The Federal Government has announced new travel rules for passengers coming in from South Africa and United Kingdom, where a new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.
According to him, effective from Monday, December 28th, “all passengers coming into the country from the UK and South Africa on direct flights, must use the Nigerian International Travel Portal to register, fill in the health questionnaire and must upload a negative COVID-19 PCR result with a validity of not more than five days.
He said, “they must also pay for a COVID PCR test at day seven of arrival in country without which they will not be allowed to board the flights.
He also said a special register would be opened at the airports for passengers from these two countries specifically to track and ensure they’re present for COVID test.
Aliyu said sanctions will also be meted out to passengers that present fake PRC result.
He said, “We continue to be concerned about the emergence of the new variant coronavirus in the UK and additional mutate that was described coming from South Africa. The system for travels in terms of ensuring the safety of our citizens and preventing the importation of cases in the country is one of the strictest.
“We are one of the few countries that do double testing, that have a travel portal where you can go in and enter your details including your health questionnaire and pay for a test. Specifically, for the UK and South Africa, the PTF has met and we have decided that additional measures would be required to ensure the safety of our citizens.
“So effective from 00 hours on Monday the 28th December, all passengers coming into the country from the UK and South Africa on direct flights, must use the Nigerian International Travel Portal to register, fill in the health questionnaire and must upload a negative COVID-19 PCR result with a validity of not more than five days and must pay for a COVID PCR test at day seven of arrival in country,” Aliyu said.
He also said that when the passengers are leaving the UK or South Africa, they need a negative COVID-19 PCR result, and secondly a permit to travel document, which government will use to refer to as the QR code.
He said, “If you do not present a permit travel or you cannot present a travel permit, the airlines are being directed not to board. So, if you are coming into Nigeria from the UK and South Africa, it is in your best interest to familiarise yourself with the Nigerian International Travel Portal and make sure that you put in your health details, upload your PCR result that has to be negative and you pay for a day seven test upon arrival in Nigeria.
“The second enforcement that we will have has to do with the seven-day self-isolation upon arrival in the country. We had a lot of debates as to if we should institute mandatory quarantine when the people arrive.
“We have decided that when you arrive, we will open a special register for all passengers arriving from these two countries. We will have an enhanced surveillance where these passengers will be contacted after they have arrived home, we will be checking on them to see if they are having any symptoms. But more importantly, we expect these passengers by day seven to unfailing go for your COVID PCR test which you must have before boarding the aircraft.
FG to publish list of offenders
Aliyu also said that penalties will be meted for not abiding by the protocols as President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved that from now on particularly for those coming from the UK and South Africa, which he said government will pay special attention to.
He said, “If you do not do your day seven tests by day 10, you will automatically go into the suspension list. Your travel document – passport will be suspended for a minimum period of six months. If you carry a Foreign passport with a visa, we will revoke your visa. And because it is easier to track a smaller group of persons than a larger group of passengers, that has always been our challenge, we are now able to enforce this specially for passengers from the UK and South Africa until further notice.
“In addition to that, over this weekend, we are going to publish the list of 100 Nigerian passport numbers that we have (banned) for six months. We have already contacted these passengers and we have confirmed that they have not done a COVID PCR test. We will not be publishing names but the passport numbers.