The Federal Government has said that diplomats who travelled through or visited Brazil, India, Turkey or South Africa within 14 days and have not taken a valid PCR test, before they travel to Nigeria would be quarantined in government facilities.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this on Monday in Abuja at the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC).
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According to him, those that would be allowed to quarantine in their official residences are the ambassadors, deputy ambassadors and their spouses.
“We had some issues with diplomats at ports of entry, and it was really important, the presidential Steering Committee decided that we had to come up with something that was clear that everybody, all the diplomats would understand and not have the difficult situation that we were having.
“So basically, there are two categories of countries, as you know, they’re four countries that are under a restricted protocol and non restricted countries.
“Now regarding diplomats coming from the restricted countries, or that have visited or pass through those restricted countries, in the last 14 days, there’s a special protocol that we have in place now. So of course, everybody has to do a PCR test, you know, before travelling 72 hours before.
“But for non restricted countries, the diplomats coming from those countries just have to have that 72 hours, prior PCR tests, and then within seven days, do a test in any accredited private laboratory,” Onyeama said.
He said that if they have not taken a valid PCR test, then they would have to be quarantined in government facilities, and that if they do have a PCR test, they still have to do a seven day self isolation at their residence.
“If they do test positive for diplomats, and it’s mild condition, they can isolate at home. And if it is moderate to severe, then they have to be in a accredited hospital facilities.
“Now, for those diplomats coming from non restricted countries, they can get special waivers from the seven day isolation. And this will be applicable or available to high profile diplomats. And so if for instance, they are coming to meet with the President, or the Vice President, then they will qualify for a seven day isolation, then the others will now be decided on an ad hoc basis as to whether they would benefit from that waiver.
“So that is in respect of diplomats coming from non restricted countries. Now, diplomats coming from any of those four restricted countries, or have visited any of those four restricted countries within the last 14 days, there is a possibility of a waiver for them to very essential personnel on on special recommendation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“But nevertheless, with that waiver, they would still need to be screened at the airport, you know, before entering into the country. And those waivers can only be given by the presidential steering committee that will be shown at the ports of entry.
“And now this is a catch and this is what has caused a little bit of some issues in the past. Now, all diplomats coming from any of those four countries within the last 14 days have to we’re afraid, quarantine in approved government facilities. And the only exemption or waiver from this would be for the ambassador of a particular country, and his or her spouse, and the deputy ambassador, but alone, so only those three categories of of diplomats can get an exemption not to isolate, they still have to isolate in their private residence or whatever, but not have to isolate in government approved facilities.”