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Snag for travellers as UK blacklists Nigeria’s Covid-19 vaccine certificate

Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom (UK) or those with plans to visit the destination soon have expressed their displeasure over the UK’s decision to blacklist Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

This is in addition to Nigerians testing for COVID-19 72 hours before travel time. Nigerians will still have to test in the UK, after undergoing self-isolation for 10 days despite being fully vaccinated.

Onyema Justice, a frequent traveller to the UK said he was troubled about the situation as he had to get fully vaccinated in Nigeria, to enable him to carry out his business in the UK seamlessly, only to find out that he has to undergo 10 days quarantine.

“How do I isolate for 1o days in the UK when I have business targets to meet? This only shows down business for me. I just hope the government of Nigeria can work closely with the UK to resolve the issue,” he said.

The United Kingdom (UK) relaxed its COVID-19 vaccine policy for more than 50 countries but Nigeria is missing on the list.

Nigerian travellers have expressed displeasure over COVID-19 tests in the UK despite being fully vaccinated.

The UK government had said Nigeria is on the ‘amber’ list, which has restrictions for travellers to the UK, irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID

From October 4, the UK said the new travel system comes into effect with countries and territories categorised as either “red” or “rest of the world.”

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In a statement on its website, the UK government released a list of over 50 countries with approved COVID-19 vaccination programmes and proof of vaccination for travel to England.

“Fully vaccinated residents in other countries not yet part of the inbound policy, as well as those partially vaccinated, will still have to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests for day 2 and day 8 after arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days, with the option to test to release after 5 days,” the statement reads.

“The UK government is continuing to work with international partners as we seek to more regularly expand the policy to further countries and territories.”

The government said that the new simplified travel system meant that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories, not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling — whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.

The statement further explained that eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list would be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.

Tayo Ojuri, managing partner, Aglow Aviation Support Services Limited told BusinessDay that passengers would have to pay more to do another COVID-19 test in the UK and self-isolate.

Ojuri said asking Nigerians to self-isolate for 10 days, would mean restricting their movements and this may discourage business travels.

“This is a slowdown and hindrance to the recovery of tourism and travel. It is quite unfortunate. Nigeria also needs to have a single source of authenticated database and this is the challenge that we have.

“In Europe, they have their database synchronised to IATA travel pass. With an IATA travel pass, you have a database where you can verify the source of the vaccines and know if the vaccine cards are legitimate. A data authenticated database will solve the issue. This is also the main challenge Nigeria has with Emirates,” he explained.

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