealed, to all travelers to be patient with the PTF COVID-19 immigration policy, saying everything would be done to ease the difficulty being encountered by those coming into the country.