BusinessDay

COVID: Nigeria reviews travel protocol

...PCR test no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers

The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday released revised International Travel Protocols which would come into effect on Monday, April 4.

According to the revised guideline, in-bound and fully vaccinated passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 Test.

Boss Mustapha, Chairman, PSC, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja.

But passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are still expected to take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival, Mustapha said.

The Chairman said unvaccinated and fully vaccinated passengers will pay for their PCR tests through the Federal Government’s travel platform, while fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport.

The guidelines according to the Chairman are, “In-bound (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test; For fully vaccinated passengers, a sample will be taken at the airport for rapid antigen test by the NCDC within the arrival hall of the airport;

“Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the travel platform.

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“Fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport; Rules that apply to fully vaccinated adults also apply to children aged 10 – 18 years; they will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but not charged;

“All passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to fully comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements in their country of destination.

The Chairman noted that there has been a consistent decline in the number of cases around the world but said “that does not give us the leverage to let our guards down yet because there are predictions of rebounds as we can see in China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, France, Hong Kong, etc. In fact, China has reintroduced lockdowns in some cities due to the spike in cases.”
He noted that so far, the world has recorded over 471 million confirmed cases, 6 million deaths and over 11 billion vaccine doses administered, while in Nigeria, we have recorded 255,103 and 3,142 persons have died as a result of COVID-19.

He informed that Nigeria has vaccinated over 20 million persons with at least the first dose. “This number is not very encouraging, hence, the need for all eligible Nigerians to come out and be vaccinated,” Mustapha urged.

The Chairman recommended the continued use of face masks in enclosed environments, and discretional use in open spaced environments.

Mustapha, further informed that the Port Health Services have so far screened about 2,357 Nigerians evacuated from Ukraine for COVID-19 out of the over 8,000 residents or students living in Ukraine.

“Out of these passengers, 193 tested positive to COVID-19 and are managed according to our protocols. The PSC also warns Nigerians to be mindful of Scammers specially in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, who come to assist them in accessing the NITP and in the process, register them as children to avoid paying post arrival test,” he said.

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