By Yusuf Adua
Nigerian government has set out a new provisional quarantine protocol for passengers into Nigeria which will take effect from Monday, 11th January, 2021.
The COVID-19 response protocol was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/ Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.
It lists some steps which a passenger from a country of exit must fulfill before he could be allowed to board a flight to Nigeria.
All travellers are required to perform a COVID-19 PCR test not more than four days (96 hours) before boarding. The PTF also stated that PCR tests done more than 96 hours before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board.
Also all intending passengers (including diplomats and children less than 10 years old) are to register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal – https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and proceed to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the portal. They should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the orm are correct and verifiable.
Passengers must also inform Port Health officials on the arrival of any change in their health circumstances since completion of the Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form.
The PTF warns that passengers who falsify their status as diplomats will face prosecution.
Also travellers are advised to still bring along an electronic or hard copy of their COVID-19 PCR test for presentation at the airport.
On reaching the payment section of the portal, passengers will be requested to select their preferred Laboratory/Sample Collection Centre based on where they will be self-isolating at Day-7 of arrival in Nigeria. A list of accredited private laboratory providers/Sample Collection Centres across the country are available on the payment platform.
The PTF exercise waiver on diplomats and children less than 10 years old exempted from payment for the repeat COVID-19 test.
Following successful payment, passengers should download the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code using the “Get Permit to Travel” button visible at the top right corner of the portal, save and print the form for presentation at the point of boarding.
The Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code will have a “PAID” label if payment is successful and “UNPAID” label if payment has not gone through yet or is unsuccessful. A copy of the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code will also be sent to the email address provided by the passenger.
Before boarding for Nigeria, passengers are required to present two documents at their point of departure to be allowed to board; a. A negative COVID-19 PCR test administered within four days (96 hours) of departure, while airlines have been directed not to board passengers with non-PCR COVID-19 tests (such as antigen/or antibody tests), a positive COVID-19 PCR test result or tests performed beyond 96 hours of boarding.
Passengers failing to show a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code will not be allowed to board while passengers departing from the United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa must show evidence of having paid for their post-arrival Day-7 COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding.
Airlines that board passengers without any of the two documents (a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken not more than 96 hours prior to boarding and a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code), shall be sanctioned.
Passengers, who are non-Nigerians, will be refused entry and returned to the point of embarkation at a cost to the airline, while passengers who are Nigerians and holders of permanent resident permit will be allowed entry, but subjected to a mandatory quarantine of 8-14 days (depending on results of COVID-19 PCR test done from Day-7 of arrival) at a facility approved by the government and at a cost to the passenger(s)/airline.
At the time of boarding, travellers will be required to undergo temperature screening and asked about COVID-19 symptoms. Passengers with temperature >38°C and other COVID-19 related signs and symptoms shall not be allowed to board the flight.
All passengers that arrive Nigeria are advised to strictly adhere to instructions given by Port Health Services at the arrival terminal. Passengers who fail to adhere to instructions will be sanctioned by relevant security personnel. All passengers are required to present their international passports for clearance through the Nigerian Immigration Service System’s Migrants Identification Data Analysis System (MIDAS).
They are to present themselves at the laboratory/sample collection centers on the 7th day of arrival. Samples will be taken, and a COVID-19 PCR test done.
While concerning deportees, if one person tests positive for COVID-19, all close primary contacts will be required to undergo enhanced screening and a follow-up PCR test if necessary.
On exiting from self-isolation, the federal government said persons who test positive for COVID-19 after the post-arrival Day-7 test will be managed based on national guidelines for COVID-19 treatment , while persons who test negative for COVID-19 after seven days of self-isolation/quarantine will be allowed to exit self-isolation on receipt of their result.
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