• Monday, May 27, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nigeria to confiscate passports of violators of COVID-19 travel guidelines for six months

Boss Mustapha

The Federal government on Tuesday announced that it will immediately impose the suspension of the International Passports of Nigerians who violate the mandatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests for six months, on arrival in the country.

The government said one out of every three or 65 percent of Nigerians arriving country has so far failed to comply with the guidelines, including those affecting mandatory PCR tests.

The test is used directly to detect the presence of an antigen in the body of the COVID-19 Virus to know if the virus is there and someone is actively infected with the COVID-19 Virus.

The Secretary to the government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 response, Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday at the national briefing of the PTF COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja, said the move became necessary following persistent violations of the international travel guidelines by Nigerians arriving from Europe and other countries

“ The PTF has noted with sadness the failure of Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country PCR test which they signed up to and paid before arrival. Statistics emerging from our records show that only one out of three passengers have shown up for the in-country test.

The PTF while disclosing that it has continued to monitor situations around the World and will continue to draw attention to the rising number of cases, gave reasons for concerns, adding that “A number of Countries in Europe have been forced to order their second lockdown due to spike in cases”

According to Mustapha, The UK and France have continued to struggle with record increases in numbers and have reintroduced total lockdown to control the spread;
“The United States continues to witness a record daily increase in the number of confirmed cases especially given the fact that it is in the middle of a Presidential contest.

The PTF had on the opening of international travels, announced the guidelines on the reopening of the airspace and the obligations of arriving passengers, including the sanctions as a consequence of any infraction.

“Having observed serious non-compliance to the level of 65%, the need has arisen to activate the sanctions which include the suspension of the passports of such defaulting individuals for a period of six months minimum.

The PTF had continued to caution on the need to avoid complacency on account of the low number of infections published daily and the possibility of a second wave.

This is as the risk perception amongst Nigerians remain very low even as sample collection has been on the decline.

Mustapha who noted that the country has witnessed large gatherings in midst of all these said people also ignored Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions.

“The situation in Europe and the reports from the USA showing the consequences of non-adherence, are quite vivid.

“As part of the strategy of the PTF to deepen community engagement, I addressed an emergency session of the National Executive Committee of the National Council of Traditional Rulers this morning.
“The contributions of our traditional rulers to the successes so far recorded in the National Response can not be overemphasized,” he said.