As part of the efforts to mitigate the importation and exportation of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Nigerian government has released a revised travel protocol effective Sunday, December 5, 2021.
The chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
The statement, titled; “Revised International Travel Protocol,” reveals that the review of the protocol was based on science, national experience, and global developments.
It read in part, “The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has reviewed the International Travel Protocol of October 22, 2021.
“All passengers arriving in Nigeria are expected to provide evidence of and comply with the following rules: COVID-19 PCR test to be done within 48hrs before departure, post-arrival day 2 COVID-19 PCR test, self-isolation for 7 days (for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals), and day 7 post-arrival exit PCR test (For unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals).”
The statement also revealed that out-bound passengers would be required to provide either valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 or negative PCR test results within 48 hours from the time of boarding.
The PSC boss assured Nigerians that the committee would continue to monitor global and specific country situations with a view to taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to ensure that they receive their full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and also to comply with public health social measures.
Before the discovery of the Omicron variant, the PSC boss released the now revised travel protocol on October 22, 2021 inorder to curb the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
According to Mr Mustapha, “travellers arriving in Nigeria must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted not more than 72 hours before boarding”.
He added that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated in-bound passengers will be required to observe a mandatory seven day self isolation in addition to a COVID-19 PCR test on days 2 and 7 after arrival.
The statement read: “Fully vaccinated in-bound passengers will not be required to observe the mandatory 7-days self-isolation but will be required to do a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 of arrival.
“Persons arriving on ‘Business’ trip or on official duty staying less than 7 days in Nigeria must be fully vaccinated, produce a negative COVID-19 PCR result 72 hours before boarding; and conduct a PCR test on day 2 of their arrival.”
On December 1, 2021, Nigeria joined the countries that have recorded the first cases of the Omicron variant also known as B.1.1.529 lineage.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this in a statement signed by the Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, on Wednesday morning.
The centre said the two cases of the variant were discovered through “genomic sequencing.”
It later clarified that three cases were confirmed and not two.
The statement reads in part: “In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant.
“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week.
“Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021.”
The development comes after Canada said it detected two cases of the variant from Nigerian travellers.
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