Following the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 in some countries, the Nigerian government has announced new travel rules for passengers coming in from South Africa and the United Kingdom.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, announced the rules during a media briefing on Thursday.
He said “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 and must 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 noted that a special register would be open at the airports for passengers from these two countries specifically to track and ensure they present for COVID test on day seven.
The UK and South Africa are countries where the new variant of the virus is currently causing panic and concern.
Following warnings from the UK government that the new variant of the virus seemed to be spreading much faster than previous kinds, more than 40 countries have banned travel arrivals from the UK.
India, Pakistan, Russia, Jordan and Hong Kong joined European countries in suspending travel from Britain.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman also closed their borders completely.
France also shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries can leave from the port of Dover.
Scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), in the late hours of Monday, said the new variant has already been found in Nigeria.
Mr Aliyu said the country was concerned about the emergence of the new variant coronavirus in the UK and additional mutate that was described as coming from South Africa.
He noted that Nigeria’s system for travels in terms of ensuring the safety of citizens and preventing the importation of cases is one of the most strict.
“If you do not 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,” Mr Aliyu said.
He said the second enforcement was that of 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,” he said.
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